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Is Everything Really Better With Butter?

Many cooks argue that butter is the ONLY way to go when making cookies and other baked goods. How many TV chefs have you seen adding stick after stick of butter to their creations? Of course, few of those TV chefs are what I would describe as lean. I know some of the research released during the past year indicates that butter isn't as bad for our health as we once thought. Nonetheless, the research scientists who say butter is okay generally add the caveat "in moderation." I also suspect that many of our cardiologists continue to advocate cutting back on some of those butter sticks we add to our foods. So, although I like to use butter in baked goods, I also try to limit the amounts and to use other types of fat when possible and reasonable. The refrigerator cookies I'm posting today do include butter, and the butter gives the cookies richness and a crispy texture. Nonetheless, the amount of butter isn't overwhelming, and the flavors of fresh orange, sweet cinnamon, and slightly bitter walnuts shine through. Be sure to make the cookie dough well in advance of when you want to bake the cookies. The dough needs to be refrigerated for at least a few hours before baking the cookies.

Orange Walnut Refrigerator Cookies

Orange-Walnut Refrigerator Cookies -- Makes about 24

1/2 cup of butter, softened

1/2 cup of sugar

2 egg yolks

Zest of a medium orange

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 1/3 cups of flour

1 1/4 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 cup of chopped walnuts (chop them small/fine to make the cookies easier to slice)

Cream the butter and sugar and add the egg yolks, one at a time. Beat the mixture well after each addition. Beat in the orange zest and salt, then mix in the flour and cinnamon. Mix in the walnuts. Spread two pieces of plastic wrap--each about 12 inches long and 6 inches wide--on the counter and divide the dough between the pieces. Form two logs, each 8-10 inches long and about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in the plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least a few hours and preferably overnight. When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or coat them with nonstick cooking spray. Slice the logs crosswise to form slices about 1/4-inch thick and place the slices on the cookie sheets a couple of inches apart. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes or until just beginning to brown.

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