Sunday, May 25, 2014

buttermilk cookies en route to calgary

I firmly believe that road trips should involve at least one small tub of homemade cookies.

Poppyseed rugelach have been a favourite, as have salted chocolate cookies. Right now, I'm really into buttermilk cookies.

These cookies are pale-gold and soft, with a smear of just-sweet buttermilk glaze. I think of them like a muffin in my ideal world, even though they are not like a muffin at all. I mean that they're small, and they taste good, and they feel just a little bit virtuous, like they're a legitimate snack. You know? (If only real world muffins lived up to those ideals.)

So, we needed cookies for a road trip to Calgary and these are the cookies we ate. Calgary is just three hours away from Edmonton, due south down a highway that boasts rolling grain fields and speeding black SUVs.

Now that we live in Edmonton we're not supposed to like Calgary. In fact, I staunchly defended Edmonton as the much superior city in Alberta . . . until I actually visited Calgary last weekend.

Of course, Edmonton is still the best but Calgary, well 

There's that mountain-blue river winding along next to downtown.

There's that friendly little diner that is so amazing we ate there twice in one weekend.

There's that perfect meat  specifically, tuna conserva, roast chicken and steak with chimichurri sauce.

There's that fantastic shoe store and all your friendly people . . .

Calgary, I just might need to visit again.

See how happy I am at this diner?
I believe I could live here, sipping cream of assam tea.

one year ago: cauliflower and mull cheddar soup
two years ago: mango love on oahu
three years ago: dutch marzipan cookies (also an excellent road trip cookie)
four years ago: asparagus on pizza and chocolate nut balls

buttermilk cookies with lemon zest
slightly adapted from Orangette adapted from Gourmet
bakes about 40 little cookies

for the dough
1 1/2 c. wheat flour
     or gluten-free:
     60 g. sorghum flour
     30 g. almond flour
     60 g. sweet rice flour
     60 g. tapioca starch
     1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
85 g. (6 tbsp.) butter, at room temperature
130 g. (3/4 c.) sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
80 g. (1/3 c.) well-shaken buttermilk

for the glaze

3/4 c. icing (confectioner's) sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tbsp. well-shaken buttermilk
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Prepare two big cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk the flour(s), baking soda and salt together. Stir in the lemon zest.

Beat the butter until creamy, and then beat the sugar in until pale and fluffy. Beat the egg in. Mix the vanilla in. Alternate between stirring the flour mixture and the buttermilk in. Your dough should end up smooth and pale yellow.

Make small cookies by dropping tablespoons full of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 4 cm (1 1/2 inches) spaces between. If you used gluten-free flours, chill for at least 10 minutes in the fridge.

Bake one sheet at a time for about 11  15 minutes, until the cookies have puffed up and they look slightly golden around the edges (or are golden on their undersides). Let the cookies cool for a minute on the tray; then transfer them to a wire rack.

While the cookies are baking, prepare the glaze. Whisk the icing sugar, buttermilk and vanilla together until it's very smooth. Use a teaspoon to spoon the glaze onto the warm cookies.

Leave cookies on the rack until they're cooled and the glaze is set. Store in an airtight container for a few days or in the freezer for longer, layering with parchment paper.



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  2. I happened to have buttermilk in the fridge last week, and made these cookies. They were very tasty--nice tang to them. The dough (wheat version) was doughier than the usual cookie I make, which was a nice change too. My brother, who is used to good baking, even commented on what a tasty little cookie it was!