No, no, no, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean anything.
I’m not turning into one of those people that exclaims, “Ouh la la!” when talking to people back home, and I’m not going to start calling my cookies biscuits (“BEES-kwee”) like X and the other Frenchies do anytime soon.
If I do, just slap me silly.
A couple of weeks ago, I brought out my Eiffel tower cookie cutter instead of my Texas-shaped one and made my mom’s sugar cookies because, well, I wanted to impress someone. I wanted both to impress and welcome someone to France, someone who’s the embodiment of American-ness, of all things free and brave.
That someone happens to be Stephen Colbert.
I’ll give you a minute.
My friend Heather Stimmler-Hall, who’s lived here for 15 years and who has très cool insidery website, Secrets of Paris, was hired to tote la famille Colbert around town, and I volunteered to make some cookies for her to give them when they arrived.
Because what else says “Bienvenue à Paris!” — whoops, I meant “Welcome to Paris, y’all!” — like an Eiffel tower cookie?
Now, Stephen Colbert didn’t telephone-moi — gosh, there I go again! — but I hear that they thought that the Eiffel towers were swell.
Well, of course they did. These are the most excellent cookies, ever — my mom’s been making these sugar cookies for Christmas as long as I can remember. We used to make them together on Christmas eve and put out one or two for Santa, et al. The cookies were always mysteriously gone the next morning, so I’m assuming that he and his elf posse gobbled them up.
Of course, he never called, either.
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
2. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and mix well. Add vanilla, and mix again. Now, add the flour mixture and mix well.
3. Divide the two into two pieces and on a lightly floured surface (or between two pieces of wax paper or inside two large plastic bags), roll out each piece until it’s about 1/2-inch thick. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll cookies out, and cut them into desired shapes — Eiffel towers, Texas shapes, or whatever tickles your fancy — and place on a parchment or Silpat-lined cookie sheet. Decorate as you wish, return to the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour, then bake 10-12 minutes or until the edges just begin to slightly brown. Note: these cookies don’t brown per se, but you’ll know when they’re cooked when the edges just start to turn color. Be careful not to overcook them. Cool on a rack before you eat them. I think they’re better a few hours, or a day, even, after you bake them. I’m sure Santa and Stephen Colbert would agree.