A Celebration of Local, Fresh Ingredients Shared with Family and Friends
Spring Cookies – The perfectly flaky picnic treat!
It’s Friday, Spring, (yay!), and I accomplished the following things:
Spent more time in the kitchen than I have in a while (be on the lookout for more recipes soon!)
Turned a neglected piece of land into a (potentially) thriving vegetable garden.
Slept for more than 7 hours in one night.
And watched (again) obscene amount of The Great British Baking Show.
While the first three seem more note-worthy than the last, the creation of this recipe for flaky Spring Cookies would suggest otherwise. If you remember this episode, the bakers are asked to make a French cookie called an arlette- a flaky, homemade puff pastry sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and rolled flat to produce a buttery, crisp cookie. So… take those GBBS arlette cookies and combine them with strawberry powder and Spring colored sugar (my daughter’s fave at the moment) then you get these tasty spring cookies as a result.
Note: these cookies are not for the faint of heart or those
lacking in time. Puff pastry can be a frustrating dough to work with. But I
promise, if you follow this recipe and don’t cut corners, you will be
pleasantly surprised at how easy it can actually be. Trust me, you got this.
The first step in building a reliable (and easy) puff pastry dough is actually building an inverse puff pastry dough. The classic method for puff pastry consists of a slab of butter, wrapped in dough, and folded multiple times. This produces a beautifully flakey (leafy), buttery textured cookie. However, this process can be fickle. If not handled properly the butter can melt into the dough, eliminating the chance to create those beautiful layers.
The inverse version, though, wraps the dough in a chilled butter-flour paste instead. While it sounds like a messy process (butter on the outside??) the flour adds strength to the butter making it shockingly easy to handle. As a result, both versions produce a flaky pastry but the inverse method not only gives the cookie a little more structure (great for rolling in sugar and maintaining its shape while its being manipulated), but also acts sort of like a safety net when rolling out the multiple layers. This inverse method ensures a flaky bake every time.
This flaky, buttery cookie is rolled with festive Springtime colors and packs a lovely strawberry punch. It's the perfect picnic treat!
Put the flours, salt, butter and 50ml cold water in a bowl and gently mix to form a dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Shape the dough into a square, wrap in cling film and chill for an hour (or freeze for 20-30 minutes).
For the butter layer, mix the butter and flours together using an electric mixer. Sandwich the mixture between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll out to a rectangle the same width as the square of dough, but twice as long. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Unwrap the chilled dough and butter layer. Place the chilled butter paste, short end facing towards you on a lightly floured surface and place the square of dough in the center of the butter sheet. Lift the butter sheet at the top and fold it down over the dough, then fold the exposed butter sheet at the bottom up over the top, so the dough is completely enclosed in the butter sheet.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, short end towards you. Roll out to a rectangle, keeping the edges as even as possible. Fold the top quarter down and the bottom quarter up so they meet neatly in the center. Then fold the dough in half along the center line. This is called a book turn. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge and make another book turn. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry to a rectangle and sprinkle a layer of strawberry dust then the colored sugar.
Make another book turn to incorporate the strawberry and sugar, then roll to a 4½ x 8in rectangle. Roll up the pastry from the short end like a Swiss roll. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400° Line 2 baking trays lines with silicon sheets or parchment. Trim the ends of the roll and cut into 8 even slices. Dust the work surface heavily with powdered sugar and roll each piece of dough out very thinly, turning to coat in the sugar and to prevent sticking. Place the cookies on the prepared trays and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully turn the cookies and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.