Sometimes you just have to have cookies. I had the oven preheating for a loaf of sourdough bread (made from William Butler Yeast, my awesome starter. You can read his tale here. Whenever that oven goes on, I try to find other things to do with the heat – so, I looked in the pantry to see what was available.
I could throw in some baking potatoes, I thought. But I had an upcoming trip to Toronto, and really wanted to bake something sweet to munch along the way.
I was in luck – I had butter, sugar and flour. That was all I needed to make 3-ingredient cookies.
I think every housewife in the 50s and 60s made these cookies, and they all had their own names for them. Some called them shortbreads, others nicknamed them walnut cookies. The middles could be pressed and filled with jam (and they were renamed thumbprint cookies). But I think we just called them “little cookies” when Mom made them.
The recipe is simple:
1/2 cup of butter, softened (you can replace butter with another fat, but the cookies will have a different texture). I use salted butter, but use what you have on hand.
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar (I use raw, turbinado).
1 cup of flour (I used white, unbleached King Arthur all purpose flour).
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Using a hand beater, whip butter and sugar together until it begins to look a little like icing. Then add the flour, using a flat wooden spatula to blend the ingredients when the electric beater can no longer handle it.
Take out small amounts of dough and roll it between your palms, making a walnut sized ball. Place the balls of dough on an ungreased baking sheet, and ever-so-slightly press down on the tops.
Bake at 325 degrees until the dough is set and barely golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a wooden board. Allow to cool.
That’s it. I can’t tell you how many this recipe makes. I’ve never counted – well, I’ve never counted before I ate several of the still-warm little bits of sweetness. There are enough cookies to share, but not so many that they become a cursed habit. You can definitely play around with replacements – try sweeteners that you have on hand, or use coconut oil in place of some of the butter. Add some sprinkles or chocolate chips. Top with some buttercream icing. The point is to use what you have!
Disclaimer: The featured image of the cute little moons and stars? Those are not my cookies. They were made by someone who spent a lot more time and effort on baking. I didn’t. I just wanted cookies. You can see mine in the above picture, cooling on the bread board and taking a back seat to the sourdough bread.