Bake a Thank You as Sweet Gratitude
QUICK & EASY RECIPES
by Judith Sutton
Amazing Toffee Thins
Makes 64 cookies
These unusual crisp, buttery cookies don’t contain any eggs.
They are slice-and-bake, so they are very quick and easy, and the
dough is just the thing to keep in the freezer for baking a batch
on the spur of the moment. Everyone I know asks for the recipe
(here you are, Michelle!).
11⁄4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (11⁄2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3⁄4 cup packed dark brown sugar
11⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bowl.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric
mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape
down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed,
beat in the flour in two additions.
3. Divide the dough in half and put each half on a square of waxed
paper. Form each piece into a rough log, wrap loosely in the waxed
paper, and refrigerate until firm enough to shape, about 45 minutes.
4. Roll each log of dough under the palms of your hands into an
8-inch-long cylinder (if the dough becomes sticky, refrigerate
it briefly), then roll it up tightly in the waxed paper, using
the paper to help make a smooth, compact log. Refrigerate until
firm, 11⁄2 to 2 hours. (The dough can be frozen, well wrapped,
for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.)
5. Put the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and
preheat the oven to 350ºF.
6. Work with one log of dough at a time, keeping the second one
refrigerated. Using a sharp heavy knife, cut the dough into 1⁄4-inch-thick
slices and place them about 2 inches apart on ungreased heavy baking
sheets (if you don’t have heavy baking sheets, reduce the
baking time by a minute or two).
7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, switching the position of the baking
sheets halfway through baking, until the cookies are golden brown
around the edges. Let cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes,
then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely. (The
cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.)
Brown Sugar Shortbread
Makes 36 cookies
These couldn't be quicker or easier. No need to chill the dough
or roll it out, you just mix it, pat it into the pan, and bake.
And the cookies are incredibly delicious (these are the Cat Doctor’s
very favorite cookie, and he’s a shortbread connoisseur).
They have a slight caramel undertone from the brown sugar and a
delightfully crumbly texture; when someone who tasted them wondered
how I could make butter have the texture of a cookie, I took it
as a compliment. If you’ve never made cookies before, start
1⁄2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1⁄3 cup granulated sugar
1⁄3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1. Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars with an electric
mixer on medium speed just until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla, then beat
in the salt. On low speed, add the flour in two additions, beating
just until incorporated.
3. Turn the dough out into an ungreased 9-by-13-inch baking pan
and, with your fingertips and/or a sturdy rubber spatula, gently
press it evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes,
or until the shortbread is golden brown (the edges will be slightly
darker); do not underbake. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for
5 to 10 minutes.
4. With a sharp heavy knife, cut the shortbread, still in the
pan, into 36 rectangles. Let cool completely before removing the
shortbread from the pan. (The shortbread can be stored in an
airtight container for up to 5 days.)
Makes 9 large or 16 smaller squares
Crystallized ginger is the secret to this delectable version of
an old-fashioned favorite. It’s good served warm (I’ve
delivered it hot out of the oven to friends who couldn’t
wait), but letting it mellow at room temperature for a day, or
even two, really intensifies its spicy nature. Dark or “robust” molasses
deepens the flavor, but you can use the lighter type (sometimes
labeled “original”) if you’d like a slightly
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
21⁄4 teaspoons ground ginger
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3⁄4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2⁄3 cup unsulphured molasses, preferably dark
2⁄3 cup very hot water
1⁄2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)
1. Put a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to
350ºF. Butter and flour a 9-inch square cake pan.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger,
cinnamon, and cloves in a medium bowl.
3. In a large bowl (use a stand mixer if you have one), beat the
butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until
light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the
bowl. Beat in the egg until well blended. Beat in the molasses
and hot water and then the crystallized ginger. On low speed, beat
in the flour in two additions, beating just until incorporated
(the batter will be stiff).
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the
center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack
to cool for 20 minutes, then cut the cake into squares and serve
warm. Or cool the cake completely in the pan and cover tightly
until ready to serve, then dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar,
if you wish, and cut it into squares. (The gingerbread can
be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)
Excerpted from Sweet Gratitude by Judith Sutton.
Copyright © 2005 by Judith Sutton. All rights reserved.
Excerpted by arrangement with Workman Publishing, Inc. $15.95.
Available in local bookstores or call 800.967.5630 or click