The last two weeks I haven't found much in the Star Tribune's Taste section that inspired me. The recipes were either too complicated, took too long, or involved a lot of bacon. Yesterday though I decided to try out the Desert Sand Cookies from the back page of the section. It seemed appropriate to get my Scandinavian heritage on for Cinco de Mayo. Plus it was one of the only recipes in the section that seemed relatively quick and easy.
I have to admit though, when I got the dough together I was really nervous! It didn't seem so much like dough as it did, well, a big pile of sand. (I should have guessed considering the name of the cookie....) But I was sure that I'd made a mistake and that these cookies would not form. Not to be discouraged I made a test batch. Those turned out pretty good, so I made the rest of them. The cookies are actually pretty delicious! The browned butter added a complex flavor to these cookies that otherwise would have been kind of like shortbread. They crumble in your mouth much like a cookie made out of sand would, so they are very light and delicate. Perfect with a cup of tea. This recipe makes 3 dozen small cookies or 2 dozen medium cookies.
2 sticks of unsalted butter
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
Put the butter in a sauce pan and melt over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the butter starts to foam, begin to stir constantly. The butter will start to brown up pretty quickly so don't go anywhere. Once the butter is a deep brown color, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature for about an hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combing the flour and baking powder. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla extract, and the cooled butter. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. (Again, it's going to be more like sand than a dough.)
The recipe says to use teaspoons but I work better with my hands. So I grabbed about a tablespoon size of the dough and kind of squished it together to form a oval-shaped mound. Smooth the dough gently so that it doesn't have your palm prints on it! Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes. They do not brown much, so do not be worried about that. Remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack. They are very delicate out of the oven and until they are cooled so be careful.
After they've cooled, have a taste! Isn't it like eating a sand cookie (but way better)? Yum.