Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tutu's Super-Crispy Sugar Cookies:
Delicious, with a great back story

I like a good story behind a recipe.
   Whenever I watch a chef competition show like Top Chef, my favorite challenge is when competitors are asked to make a dish based on their first food memory, or as a tribute to the person who taught them how to cook or inspired them to be a chef.
   The stories the competitors tell are always fun to hear.
   That’s part of the reason I wanted to try Tutu's Super-Crispy Sugar Cookies (click for the recipe) from Food & Wine magazine.
   Charlie Griggs, a Food & Wine reader, wrote in to the magazine with the recipe and a letter with a good back story.
   He explained the recipe came from an elderly woman, nicknamed “Tutu” or “Grandmother,” who sold the sugar cookies each week at a farmer’s market in Hawaii. She gave Griggs the recipe on the condition he not share it with anyone for 25 years. The time had passed, and he wanted to share it.
   You can read the full letter above the recipe at the link.
   A recipe that comes with a don’t-share-25-year-proviso must be good, I thought when I read the letter. (They are good -- very good.)
   Another aspect of the recipe intrigued me: The addition of Rice Krispies cereal.
   This turned out to be the secret ingredient, which made these delicious little cookies extra-crisp. And it’s not obvious that Rice Krispies are in the cookies – most people won’t be able to identify what it is that makes the cookies so crispy.
   Kosher salt is also an essential component of the cookies. They add a depth of flavor – an extra somethin’ somethin.
   The cookies were easy to make, but I did find one direction in the recipe to be a bit misleading.
   The recipe says to spoon two-tablespoon-size amounts of dough on cookie sheets. The only problem is, a dough hardly forms after everything is mixed together! It looks more like wet sand.
   Just taking a spoonful of the dough in this manner and slapping it on the baking sheet will not a cookie make.
   I measured out two tablespoons of dough-sand into one hand, then pushed it together into a ball. It will do this easily.
   I then put the cookie-balls onto the baking sheets.
   To make the cookies, sugar, butter, kosher salt, baking soda, vanilla, flour, and Rice Krispies are mixed together with an electric mixer.
   Two baking sheets are lightly buttered, and the cookies formed and put on them as described above.
   The cookies are baked for 15 minutes, and are then flattened gently with a spatula or flipper. The sheets are put back into the oven (rotated in position), and the cookies baked for 25 minutes more.
   Let cool completely before serving.

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