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ISO Butterball/Mexican Wedding cookie w/ melted butter

m
michby Dec 12, 2007 09:33 AM

I've been happily using the Silver Palate Butterball cookie recipe for years, but I really liked (and now can't find) a variation The Boston Globe printed last December. It called for melted butter, and perhaps there was confectioner's sugar in the dough (as well as on the outside of the cookie). Does anyone have a similar recipe, or do you think it's ok to use the same amount of (melted instead of softened) butter? TIA!

  1. j
    jazzy77 Dec 12, 2007 09:57 AM

    I have a recipe for them at home, but if you're in a hurry, the cookies you are speaking of are also called Russian Teacakes (the only difference that I've seen are the "Mexican" ones are shaped like balls, and the "Russian" ones are shaped like crescents.

    Try this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    I've also seen them with walnuts, which seems more traditional to me.

    Does that look like what you're searching for?

    8 Replies
    1. re: jazzy77
      m
      michby Dec 12, 2007 10:00 AM

      Thanks, Jazzy. This recipe is similar to the one I'm looking for, except for the whole using melted butter instead of creaming it thing. The melted butter seemed to give the cookie a finer texture. Do you think it's ok to just go ahead and use melted butter?

      1. re: michby
        j
        jazzy77 Dec 12, 2007 10:53 AM

        Not with sugar cookie doughs like the one you're proposing - sometimes the melted butter can cause the dough to spread too much and be too crispy, which wouldn't be what you want.

        A little later (got absorbed researching this). I found a mention of a Sherry Yard's "The Secrets of Baking" book using browned butter in Mexican Wedding Cookies. I couldn't find that recipe, but I found the following, which uses the same type of cookie dough (she uses master recipes to create different types of cookies with the same base recipe). The important part to understand is that she browns the butter and then resolidifies it to use in the sugar dough.

        THUMBPRINT LIME MELTAWAYS

        1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter

        1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus up to 1/2 cup for dusting, as needed

        1/4 teaspoon salt

        1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

        1 1/2 cups Master Lemon Curd (recipe follows)

        A few hours before making cookies, prepare brown butter: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until solids separate and brown to a dark golden color, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature, then chill in refrigerator until solid.

        Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream brown butter on medium speed until cream-colored, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and paddle. Add 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and salt. Cream on medium speed until smooth and free of lumps, about 1 minute. Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl and paddle.

        On low speed, add flour. Beat until just incorporated. Do not over-beat. Scrape down sides of bowl. Remove dough from mixer, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes. At this point, dough will keep nicely, tightly wrapped, in refrigerator up to 1 week or in freezer up to 1 month. (Thaw frozen dough at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or until you can pinch off pieces.)

        To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Move rack to lower third of oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

        Flour your hands. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Place balls 1-inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Press your thumb into each ball creating a concave center. Continue to flour your hands as needed to prevent dough from sticking.

        Bake cookies 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately dust with a generous amount of powdered sugar. Let cookies cool, then fill indentations with Master Lemon Curd (using a pastry bag and tip) and serve. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

        1. re: michby
          j
          jazzy77 Dec 12, 2007 10:55 AM

          Oh, one more thing, I think the finer texture comes from the powdered sugar, plus I feel like they have a velvety mouth-feel after a day or two in storage....

          1. re: jazzy77
            m
            michby Dec 12, 2007 02:23 PM

            Wow! This is it! (The Boston Globe must have printed a variation on this recipe.) Thank you so much--I really appreciate it. Merry Christmas!

            1. re: michby
              j
              jazzy77 Dec 13, 2007 07:27 PM

              Actually, no THANK YOU!! I'm making these cookies this weekend - they sound awesome!

              Have a Happy Holiday!

            2. re: jazzy77
              k
              k_d Dec 13, 2007 11:21 AM

              The recipe handed down to me from a great aunt has about the same proportions of powdered sugar, soft butter, and flour as the Russian teacake recipe above. The biggest difference is that her recipe calls for baking at 250-300 degrees (I compromise at 275) for 40 minutes. Makes the most melty cookie you ever ate. Also, hers uses ground walnuts.

          2. re: jazzy77
            Eat_Nopal Dec 13, 2007 07:49 PM

            Actually... in Mexico (polvorones as they are known) would most likely be made with quality, rendered lard instead of butter... as Italians would know... lard blows butter away on certain baked goods.

            1. re: Eat_Nopal
              j
              jazzy77 Dec 15, 2007 06:55 AM

              You're right, as I was looking through all the recipes, it was quite common to see the more "authentic" Mexican recipes using lard, but this type of recipe is actually pretty common the world over, and the European versions traditionally used butter. One article I saw hypothesized that the butter cookie recipe that became very popular in the US in the 1950s was originally known as "Russian Tea Cakes," but was generally renamed to "Mexican Wedding Cookies" in response to the Cold War activities of the era.

              It's funny, I think that depends on what taste preferences you develop over the years. I like lard in savory pastries, but put I prefer butter in cookies. My mother and father grew up with pie crusts made with lard and they think it is wonderful - me? Yuck.

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