Marilou Suszko of Vermilion is a well-known Ohio food writer who most recently collaborated on the 100th anniversary book Cleveland’s West Side Market: 100 Years & Still Cooking.
There was a time when my holidays started with a list of cookies I had to bake — spritz, chocolate chip, anise meringues, Russian tea cakes, cherry almond stars, biscotti. It was maddening — but delicious! My glory days of baking have been pared down to one spectacular cookie that begins a trip to Diane Dever’s Dairy at the West Side Market where she cuts the key ingredient, creamery butter, from giant slabs.
½ lb. unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
½ cup sugar
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
Coarse or sanding sugar, to sprinkle
Position one rack in the middle of the oven and another just above it. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, cream the ingredients together on low speed for 2 minutes. The mixture will not look smooth. Add the flour all at once and mix on low speed for 3 minutes. The dough will feel soft and sticky. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and roll out to ¼-inch thickness. Using a star shaped cookie cutter, cut out the shapes and transfer to the baking sheets, leaving an inch between cookies. Gather the scraps, roll out, and cut a second time.
Sprinkle cookies with sugar.
Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake the cookies for about 45 minutes, rotating the sheets every 15 minutes. The cookies are done when tops appear dry, not cracked. Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container, or freeze for up to a month.
Makes 2½ dozen.