The Book: The French Cookie Book (1994, William Morrow & Co.)
I like complicated as much as the next gal. Maybe more so, when it comes to cooking. And I have plenty of cookies in the recipe repertoire that challenge time and space constraints. But these little babies, galettes anglaises (or English cookies) presented a bit of an ordeal that—when all was rolled and chilled and rolled and cut and brushed and glazed and glazed—might not really be worth the effort. Unless you really like orange.
Not that these wafer-like butter cookies taste bad. Comprised of butter, almond flour, sugar and orange zest then topped with melted apricot jam followed by a Cointreau-tinged glaze, they are light, crispy and airy–everything a butter cookie should be. Still, the zest of an entire orange (called for in the recipe . . . probably because oranges were smaller in 1994) really overpowered the almond and apricot in my batch. I would definitely cut back on it if I make these again.
Which begs the question: Would I make them again? Maybe, with a few modifications and some time on my hands. The recipe is, in my opinion, overly complicated. First, it calls for creaming the butter and sugar on the countertop, with the heel of your hand. Then, after various stages in and out of the refrigerator, the cookies are supposed to be brushed with an egg wash—twice—with half an hour in between for the first treatment to dry. (And this before the hot cookies are glazed twice in rapid succession.)
I opted out of smearing butter all over the counter and skipped one of the egg washes. And the cookies were just fine. Orangey, but fine.