A favorite rite of spring: May Day baskets! While there is a goodly amount of snow in the Rockies, and northern Maine and North Dakota are certain to get one more flurry or two before Memorial Day, any snow will melt with the warmth of the sun which is higher in the sky every day. These special butter cookies are the perfect size for celebratory May Day baskets designed to be hung on the front door knobs of friends and family. They’re supposed to be a surprise, so ring the bell and run away. Fill the “baskets” with fresh blossoms, Melting Moments, and a note of appreciation.
Melting Moments – makes 20-24 one inch cookies
1/2 cup, one stick good quality unsalted butter, room temperature – splurge on nice Irish, French, or local butter
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus another 1/4 cup for dusting the baked cookies
3/4 cup millet, sorghum, or chestnut flour
3/8 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: 1/3 finely chopped walnuts
1. Cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl; whisk to blend.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix on low and then medium speed to blend evenly. Add the vanilla extract (and walnuts if using), stir to blend well, and transfer to a food storage container to refrigerate for at least one hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 F and place the rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Roll the dough into 3/4″ balls, taking care to compact the dough to prevent breaking during baking. They’ll expand a little bit – aim to make 6 rows of 4. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until slight cracks appear.
6. Cool completely before carefully dusting with confectioners’ sugar (these “Moments” are delicate!). Wrap in plastic bags (4-5 to a bag)tie with ribbon and place in your May Day “Baskets.” Alternately, line the basket/cone with waxed or parchment paper and gently layer the cookies inside.
Enjoy this annual tradition!
To Make the Baskets:
1. Use 8 1/2 x 11 construction paper or decorative paper applied to printer paper. I used a recycled catalogue from a gallery. Colorful magazine pages work well. 3M Spray adhesive works well.
2. Roll the paper into a cone to set the shape. Apply a line of double-stick to one of the short sides, re-roll into a cone adhering the sides. Secure with a staple on the seam at the top.
3. Make a handle out of reinforced (doubled over) scrap paper and secure it on opposite sited with staples. Cut some decorative shapes (flowers) to cover the staples. The cone will be ready to fill!