03 January 2013

Punishment Cookies

Pleasure and pain: you'd think being home sick for awhile wouldn't be so bad. But when it's pneumonia, and two weeks, you start wishing to be anyplace but in bed.

I can't verify the diagnosis because x-rays and tests are a bit out of my budget. However, this illness is an intense one, and brings with it a complete lack of appetite- for food and tea. Yes, it's that serious. So in order to claw my way back to health, I've been choking down ridiculously expensive oolongs and punitions, or punishment cookies, every few hours.

I read about these simple French sugar cookies in an article about Poilane bakery, in Paris. The focus of the piece was the baker, and the bread, but the mention of a small basket of these treats by the register- offered to every patron- haunted me for all of two days, until I found the recipe and made them my own.

Punishment Cookies
Makes: about 4 dozen

10 tablespoons unsalted butter (Kerrygold is my preference)
1/2 cup (125 g) sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Put butter in a food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until smooth. Add sugar and process until thoroughly blended; add the egg and process until the mixture is smooth and satiny. Add flour and salt, then pulse several times until dough forms into clumps.

2. Gather dough into two balls; press into disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate overnight or at least a few hours. When ready to bake, heat oven to 350°. Roll out one disk at a time to about 1/4-inch thick. Using a round or flower-shaped cookie cutter, cut and place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gather scraps and gently re-roll to cut more cookies. Repeat with remaining disk.

3. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until cookies are set but still pale. Let cool on sheets for a few minutes, or transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Or watch this video of them being made by the original crazy Frenchman, by hand - truly, a work of baking art- and then feel lucky that things like cookies and clear lungs exist.


cha sen said...

I admire your assiduity, in making cookies when sick. Glad they were worth the effort.

Emma said...

Why are they called punishment cookies, do you know?

ana dane said...

apparently, as a bit of a tease to the children eagerly awaiting them- the baker would announce "come and get your punishment!" before doling out a cookie.

only the french...

Emma said...

Lovely :)

selina said...

first time I am commenting Selina from New Delhi, I think you should plan on a homestay at the Makaibari Tea estate at Darjeeling owned by an Indian cowboy named Rajah or king

Emma Cooper said...

I have included a link to your Punishment Cookies in my latest edition of Tendrils, which is a weekly round-up of good things to read that I find on the internet (mainly food, gardening and plants!)

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