Invite a friend for tea; sit on your deck or balcony and watch the honeyed late-afternoon autumn light. Reconnect, pause, breathe, commune.
Here is a delicious, easy cookie for your tea; you can make the dough up to two months in advance, wrap it, and store it in the freezer, or store in your fridge for 5 days.
When she arrives, the aroma of fresh butter cookies will wrap her in pleasure.
There will be enough left to delight children coming home from school or anyone else you see after 5:00 pm..
(From: Gourmet Magazine, February 1999)
Yield: Makes about 60 small cookies or 30 larger ones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Optional: orange or lemon zest
Into a bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until mixture is light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until mixture just forms a dough.
Divide dough between 2 large sheets of wax paper and form each half into a 10- x 1 1/2-inch log, wrapping it in wax paper. Chill logs until firm, at least 4 hours, and up to 5 days. Dough may be frozen, wrapped in foil, 2 months. Let dough soften slightly before cutting.
Preheat oven to 375°F. and lightly butter a baking sheet. Cut dough into 1/8-inch-thick slices and arrange slices about 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet. Bake cookies in batches in middle of oven until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes, and transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool.
Cookies may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature 5 days.