Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cookie #24 - Alaska Sourdough

Without further delay, I present to you the Alaskan Sourdough cookie.  When my husband and I were dating, he went fishing in Alaska.  One of his favorite memories was of the sourdough pancakes made by the Inuit woman that owned the inn they stayed at.  The sourdough started she used had been in her family for generations.  Since I wasn't lucky enough to have a sourdough starter handed down to me, I had to make my own. 

I started with two cups of AP flour, 2 cups of warm water (about 110 degrees F) and 1/4 ounce of dried yeast.  I mixed all these together in a bowl and set it in a warm place to proof for 48 hours (hence the delay in posting these cookies).  The smell coming off this starter as it proofed was intoxicatingly sweet.  It was a cross between fresh baked bread and a good beer. 

Now it was time to make cookies.  Again, as the cookies baked you could smell the same sweet smell that came from the starter combined with vanilla and almond.  The cookie was soft and cakey with a subtle tang of the sourdough.  I did find the almond flavoring a little overpowering, perhaps next time I will omit it.  I did glaze the cookies with some simple powdered sugar mixed with milk and lemon juice and that added a nice sweetness - just enough. 

Alaska Sourdough Cookies

1 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
2 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sourdough starter
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Cream shortening and sugar together until creaming.  Add egg and extracts.  Stir in sourdough starter.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add to shortening/sugar/starter mixture in small batches until well combined.
Chill dough for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out dough on a well-floured surface to about 1/4" thick.  Cut out cookies with a 3" round cookie cutter (or shape of choice).  Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
If desired, mix two cups confectioners sugar and two tablespoons each lemon juice and milk to make a glaze.  Drizzle over the cookies and allow to dry.

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