Preston Cookies

Source: Molly Brodak at Kookie House

Yield: Depends on the size of your cookie cutter(s). We made 20 basset hounds and about 40 hearts of various sizes.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/3 cups (400g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup (114g) full fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp (225g) granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp ground freeze-dried bananas
  • 1 Tbsp ground freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp ground freeze-dried raspberries & blackberries
  • 1 Tbsp ground freeze-dried blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp Valrhona (or other Dutch-process) cocoa powder

A Few Notes:

  • We love the freeze-dried fruits from The Rotten Fruit Box, as they are super flavourful and provide wonderful colours.
  • Use a spice grinder, mini food processor, or mortar & pestle to grind the freeze-dried fruits into powder.
  • If you would prefer cookies that are all one flavour, replace the 5 tablespoons of powders with 1/3 cup of fruit powder or cocoa powder.

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix butter and cream cheese on low until fully combined. You want to remove all lumps of cream cheese, but without creaming this mixture, as that will add too much air.
    NOTE: Molly said the dough “should stay ‘wet’ looking and un-fluffy. It kinda looks like hummus to me.” We concur!
  3. Add sugar, salt, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix just until incorporated.
  4. Add egg yolk and mix just until incorporated.
  5. Remove dough from bowl and weigh on clean kitchen scale. Divide weight by 5 and portion out dough into 5 equal pieces. (For example, our dough weighed 965 grams. 965 / 5 = 193, so we portioned our dough into five pieces that each weighed 193 grams.)
    NOTE: If you are making single flavour cookies, you will skip steps 5–7. Instead, add your fruit or cocoa powder to dough all at once; mix on low just until incorporated. Then move onto step 8.
  6. Place one piece of dough back into mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of ground freeze-dried bananas. Mix on low just until incorporated. Remove dough from bowl.
  7. Repeat step 6 with other four pieces of dough. We recommend going from lightest to darkest powder: banana, strawberry, raspberry/blackberry, blueberry, then cocoa. This helps keep the colours purer without the need to wipe out the bowl after each mix.
  8. Knead dough balls with your hands a few times to ensure that flour is fully incorporated.
  9. Wrap dough balls individually in cling film, then press into patty shapes. Place wrapped dough in fridge to chill for roughly 20 minutes. The dough should be cool, rested, and firm, but not completely hard.
  10. Once dough has chilled, break or cut each dough patty in half. Set one half of each patty aside.
  11. Cut 2 pieces of wax paper that are slightly longer than your baking sheet. Place one on your work surface.
  12. Now is the time to decide how you want to design your dough. Splotches of colours? Stripes? In a gradient? Completely random? For our first batch, to abstractly mimic basset hounds’ markings, we went with splotches. To create this look, we took pieces of dough that varied between 0.5" and 2" in diameter and placed them on the wax paper, making sure the pieces touched or overlapped slightly. We were conscious of the colour placement, creating balance between the light and dark doughs.
  13. Once you use all of the dough for this batch, place other piece of wax paper on top. With your rolling pin, roll out dough to somewhere between 1/8" and ¼" thick.
  14. Repeat steps 11–13 with other half of dough. For our second batch, we made a gradient by lining up narrow logs of dough in this order: banana, strawberry, raspberry/blackberry, blueberry, cocoa, then repeat.
    NOTE: If this dough got too warm while you were designing your first batch, put dough back in fridge for 15–20 minutes.
  15. Slide one dough/wax paper sandwich onto baking sheet. Then gently place second dough/wax paper sandwich on top. Place in freezer for at least 15 minutes.
  16. When you’re ready to bake your cookies, heat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  17. Remove dough sheets from freezer and peel off top layers of wax paper. Using your American Tradition basset hound cookie cutter, cut doggos directly from frozen dough sheets. Use other, smaller cutters to cut shapes from excess dough. (We’re a sucker for hearts, so we used hearts of varying sizes. We also cut out miscellaneous shapes with a paring knife.)
    NOTE: The colours will get more muddled, but we recommend rerolling and rechilling any leftover dough to cut even more additional shapes. These cookies are too delicious to waste any dough!
  18. Transfer bassets and other shapes to room temperature or cold baking sheets lined with parchment.
    NOTE: If the dough became soft while you were cutting out shapes, place in freezer (baking sheets and all) for 10–15 minutes before baking.
  19. Bake cookies for 8–12 minutes. The cream cheese causes the cookies to not brown very much, so keep a close look-out for slight browning at the bottom edges where the cookies touch the parchment. (Also watch the bassets’ tails, as they will brown faster than the rest of the pup!)
  20. Transfer to wire rack and allow to cool completely.
  21. You could certainly decorate these with royal icing if you like, but they are absolutely beautiful and scrumptious as-is!

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