Need help with old family cookie recipe

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by matfam5, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. matfam5

    matfam5

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    When I was a child, my great aunts used to get together and bake the day away.  They made wonderful things from the heritages of Austria, Hungary and Croatia:  Poppy Seed Strudel, Palatschinke and Kipfels filled with lekvar, a cookie they called something like "Linsen" (I've found similar recipes named "Linzerteig".)  All of the recipes that I have were passed by word of mouth and written down by my mother more than 20 years ago.  No one is around to help me with the recipes, and I cannot make one of the recipes turn out right.  The cookies are a tasty, but crumbly mess.

    My great aunts called the cookies something like "Ringlen", most certainly for its shape given by the use of a donut cutter.  Every time I make the cookie, it is a crumbly mess.  Something is clearly wrong in the recipe, and I'd love to fix it.  Here is what was written down (very minimal) and passed to me...

    Ringlen

    1 lb. butter, softened

    5 c. flour

    4 egg yolks

    5 T powdered sugar (yes, it was written down as "powdered" but I've wondered if this should be "granulated"???)

    1 egg white

    7-8 T powdered sugar.

    Mix together first four ingredients.  Set dough to the side while you prepare the topping.  For the topping, beat the the egg white and remaining powdered sugar together with a fork until stiff.

    Roll out dough and cut with donut cutter.  (My childhood recollection is of a cookie that was about 1/4" think, but the dough thickness was not written down.)  Put topping on the cookies and bake for 10 mins at 350 degrees.

    The cookies taste correct to my recollection.  It is possible to get them off the silpat in one piece, but they crumble to bits when you try to eat them.  Thanks for any ideas on how to "fix" the recipe.  Clearly, something was lost in the transcription of this one.

    -- MM

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  2. siduri

    siduri

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    Hmmm, i've tried to make some cookies that are similar in ingredients, lots of butter and little sugar and little liquid and they tend to crumble.  But i think that's supposed to be the appeal of them, i think, as long as they hold their shape until they get eaten. 

    It could be that your mother's eggs were bigger.  Could be she measured by eye and approximated.  Some old Italian recipes don;t actually use all the flour they call for - you make a pile of flour on the board, make a hole in the middle and put the wet ingredients and sugar in the center, then mix them up from the center, incorporating the flour as you go along, then when it's "just right" you stop incorporating flour. 

    Well, some ideas but no answers
     
  3. matfam5

    matfam5

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    Thanks for the ideas.  The problem is they are just too crumbly.  It is almost impossible to get them off the cookie sheet in one piece, and then they crumble apart (all over the place) with the first bite.  Add another egg yolk?  Try granulated sugar instead of powdered?

    -- MM
     
     
  4. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    P.S contains about 3% cornstarch which will absorb moisture & prevent caking. .  (would this cause the cookie to crumble ? I don't think the amount is large enough to do that. Maybe the amout of flour is too much ?) I am tossing ideas in the air here.

    Maybe the p.s was meant to sift on top of the cookies to decorate ?  What was the dough like ? I would not add more egg.

    I believe that 1/4 -1/2 cup of granulated sugar is ok for the recipe and just dust powdered sugar to decorate.

    Petals.
     
  5. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    FWIW, a generally accepted ratio for sugar cookies is 1:2:3, sugar:fat:flour, by weight. As I read your recipe, the ratio is 1:12:16.

    As a first "tweak" I'd try reducing the butter by 2 ounces (4 tablespoons)  and. maybe, upping the sugar to, say, 5 ounces?

    Then again, remember I am NOT a baker /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif