I noticed an interesting recipe while surfing the Internet the other day. Apparently a young woman had enjoyed her aunt's wonderful cookies for most of her life, but could never get the recipe. It was her aunt's secret. Then when they were both much older, the aunt finally passed the recipe along. The niece calls them Secret Cookies, which I thought was fitting and proper. Besides, they look delicious.
Secret Cookies are a variation of the sugar cookie, with a slightly richer texture due to egg yolks being added rather than a whole egg. The usual way to make them is to press balls of dough flat to bake, but they could also be chilled and sliced.
I happen to have a set of cookie presses that were designed for this--I got it from Williams Sonoma online years ago--but they are Christmas-themed so I followed the recipe and just made the cookies by flattening them with the bottom of a drinking glass that had been treated with nonstick cooking spray.
So if you want a go-to recipe for cookies that can become a part of your kitchen and define what's in the cookie jar, here you go. They don't have calorie-increasing ingredients like chocolate chips; in fact they reminded me of the Brass Sisters' poppy-seed cookies in that they are both basic and delicious.
1-1/2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
1-3/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Red, green or multicolored sugar, optional
In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the yolks and vanilla, mixing well. Add the flour and combine thoroughly (but do not over-beat). Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for an hour.
When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Use mounded teaspoonfuls or a cookie scoop and make balls of dough with your hands. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, then flatten the dough with the bottom of a patterned glass dipped in colored sugar (don't mix the red and green!).
Bake for about 10 minutes (watch carefully as they burn easily), until the cookies are lightly golden just around the edges. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for a minute or two and then gently transfer to baking racks to cool -- they're fragile.
The recipe mentions a patterned glass, which is an easy way to produce molded cookies. It doesn't matter what kind of design is on the glass, and it will make the cookies more interesting than plain flat ones. However, plain flat ones are what you'll get if you chill and slice them, so no worries. You'll love them either way.