January 25, 2011

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.

One Year Ago: Chickpea, Chard, and Couscous Soup
Two Years Ago: Orange Pound Cake

Simply Sweet Diamants
Baking for All Occasions
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

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.


  1. I love those cookies for some reason too! I haven’t had one in forever though. It will be nice to have a homemade recipe for the future, thanks!

    Comment by Jacqui — January 25, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

  2. i forgot about those! I loved those too – and didnt they make them in sort of a pretzel shape too? I want to try that momofuku cookie badly, but don’t have a reason to get back to NY yet. Someday.

    Comment by Sara — January 26, 2011 @ 12:13 am

  3. I just squealed aloud at this! I loved those cookies too, but their ingredient list has made me stay away in recent years. I remember plowing through tins of them that an advisor in college used to buy for the editorial staff of our research journal. I couldn’t have gotten through some of those papers without those cookies. I can’t wait to make these! (though the dough sounds a little tricky…)

    Comment by Rachel — January 26, 2011 @ 12:22 am

  4. My mom always ends up with a tin of those cookies, I’m not sure how or why, but let me just say it is a GOOD thing that I don’t live at home anymore. Otherwise they would all have been incorporated into my thighs by now. Seriously.

    Love that you recreated them! Now I can have them year round!

    Comment by Joanne — January 26, 2011 @ 1:07 am

  5. oh dear…how I LOOOOOVED those cookies too! What was your favorite shape??

    Comment by tracy — January 26, 2011 @ 2:14 am

  6. Love, love, love those cookies. That recipe is from Flo’s book? Wow! Just thumbing through it this morning…*so* making them. Wonderful post!!

    Comment by Nina — January 26, 2011 @ 3:32 am

  7. Can’t wait to try these … and with the crackly-ness of the sugar on the outside – that’s the *best*!

    Comment by Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic — January 26, 2011 @ 6:38 am

  8. I loved those cookies, how I looked forward to that blue tin at Christmastime! These look even better, though.

    PS. I have been making lots of your cookie recipes lately, so keep them coming! The Cappuccino Bars two weeks ago for classmates, and the Chocolate ganache-y ones last night. Yum.

    Comment by Ele — January 26, 2011 @ 9:48 am

  9. I am smitten with these cookies, Dana! Such a throwback, I never thought to make them! Your pics are beautiful.

    Comment by Clara — January 26, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

  10. K.I.S.S. – what a great motto!

    Comment by Emily — January 26, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

  11. I love those cookies in the blue tin, my grandmother would always have them with tea when we would visit her as a child. Every once in a blue moon I’ll buy a tin and indulge myself in dunking them in my tea. I fear if I make this recipe they will be gone in one sitting!

    Comment by melinda ke — January 26, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

  12. Oh, these are the best! I always thought the tins they came in were so pretty. But the cookie is even better, obviously.

    Comment by Joanna — January 26, 2011 @ 10:54 pm

  13. Sometimes simple is best, isn’t it? They look beautiful, thanks Dana.

    Comment by Adele — January 27, 2011 @ 12:04 am

  14. I LOVE the birdcage plate. I have an apron with the exact same pattern!

    Comment by Lisa @ The Cooking Bride — January 27, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

  15. We had some of those cookies this Christmas! They satisfied our intensified holiday sugar cravings, but I am sure that these are much better. I love the simple beauty of them!

    Comment by Dorothy @ Belle of the Kitchen — January 27, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

  16. These are beautiful! Sometimes simple is best. :)

    Comment by Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — January 27, 2011 @ 9:36 pm

  17. I LOVE those cookies, especially the pretzel shaped ones with coarse sugar. I will put up a fight for those. Haha. I can’t wait to make these!

    Comment by Joy — January 29, 2011 @ 8:51 am

  18. Hi Dana – I’m a fairly new follower, but just wanted to tell you that I made these cookies and they are AMAZING. So amazing that I actually made them twice already!!! LOL, I’m not greedy, the first batch was a hostess gift for a party I attended. Thanks for posting!

    PS – will be posting pics on my blog tomorrow, they’re not nearly as nice as yours though :)

    Comment by Monique — February 1, 2011 @ 1:16 am

  19. Yes! The blue tin! We had them in the house all the time when I was young but I now realize I haven’t seen them in years. (Yours look better :)

    Comment by Hilary — February 3, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

  20. I loooove those Danish cookies in the tin! I’ll have to try this recipe. Your cookies turned out so perfectly!

    Comment by Ashley — March 23, 2011 @ 4:55 am

Leave a comment