Breaking two cardinal rules in my kitchen--versatility and real-world functionality--my favorite new toy is silly, beautiful, and fun. It can only do one thing: make cookies in the shape of an obscure cut of lamb. A while back, while checking out the display cases at the excellent little butcher shop, Avendano's, my friends spotted a batch of hand-crafted, limited-edition, copper cookie cutters. For some reason, they thought of me.
The packaging was gorgeous. Each form is hand-stitched to a card painted with a watercolor depiction of the actual cut of meat. I am now blessed with a "Middle Cut Rib" of lamb, which, to be honest, does not resemble any overly trimmed product that I’ve seen at most meat counters. My favorite part is the tiny tag, hanging off the cookie cutter like some exclusive designer label and engraved--by hand, of course--with the maker's phone number.
This past weekend, I finally had a chance to give it a try. Since royal icing is one of my least favorite foods, depicting meat with only cookie dough became the challenge. An old recipe (adapted from Vanilla Refrigerator Cookies in the 1976 edition of the Joy of Cooking) and a bit of red food coloring leftover from making velvet cake came to rescue. I debated incorporating demi-glace or bouillon for meaty flavor, but decided to stay simple for the test run. Next time.
Here are some photos and notes from my first stab at meat cookies: