Secret Cookies

By • July 2, 2009 • 27 Comments


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Author Notes: This recipe has truly been kept a "Secret" for 30 years but now is the time to release it. It was given to me by an elderly lady who had been given it by an even more elderly Swedish lady. The proviso: "After I'm 'gone', you may give out the recipe." The same proviso was given to me...so, here it is.

Be sure to use salted butter!
Veronica

Makes about 80 cookies

  • 3/4 pounds salted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • Red, green or multi-colored sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the yolks and vanilla, mixing well. Add the flour and combine thoroughly.
  2. Use mounded teaspoonfuls and make balls of dough with your hands. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, then flatten the dough with the bottom of a patterned glass dipped in colored sugar (don't mix the red and green!).
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes (watch carefully as they burn easily), until the cookies are lightly golden just around the edges. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for a minute or two and then gently transfer to baking racks to cool -- they're fragile.

Tags: Holidays, sugar cookies

Comments (27) Questions (2)

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4 months ago JosieD

I just made these--the flavor is great, but the dough is very crumbly and difficult to work with, as others have mentioned. I'm going to try and roll them into logs for slice-and-bake and see how that goes.

Chris_in_oslo

4 months ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

These cookies are so good, they are worth some effort. I posted a similar recipe that I adapted during last year's Piglet, Food52's annual celebration of cookbooks, http://food52.com/recipes...

What I learned in adapting that recipe was that it was important to blend the butter with the flour slowly and carefully, using my fingers instead of a mixer. I've thought I'd try that same technique the next time I make these Secret cookies.

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4 months ago JosieD

hmmm, interesting, Greenstuff! I'm having no luck with pressing these, so maybe I'll do some thumbprints!

Lisalewis5184bweb

4 months ago lisas156

These cookies were absolutely delicious. I was disappointed, however, that the pretty shaped I pressed into them did not hold up. I even tried chilling the dough before pressing. No matter as they taste great, but I don't know how you get them to look like the picture!

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12 months ago markie

I usually like cookies w/ lots of bells and whistles, but my mom requested a butter cookie so I thought I'd try this one. It's delicious!! No need for any bells or whistles b/c the dough itself is so good in its simplicity. All the comments were very helpful. I took jane.pilcher1's suggestion and used almond extract...so good! (I used just 1 tsp almond and 1 tsp vanilla, I think 2 tsp of almond would be too strong). Thank you for sharing the "secret"!

Smallerwhitandaxel

over 1 year ago Native2CA

These - are - so - good. Buttery, crispy, light and rich at the same time. I made the dough ahead and rolled it into a log, cut, sprinkle, bake. This is a great go to buttery cookie.

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over 1 year ago Lmschwarz

we just put our first batch in the oven--my 13 year old is taking these to a cookie swap this afternoon. We couldn't find a glass anywhere with anything but a flat bottom--finally, we tried the bottom of a heavy, cut-glass decanter. So far, so good. Can't wait to try these. Thank you!

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over 1 year ago jane.pilcher1

I love the flavor of almond so much that I think I might substitute almond extract for the vanilla the next time. Yum!

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over 1 year ago jane.pilcher1

Just made these yummy cookies. Actually, I made the dough last evening, divided it in half, rolled each half into a log, and wrapped each in parchment paper. Put both into a "jumbo" Ziploc bag overnight. Today I just sliced & baked. DELICIOUS!! I didn"t have any sprinkles or colored sugar. Didn't matter. Try these! They couldn't be easier.

Food52

about 2 years ago Manhattan Tart

I made these for my daughter's lunches and used pink, lavendar and green sugar for spring (if you BAKE for it, it will come!). I had very little success using the glass bottom method and switched to 3-finger smooshing then sprinkling w/ sugar. I baked them until lightly golden but would warn against baking them too long, as they got crispier than I wanted on day 2. Don't get me wrong: they were eaten, every last one, but next time (and there will be a next time) I'll bake them slightly less. Fabulous flavor, very pretty, super-easy. Love them!

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over 2 years ago jbj3114

These are delicious. Seriously rich!
I flattened the balls of dough slightly with my fingers, sprinkled the sugar, then flattened with the glass.
This helped keep the dough from sticking to the glass.
I used raw sugar, because, the label on the stuff available at our local market, said that it was colored crystals ................ crystals of what???

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over 2 years ago Spork

so easy and so delicious! love them :)

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over 2 years ago Sly Brandy

LynndaSB & Greenstuff,
Thank you so much for your comments!! You helped me to make up my mind! I will be baking these cookies this weekend!

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over 2 years ago LynndaSB

OMG! These cookies are delicious! so delicate and the buttery taste just sweetens the moderate sugar that melts in your mouth!
I changed the recipe a bit...I used very high quality imported butter but only have 1/2 pound....so I cut the rest of the recipe by 1/3.....I added a bit more vanilla than was asked for and used 1 1/2 yolks.
no trouble with the dough...it was mellow and pliable and easy to work with....
I cooked the little lovelies at a little lower temp...around 300 and for about 5 minutes longer than required in the recipe.
I loved squishing the red sugar into the top of the cookie....I dipped the bottom of the glass in water before pressing down...this prevented any sticking!
when I popped one into my mouth.....heavenly!
The secret is to hide a few for yourself !

Chris_in_oslo

over 2 years ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

I make a lot of Swedish cookies with the same basic ingredients, just slightly different amounts. I decided to add these to the mix so that I could use some old punch cups and a pretty French mustard jar as my presses. I decreased the flour a little, as I'd seen the jagged edges in the photo and thought I'd like to avoid them. (I also used white sugar instead of colored, as my Swedish cookies are pretty monchromatic.)

Anyway, even with less flour, I did have a little problem with crumbly dough, as others have mentioned. That was solved by carefully pushing it together as I worked, not unlike working with pie crust or other pastry. Then, perhaps because the dough was actually not dry enough, some of my imprinted patterns blurred a bit. But not all. The mustard jar pattern was particularly nice, better than the antique punch cups that had served up a lot of glogg in their times.

The bottom line--these cookies are delicious!! I'm astounded by how slightly varying amounts of butter, sugar, egg, and flour produce different flavors. And I love the imprints. I wish I had all the time in the world, I'd experiment with them more.

Audrey_and_sarah

over 2 years ago hennef7

Just made these again and they are every bit as good as I remembered from last year.....thanks again for the recipe...

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over 2 years ago handmade

I just made these beautiful, buttery cookies, which I was looking forward to doing after tasting them at a Food52 cookbook signing a few weeks ago. I didn't have any trouble with the dough at all. My problem was that I tried unsuccessfully using a cookie press without letting the dough chill first, and that was my own fault; the dough stuck to the press. I got around it by flattening the cookie a bit with my palm, then liberally sprinkling very safe raspberry red decorating sugar (by India Tree) directly on the cookie before pressing.

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over 2 years ago Sly Brandy

Is anyone monitoring the comments on this recipe? I asked about the yolk bath and now someone is having issues with the dough.

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Senior Editor of Food52

Hi Sly Brandy -- Veronica might not have notifications turned on, so she may not know that there are questions on the recipe. As for the egg yolk, my mom has a similar recipe, where she brushes egg yolk thinned with water onto a roll of cookie dough, then rolls it in coconut and slices and bakes it, so I think agamom's variation sounds great!

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over 2 years ago mikelien

I made the dough and it was so dry and cumbled so badly I could not do anything with it.
Any suggestions?

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Senior Editor of Food52

Hi mikelien -- sorry about that! Did you use 3/4 pound of butter (that's 3 whole sticks)?

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over 2 years ago mrathmel

I think this is the "long lost" family sugar cookie recipe I've been searching for for years. I am so excited to try it!

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over 2 years ago Sly Brandy

agamom- Did you really brush the dough with the egg YOLK?

Audrey_and_sarah

about 3 years ago hennef7

I made these at Christmas cuz I love sugar cookies, but don't like to roll them out. They are yummy...

Audrey_and_sarah

over 3 years ago hennef7

Thanks for a great recipe, Veronica. I love sugar cookies, but don't like to roll them out. These have a wonderful sugar cookie flavor with and easy prep.

K

over 3 years ago cowgirlculture

These are perfect! I am so happy to have found this recipe. To me, this is the perfect Christmas cookie to leave out for Santa! Such a wonderful cookie - thank you for sharing! You made my day. Have a wonderful night!

Girl_dog

over 4 years ago agamom

The real 'secret' to this recipe is how incredibly delicious the cookie tastes after the flavor has developed over a few days! Perfect for Christmas gift giving or if you can restrain from consuming immediately. The vanilla scent is wonderful and the colors add to the beauty. Thank you for sharing! Ran out of time to bake so I rolled half the dough into a log in parchment and kept it overnight in the fridge. The next day: brushed the roll in beaten egg yolk mixed with a teaspoon of water, then sprinkled the colored sugar around the roll, then sliced (like sables) instead of rolling into balls. Not as pretty, but still delicious and very quickly made - and consumed!