When life gives you pie dough

Pie Dough Cookies

Life seems a bit hard right now.

This is not to say that it doesn’t also feel beautiful and hopeful. Life is not so compartmentalized. The good and bad and brilliant and sad are usually jumbled in one big pile and you can choose which pieces you pick up and carry with you on a particular day.

This morning, I looked out on an ice-crystal field. And I thought about distant people and time, and out of the pile I picked out the memory of these cookies. I suppose I learned this recipe from my grandmother, Pearl. It might be more accurate to say that I “absorbed” them. I watched her make them. She never articulated them as a recipe. It’s just what you did with the dough scraps left over after you made a pie.

Pie Dough Cookies

Have you ever made them? Don’t you love their flaky simplicity? (Hey, maybe I should name my band “Flaky Simplicity”.)

On the highly unlikely chance that you haven’t, here’s what you do:

  • Make your favorite pie dough (this is the one I use most often, though any flaky dough works).
  • Make your favorite pie (ours is apple, made with golden russets). I suppose you could skip this step and just make the cookies without the pie, but that would be a shame, wouldn’t it?
  • Ball up the dough scraps.
  • Roll them out until thin (1/8″? you decide what’s right).
  • Cut into diamonds, squares, or whatever shapes you prefer.
  • Place cookies on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
  • Bake at 350ºF for 8-10 minutes, until puffed and just slightly colored (you don’t want to overbrown them; they should be light and flaky).
  • Remove the cookies from the sheet and cool them on a rack (but it’s totally legitimate to eat them when they’re still warm).

Pie Dough Cookies - dough

Pie Dough Cookies - rolled

Pie Dough Cookies - strips

Before you bake them, you can sprinkle them with cinnamon-sugar as my grandmother did (and I usually do). Or you can leave them naked and then dust them with powdered sugar after they come out of the oven. Or you can dip them in Nutella, or cajeta (now there’s a thought…).

They won’t change your life. They won’t erase the sad things. But that’s not their job. They’re just here to be easy, to give you a small cookie-shaped hug and remind you that everything really will be okay. And because they’re leftover scraps? Yeah, no calories either.

Pie Dough Cookies

6 thoughts on “When life gives you pie dough

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