This recipe is the first I have made from David Lebovitz’s new cookbook, My Paris Kitchen, which is a wonderful book that I can’t recommend highly enough. These Duck Fat Cookies of course jumped way out at me, and when I read the recipe blurb I learned that in Paris, things like duck fat, charcuterie and sausage are just part of everyone’s normal, daily life, and that it’s typical to include them in baked desserts and sweets. Apparently no one squeals or makes a big fuss over such things.
Well…. I squealed. I guess that means I’m un Americain stupide? Certainly it means I’m less sophisticated and posh than the Parisians, but I think we all knew that anyway.
Upon tasting these cookies, I’ll have to stand by my low-brow squealing. They are divine. They’re pretty much a short bread texture, very crumbly, but with an incredibly soft and richly fatty mouthfeel. If you know there’s duck fat in there, you definitely taste it, but it doesn’t beat you over the head. I’m sure you could hand one of these to the pickiest of American child diners and just say, “it’s a cookie” and they would gobble it happily.
Duck fat is easy to track down these days, Whole Foods always stocks it, and other grocery stores have started carrying it lately too. So, there’s really no excuse to not make these cookies. Except maybe for vegetarianism. That’s a legit excuse. But for the rest of you…. get after it! Enjoy!
¼ cup dried cherries
1 tbs brandy
6 tbs chilled duck fat
4 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp kosher salt
In a small saucepan, heat the cherries and brandy over low heat until the liquid is completely absorbed and the cherries are a little plumped. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Once cool, rough chop the cherries.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the duck fat, butter, and sugar on low speed just until combined. Add the vanilla and incorporate.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour to the fat mixture, until it just comes together. Use a rubber spatula to mix in the cherries.
On a lightly floured surface, and with lightly floured hands, knead the dough briefly until smooth. Shape it into a rectangle, then cut the dough in half lengthwise. Roll each piece of dough into a log about 6 inches long. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. I would recommend longer (maybe 1 hour?), as it will make the dough easier to slice and work with later.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
To bake the cookies, slice the dough into ½-inch rounds and set them on the baking sheets, evenly spaced. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets once midway through. The cookies should be slightly golden brown on top.
Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets until crisp. They should be stored in an airtight container, once completely cooled, for up to 3 days. But you really won’t have to worry about that. No way will they last that long.