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Here’s the deal with these cookies: aside from the fact that they have one of the worst names in the history of naming—well, anything— hard boiled egg cookies are my absolute FAVORITE Christmas cookies to snarf down. Even though they sound about as appetizing as a whiskey shot with a pickle juice chaser, they don’t taste at all like eggs. They are a lot like sugar or butter cookies, but they have a soft, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, chewy texture that pairs perfectly with a cold glass of milk.
I like these even more than Thin Mints. And I can eat the hell out of a sleeve of Thin Mints. Is that convincing enough?
Last Friday, I shared with you my grandmother’s favorite cookie recipe (kolaches) and what it meant to me to have these around now that she’s gone. I promised ages ago that I’d share both recipes, so I’m here to pay up and give you the details, even if you decide that the name is just too hard to get over.
Or, you could call them by name in front of your kids and basically guarantee that you can hoard them all to yourself. It’s genius.
Cooked egg yolks are an old school baking trick that make a pastry light, but soft and dense — which is how it still makes its way into this family favorite. This recipe is basically a dressed up sugar cookie, handed down from the women in my family with relatively few ingredients. It has a buttery, crumbly flavor that isn’t too sweet to then decorate with icing or sprinkles, making it an excellent option for pleasing adults and kids alike. It also goes great with Santa’s glass of milk!
- 4 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ pound (two sticks) of butter, softened
- 4 hard boiled egg yolks, sifted
- 4 whole eggs
- Optional: icing, sanding sugar, or egg wash
- Prepare egg yolks: Hard boil 4 eggs and separate the yolk. Press the yolks through a sieve to get a crumbly mix.
- Make the cookie dough: Mix together sugar, flour, baking powder, hard boil egg yolks and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 whole eggs and vanilla. Makes a stiff dough.
- Chill and set aside: Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for about a ½ hour.
- Roll and bake: Use a small amount of flour on a cutting board to roll out dough with a rolling pin. Cut into favorite shapes. Bake at 350 degrees until the edges are brown (about 12 minutes).
- Since this is part of a family holiday tradition, we often make deviled eggs around the same time, which helps to get rid of unused whites of the hard boiled eggs (if for some reason I haven’t snarfed them down when peeling off the shell).
- Mix the dough like a pie crust (it will be crumbly in bits until you add the eggs and vanilla).
- Egg wash on top will add a nice glaze and also helps the sanding sugar to stick a little better if the cookies have begun to cool.
I prefer them plain with a small wash of egg white on top because I’m not a big icing fan, but the rest of my family is insistent on icing or adding sanding sugar to a few so that I’m not the only one who can enjoy them.
In our family tradition, I like to eat them while they’re still warm from the oven, which is also a fine time to dust them with sugar (if you didn’t do it before putting them in the oven), but you should generally wait until they’ve cooled to ice them. Mom has a long standing tradition of ignoring this rule altogether when baking, so I have fond memories of iced cookies with a see-through spot on top (or in the case of birthdays, whole top layers sliding from their base). Ahh, childhood.
(Speaking of, the entire time I was writing this post, I said the word “cookies” so much I had a memory flashback of watching Troop Beverly Hills. I know I’m dating myself, but does anyone else remember that movie?)