Well, well, well. Here we are in blogland…again. The worst part of starting a new blog is the title. Should I go plain? Classy? Funny? Punny? It takes some thought. And once you realize you’ve wasted entirely too much time trying to decide where every potential title falls on your self-authored lameness scale, it’s time to just pick one and go with it. So here we are. Happiness is a warm bun. A Beatles reference. I know, I’m sooooo cool (totally kidding). Just so you know, though, I almost went with “I believe I can pie.” However, R Kelly gives me the creeps, so I passed on that one.
Also, I should admit that I can’t think of a time when I’ve baked buns. I’ll get to it though, I promise.
This can’t be the first post of a blog about baking without a recipe. I found this one from Joy the Baker (easily my favorite food-related blog out there), who adapted it from Dorie Greenspan. The addition of cornmeal and dried apricots to sugar cookie dough is surprisingly wonderful. The cornmeal adds a touch of crunchiness, and leaves me contemplating other ingredients to pair it with next time. These are also great, as you can stash a roll of dough in the freezer and slice a few pieces off for the next time you have a hankering for cookies but maybe shouldn’t eat an entire batch…or you could just eat the whole batch. I won’t judge you. If you do freeze the dough, add a couple of extra minutes to your baking time.
1 1/2 cups flour (I used bread flour, but all purpose would also work just fine)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
heaping 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
vanilla sugar (this is the sort of thing I mean by vanilla sugar, although it is entirely possible to make it yourself)
1. Center the rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
2. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and cornmeal together.
3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for a minute or so, until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat for about 2 minutes until mixture is light and pale.
4. Add the egg and yolk and beat for another minute or two. Beat in the vanilla.
5. Reduce the mixer to low speed and steadily add the flour mixture, mixing only until it has been incorporated. Because the dough is best when it is worked the least, you might want to stop the mixer before the flour is thoroughly blended into the dough, and finish the job with a rubber spatula. When mixed, the dough will be soft, creamy and malleable.
6. Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide in half. To make slice-and-bake cookies, shape each half into a chubby sausage (about 2 inches in diameter) and wrap in plastic. The dough must be chilled or at least two hours. (Well wrapped the dough can be refrigerated fir up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 months.)
When you’re ready to bake:
Use a sharp, thin knife to slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, and place the rounds on the baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2-inches of space between the cookies. Sprinkle a small amount of vanilla sugar on top of each cookie.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating the sheet at the midpoint. The cookies should feel firm, but they should not color much…you’ll probably see a hint of color around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies rest for a few minutes before carefully lifting them onto a rack to cool to room temperature. Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.