i want crumblier cookies and flakier empanadas!

crumblier = short (like shortbread)
not the same as shortcrust: this is the kind of pastry i am used to making for quiches and tarts, pâte brisée, pâte sucrée, etc.
puff pastry is super flaky. this is made like croissant, by rolling layers of dough with butter.

findings:

1. butter is used for flavor, not texture. butter makes things HARD.

2. shortbread/crumbly cookies: 2parts fat/3parts flour (and 1 part sugar) (and fat is always butter)

3. short crust: 1 part fat/2 parts flour (sugar, for sweet crusts a couple of tbsp) better to use only part butter or no butter. lard desirable. keep fats cold (could grate frozen fat) while mixing with flour. then add water to bind. (our empanada recipe called for alcohol to bind!)

4. puff pastry: buy it from the freezer section of the grocery store

for precise info on crumbling and flaking see this report

2 recipes here. both can be done by hand. no need for a food processor.

but watch out these cookies are thin and cook fast. take them out way before you think they are done or they will be very hard.

1. Adapted from Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup bacon fat (from about 1 pound bacon)
2 tablespoons molasses
1 egg

Procedure

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lin 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, the salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the bacon fat, molasses, and egg and pulse until the mixture forms a soft dough.

3. Take level tablespoons of the dough and roll them into balls. Place the balls on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Using a fork, flatten the balls slightly, and sprinkle them with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.

4. Bake the cookies until they are beginning to brown around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool slightly on the baking sheets and then transfer to a wire rack.

5. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

2.  New York Times

Bacon Fat Ginger Cookies

A few years ago, the New York Times ran an article with this recipe for traditional Swedish ginger cookies that utilize bacon fat in place of butter or shortening.

Could there be anything more heavenly? No.

Swedish Ginger Cookies

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine all ingredients. Spin until dough forms.

3. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for a few hours. Drop the dough in 1-tablespoon lumps on a cookie sheet, form into balls, roll in sugar, space 2 inches apart and press flat with fingers.

Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until dark brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to finish cooling.

ours

Erwan Frotin for The New York Times

 

From Viand East Four

soften butter by putting it next to a lamp for about 30 minutes. (make sure it's on a plate in case you forget about it and it melts.)

combine

1 stick butter (softened)
1 ½ c white sugar
1 egg
1 ½ tsp vanilla

now add the curry. if it's mild curry powder, add 3 tbsp. if it's hot curry, add 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. but do it to your own taste.

2 c white flour (maybe a little less, add it slow until the dough can't take any more)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp corn starch (optional if you don't have it)

make balls about 1.25" across. press two or three pieces of 45% chocolate into them and bake for about 10 minutes. we like sirius noi chocolate, but it's hard to find. take the cookies out of the oven when they have just the barest hint of brown at the bottom. if you want soft cookies you must take them out when they are still doughy!

 

mix:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup soft butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

add:
1/2 cup toasted and finely chopped almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts...
2 cups flour

the dough may be very dry and crumbly. that's ok.

press into patties about .25 inch thick x 1.5 inches diameter

bake 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees until barely golden brown on the bottom

let cool 5 minutes.

dunk each cookie into powdered sugar. make sure it sticks well & thick.
you may have to do this twice to get enough sugar stuck.
let cool before eating (these cookies don't taste right while still warm).