This week, we're making sugar cookies!
Fun fact: The American word 'cookie' comes from the Dutch 'koekje', whereas the British 'biscuit' comes from the French 'biscuit'. However, in Dutch, both 'biscuit' (pronounced the French way) and 'koekje' are used, with biscuit denoting those, uh, biscuits/cookies that have been baked twice and are therefore harder and more dry than koekjes.
This is a great, basic cookie recipe. With this recipe, you can have a batch of cookies in twenty minutes start to finish. Seriously. Although you may want to wait a minute or two for them to cool down before sticking them in your mouth. It is therefore also an excellent recipe to make with kids, particularly if you have cute cookie cutters!
If I had my way, by the way, these would be called 'vanilla cookies' rather than 'sugar cookies'.
75 g cold butter, diced
75 g table sugar
225 g flour
1 vanilla bean
Confectioner's sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade.
With the tips of your fingers, rub the butter, sugar and flour together in a bowl until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add in the egg. Cut the vanilla bean open and scrape the insides with a knife to collect all the pulp. Add to the dough. Continue mixing the dough until it is firm. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is approximately 5 mm thick. Use cookie cutters up to 7 cm in diameter to cut out cookies, or cut rectangles of ca. 6x4 cm. Knead all the leftover bits together, roll out again and repeat until you run out of dough or you're tired of the whole thing. Place on a baking tray covered with baking parchment. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 12 minutes, or until the edges start to turn a golden brown. Remove from the oven. Leave to cool for 1 minute on the tray, then dust with confectioner's sugar. Move the cookies to a rack to cool off completely. Keep in an airtight container - or just eat the lot now. Enjoy!
Tip: Don't discard the vanilla pod after you've scraped out the marrow! Vanilla beans keep their scent and flavour for quite a while. You can use the empty pod to give flavour to, for example, rice pudding; or you can keep it in a small jar with sugar to make your own vanilla sugar.
Tip: Instead of vanilla, try some grated lemon or orange zest, or cinnamon!