Sugared Pretzel Cookies

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pretzel butter cookies

These cookies remind me of the Danish butter cookies that come in round tins around the holidays. You usually see them around Christmas time. Those Danish cookies are delectable (one of my son’s vocabulary words this week), and so are these pretzel cookies. I found that they keep for at least 5 days, which is the amount of time it took us to photograph them. They would have disappeared much sooner but I ordered the boys not to touch them until they were photographed.

You’ll notice that there’s no leavening agent like baking soda or baking powder in these cookies. That’s no mistake. Traditional butter cookies like these are basically flour, butter, sugar and eggs. The interesting thing about this recipe is that you use the yolk of a hard boiled egg. Sounds weird, but it works. Just make sure that you press it through a very fine sieve. I used a tea strainer like this one.

Sugared Pretzel Cookies
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from Cooks Illustrated

1 large hard-boiled egg
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
4 teaspoons turbinado or clear sanding sugar

Place butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Crack hard boiled egg and peel shell. Separate yolk from white. Press yolk through fine-mesh strainer (I used a fine tea strainer) and into mixer bowl with other ingredients. Beat mixture on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl and beater with spatula as needed. Add vanilla, mix until combined. Add flours and mix at low speed until just combined. Using rubber spatula or your hands, reach into bowl and knead dough a few times into a cohesive mass.

Divide dough in half; place each half on a square of parchment paper. Form each into a log about 6 inches long (it will be about 1 3/4 inches in diameter) and wrap tightly with parchment, twisting ends to seal. Chill logs for 30 minutes, until semi-firm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Slice 1/4-inch off first chilled log and roll slice into a ball in the palm of your hands; this softens the dough. On a counter, roll ball into a 6-inch rope. Pick up each end of rope and fold it into a pretzel shape. Transfer to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing cookies one inch apart on prepared sheets.

Brush each pretzel cookie with egg white wash, then sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake cookies until they have golden brown edges, about 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven but let firm up on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to cooling racks.

Yield: ~36 cookies

 

One year ago: Carrot Soup with Ginger and Lemon
Two years ago: Zvi’s Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Three years ago: Roasted Butternut Squash
Four years ago: Parmesan Cheese Crackers
Five years ago: Cardamom Spritz Cookies
Six years ago: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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