I’m off for a month-long research trip to Buffalo, NY, starting tomorrow. While I’m there, I’ll be doing research for a new project and making the last great push on my dissertation. But I don’t think you’ll miss me much — I’ve been so busy I have a backlog of blog posts just ready for the postin’. And I might find some excellent eats in Buffalo, too. And anyway, I expect you’ll be too busy with the opening of the farmer’s market downtown on April 4, and all the stirrings of spring, to be reading inside!
There are many, many things I’ll miss this month, but not really the Great Purpling my yard undergoes each April. Someone (not me) was a big fan of the color purple, and planted all purple and lavender flowers around my house. I have a big swath of purple double irises, lavender and pink rhododendrons, vinca vine under the incense cedar, and tons of grape hyacinth just waiting to burst. Over the years, I’ve tried to counteract the purpling with some red and yellow, but it still takes over.
So in honor of what I’ll be missing, I baked up some very purple cookies, using the rest of a jar of blackberry varenye. They’re variations on Poilâne’s punitions again, but with salted butter and some of the sugar replaced by homemade blackberry Russian-style, pectin-free preserves. The blackberry and salt give the cookies a little tang, a little sadness…perfect for leaving home.
Blackberry Butter Cookies
- 5 oz. (1/2 c. + 1/8 c. or 1.25 sticks) salted Noris Dairy butter, or other very high quality butter
- 1/4 c. blackberry varenye or frozen, sweetened blackberries with a bit of sugar added
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 2 c. flour
- 1 egg
- turbinado or other non-melting sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)
Allow egg and butter to come to room temperature.
Process butter until smooth in a food processor with the metal blade. Scrape down, add the sugar and blackberry varenye, and process until thoroughly blended into the butter, scraping down the sides once or twice.
Add the egg and continue to process, scraping down the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth and satiny.
Add the flour all at once, then pulse 10-15 times, until the dough forms clumps and curds and looks like streusel.
Roll dough into log on saran wrap and wrap tightly, chilling in the refrigerator for at least four hours. If you opt to roll out the dough later instead of slice it, form the dough into two equal-sized flattened disks instead.
When you are ready to bake, position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350°F. I find parchment paper isn’t necessary, but it makes cleanup easier, especially if you’re using the sprinkling sugar on top of the cookies.
You’ll want cookies that are between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Either (A) cut log in slices that are no more than 1/4 inch thick with a sharp, thin knife, or (B) roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick, and cut with a cookie cutter no more than 2 inches in diameter.
Place on cookie sheets, leaving about 1 inch space between them. Carefully turbinado sprinkle sugar on top, if using. It gives a nice sparkle to these cookies, and a touch more sweetness.
Bake the cookies for 6-7 minutes, or until they are set but pale. They will lose their sheen when ready. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool to room temperature.
Dorie Greenspan says the dough can be wrapped airtight and refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month. The finished cookies can be kept in a tin at room temperature for about 5 days or wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 1 month. They won’t last that long.
Makes about 4 dozen small cookies.