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Grandma's Koek

Europe, West: Dutch

Every Christmas, Grandma would bake her rich and delicious Boterkoek. It was stored in a covered "tin" and was hidden high on a top cupboard shelf, well out of the reach of little hands.

On Christmas Eve, the grandchildren were allowed to select one piece of Koek (as the children called it) from the tin (under Grandma's watchful eye). It was both crisp and dense, crunchy and sweet, and unbelievably rich.

To this day, the smell of a rich butter cookie evokes memories of Christmas and of Grandma's special treat - Boterkoek.

Ingredients

2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. (2 eight ounce sticks) unsalted butter
1 egg
1/4 tsp. vanilla
poppy seed (optional)
blanched whole almonds or candied ginger slices (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350�F.
1. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
2. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until well combined (crumbly and moist)
3. In a small bowl, beat the egg and vanilla.
4. Add 2 T. of the egg/vanilla to the flour/sugar/butter mixture and mix well.
5. Press the mixture into a 9 1/2 inch rectangular pan.
6. With a knife, score the surface of the dough into diamond shapes.
7. With a pastry brush, brush the remaining egg over the surface of the dough. If using poppy seeds, sprinkle them over the egg wash.
8. Place a blanched almond or piece of candied ginger in the center of each diamond.
9. Bake for 1 hour. Lower the temperature if it appears the boterkoek is browning too quickly.
10. Cool completely. Slice into diamond shapes and store in an airtight container.
Yields about 16 pieces.

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