These cookies are my nemesis. They are so light and crumbly, they are incredibly difficult to make, and incredibly prone to breaking.
Part of that is because – in true prideful perfectionist Norwegian form – my foremothers (mom, Grandma and Tanis) taught me that they should be in the shape of a bow, and a mere twist is what you settle for if your baking skills aren’t up to par.
The image at right was the only one I could find of a bow. But even this isn’t a true “bow” because there are no tails dangling.
But I tell ya, making cookies in true bow shapes with dangling tails is incredibly difficult. So either settle for twists; or else do your best with the tips I’ve included at the end of this recipe for decreasing the frustration.
You’ll need a total of 4 eggs for this recipe – 2 of which you’ll hard boil and use only the yolks. The two remaining eggs you’ll separate and use both yolks, but only one white. So you’ll have leftover 1 raw egg white you can use for an omelette or something, and 2 hard-cooked egg whites for snacking.
Makes 4-5 dozen
2 cooked egg yolks, from hard-boiled eggs (don’t try separating the eggs and cooking just the yolks – the yolks have to be a certain consistency, which you can only get from hard-boiling them)
2 raw egg yolks
1 c sugar
2 – 2 1/2 c flour
1 c softened butter
1 egg white, whipped with a fork until frothy
Crumble the two hard-cooked egg yolks. Add the 2 raw yolks and the sugar and beat WELL, at least 4-5 minutes. You don’t want to have even the tiniest grain of sugar not incorporated. You should have something like an egg paste when you’re done.
Add the butter and flour in alternating amounts. Use as little flour as you can to make a non-sticky dough.
Roll it in a ball and refrigerate an hour or two.
When the dough is firm but not rock-solid, roll it into bow shapes. Do this by taking a piece of dough about the size of a grape and roll it into a thin, even “worm” about 5-6 inches long. then flip the ends over each other, forming a bow (and hope your worm doesn’t break in the process).
Dip the bow in the remaining egg white, then in sugar, then put on a well-greased cookie sheet. Again, hoping it doesn’t break while you do this.
Bake for 10-12 minutes at 325°. When done, they will not be brown, but will take on a crispy, “done” appearance.
To get cookies that don’t break:
The ones in this picture, for instance, would never have passed muster in our house when I was a kid. The worms are so fat, the twists are practically solid. But I promise you none of them broke!
Another tip is to put your bows (or even twists) back into the fridge after you’ve rolled them. If they’re stiff when you dip them, it’s easier to make sure the egg white only gets on the tops, not the whole cookie. But if you do refrigerate them, don’t do it for long. The dough dries out quickly.
Use a non-stick cookie sheet. Even a very well-greased regular one can cause these cookies to break when you try to lift them off with a spatula.