Remember those Danish butter cookies? The kind that come in the blue tin? I LOVED those cookies as a kid. We used to get them every year around the holidays and we would slowly make our way through them. I liked the round ones with the grooves but the rectangular shaped ones with the sugar were my favorite.
The only time I ever see those cookies these days is when we go to cut down our Christmas tree. We have gone to several different farms over the years and all of them seem to have bad coffee, overly sweet hot cider, and tins of those cookies. My kids go nuts over them and even though my palate is much more sophisticated than it once was, I still like those buttery cookies.
Making these Simple Sweet Diamants was an exercise in K.I.S.S. I trust you are familiar with this term. Keep It Simple Stupid. Or Keep It Simple Silly since, in our house, stupid is a bad word. Anyway. I feel like I’ve been making a lot of aggressively flavored treats recently. Most of the time, I would pick a cookie laden with stuff over a simple one. I had the Compost Cookie at Momofuku’s Milk Bar a couple of years ago and OMG was it good. This simple butter cookie is about the opposite of that one. But as we all know, sometimes simple is best.
My only quibble with this recipe was the yield. I was supposed to get 5 dozen but looking at the quantity of ingredients, I didn’t see how that was possible. I doubled the recipe and got 5 dozen.
6 ounces (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, soft
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1¾ cups all purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup pearl or sanding sugar
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla on the lowest speed until creamy and well blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Maintaining the same speed, add the flour and salt and mix just until combined.
Divide the dough into thirds. On a clean work surface, roll each piece into a log 1¼ inches in diameter. (DT: This dough is extremely crumbly so I found it impossible to roll it out that much. Furthermore, I had to shape it more into a cube rather than a roll to keep it from cracking.) Wrap the logs separately in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 2 hours or up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, overwrap with aluminum foil, label the contents and date, and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, so you can get a second pan ready while the first one is baking.
Remove the logs from the refrigerator. Spread the pearl sugar in a large rectangular pan. One at a time, brush each log with the egg white, and then roll in the pearl sugar to coat evenly. Press lightly so the sugar sticks to the dough. Using a sharp knife, cut 1 dough log into slices 1½-inch thick. Place the slices on a prepared baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart.
Bake the cookies just until they are ivory colored on top and lightly golden on the bottom, about 12 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining logs.
Stack the cooled cookies in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 10 days.