October 6

My Mother’s Parmesan Cookies

My mother is an excellent cook and can whip up the most elaborate dishes from every country she’s ever lived in—and she’s lived in many! But of all her creations, this one is perhaps the most genius because of its sheer simplicity. With just three ingredients, you get these addictive, amazing cookies, which are far greater than the sum of their parts. I always have a few frozen batches of dough on hand in case we have last-minute guests—and also just because.

MAKES ABOUT 60 COOKIES

16 tablespoons (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (8 ounces) finely grated
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 ¾ cups (7¾ ounces) all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F; position the racks in the upper and lower third of the oven. Line two rimmed baking sheets with Silpat mats or parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and flour and beat on low speed until a stiff dough forms. For a few minutes, the dough will look dry and will not come together; keep mixing and you will see it form. Divide the dough into three pieces, and roll each piece into a 9-inch log, about 1½ inches in diameter. Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour—this will make slicing it much easier. Alternatively, if making this ahead, you can freeze the dough for up to 2 months—just let it sit for 15 minutes at room temperature before slicing.

Slice the logs into ⅓-inch-thick rounds and arrange them on the prepared sheet pans about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they turn golden brown around the edges, shifting and rotating the pans halfway through baking for even browning. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

NOTE: Please take care to use real Parmigiano-Reggiano and not a domestic imitation. Because the cheese is one-third of the ingredients, it is imperative that it’s high quality.