When I go to flea markets or stop by a neighborhood garage sale,
I always find myself rummaging through weathered cardboard boxes
looking for cookie cutters. Vintage ones, distinctive ones. You
might imagine I have drawers full of them, but that’s not
actually true. I have two small shoe-box sized containers of cookie
cutters. That’s it. It doesn’t actually feel like a lot to some
who loves to roll and stamp cookies as much as I do, but the good
ones are hard to come by. Beyond shape, I have a fondness for metal
cutters with sharp edges, and good structure. Shapes that can cut
cleanly through a currant or dried cranberry if need be. Today, I
thought I’d show you a few of my scores, and share a favorite
cookie-cutter friendly recipe as well.
So, I love my Swedish heart cookie cutter. It’s roughly the
size of my palm and is perfectly symmetric. Here’s the thing.
Hearts are a popular shape for cookie cutters, yet each heart is an
individual. Some plunge deep, some curve shallow and soft, some are
wide and squat, some are tall and elongated…each one says
something different with its shape. There are friendly hearts,
serious hearts, sophisticated hearts. It’s a personal preference,
but I tend to like the hearts that are just about as wide as they
are tall. Symmetrical, direct, with clean lines.
Then there are the wild card cookie cutters that I can’t pass
up. Like this farmhouse collection. The shapes get a bit mushy over
the years, but the primitive lines are charming and the patina on
the cutters beautiful. The pig has apparently escaped – note to
self to find him.
I’ve been making tiny shortbread in the shapes of small
hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs since I was a kid, and tend to
prefer tiny cutters for butter-rich cookies. They’re the type of
cookies where a couple make the perfect accompaniment to an
afternoon coffee or tea. Today’s cookies qualify, and I picked
the teardrop shape.
These toasted almond sable cookies are a take-off on Alice Medrich’s charming Whole
Wheat Sables, published in her book Pure Dessert a few years back.
I love them, and make them a number of different ways depending on
what I have on hand. This variation is hard to beat – toasty,
nutty, peppered with dried currants. They’re made with whole
wheat and all-purpose flours, sliced almonds, and the best butter
you can come by. That said, I made another variation with June
citrus peels for the Little Flower
School class a couple weeks back – swapping finely chopped
peel for the currants you’ll see in the recipe below. The peel
left lovely little slashes of color throughout the cookies, and
bursts of citrus flavor. I really loved those too.
For those of you who’ve made it this far. I made a note to
myself for next time. I’m excited to try this recipe using
Dorie’s trick of
using cultured butter – for a hint of tang. It might be the thing
to put these right over the top.
Super Tasty, Toasted Almond Sable Cookies