Sugar sprinkles are pretty, but they generally don’t taste like much. So when we created these delicious holiday butter cookies, we decided to experiment with colorful decorations that taste as good as they look.
Our solution? Freeze-dried fruit. You’ll find a wide variety in either the produce or dry goods sections of the grocer. Buy a variety of fruits for a rainbow of colours. Strawberries, raspberries, mango, pineapple and blueberries are particularly nice. Then you just crush any larger pieces and sprinkle them over the glazed cookies. Instant colour. Big flavour.
RAINBOW BUTTER COOKIES
Start to finish: 45 minutes plus chilling
Makes 60 cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons corn syrup
Freeze-dried fruit (such as strawberries, mangos, pineapple or blueberries), coarsely crushed
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, salt and baking powder until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Stir in the flour just until well mixed.
Set 2 sheets of waxed paper on the counter, then scoop half the dough onto each. Using slightly moistened hands and the paper to help, form the dough into logs about 2 inches in diameter and 8 inches long. Wrap the paper around the dough. Smooth the paper and twist the ends. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Heat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with kitchen parchment paper.
Unwrap 1 log of dough and slice into scant 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Turning the log as you cut it will help to keep the round shape.
Arrange the on the prepared pans, leaving 1 inch between the cookies. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden around the edges. Allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Repeat with the remainder of the dough.
Once the cookies are cool, make the glaze. In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, milk and corn syrup. Spoon or pipe a small amount of glaze over the tops of each cookie, then immediately sprinkle with the crushed fruit pieces. Allow to set up completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week.
Nutrition information per serving: 70 calories; 30 calories from fat (43 per cent of total calories); 3.5 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 20 mg sodium; 10 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 1 g protein.
Alison Ladman is a chef, food writer and recipe developer for The Associated Press. She also owns The Crust and Crumb Baking Company in Concord, New Hampshire.