The Mother of All Butter Cookies
Yield About 4 dozen cookies
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Pinch salt
- 2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into bits
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk, approximately
- 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt in a food processor, and pulse once or twice. Add butter, and pulse 10 or 20 times, until butter and flour are well combined. Add vanilla and egg and pulse 3 or 4 times. Add about half the milk and pulse 2 or 3 times. Add the remaining milk a little at a time, pulsing once or twice after each addition, until the dough holds together in a sticky mass.
- 2. Remove the dough from the machine to one or more bowls. Make cookies as described in Step 3, or make any of the variations below.
- 3. To make cookies, drop rounded teaspoons of dough (you can make the cookies larger or smaller, if you like) onto a nonstick baking sheet, a sheet lined with parchment paper or a lightly buttered sheet. If you want flat cookies, press the balls down a bit with your fingers or the back of a spatula or wooden spoon. Bake 11 minutes, or until the cookies are done as you like them. Cool on a rack, then store, if necessary, in a covered container.
- * Butterscotch cookies: Substitute brown sugar for half or more of the white sugar, or simply add 1 tablespoon of molasses along with the egg.
- * Citrus cookies: Omit the vanilla, and add 1 tablespoon of lemon or orange juice and 2 teaspoons grated lemon or orange rind along with the egg. A couple of tablespoons of poppy seeds can also be added.
- * Chocolate chip cookies: Stir in about 1 cup of chocolate chips. (The butterscotch variation is good with chocolate chips.)