A former creative writing student of mine sent me this recipe, a favorite in her family which comes from the Settlement Cookbook. They're called Hurry Up Butter Cookies, and if you're in a hurry, these are easy to mix together, though I found they took a while to bake in my dysfunctional oven. (More on that, another time.)
The ingredients include the usual suspects: flour, butter, sugar, egg, plus some lemon zest and juice. I added 1/4 teaspoon of salt for good measure. You press the mixture into a 9 x 9, then sprinkled with chopped nuts. I went for almonds, my favorite.
My student, the talented fiction writer/poet/quilter Cathleen Bailey, told me to bake the cookies in a slow oven, meaning 300 degrees, for 20 to 30 minutes. I'm never sure what temperature is happening in the clunker in my apartment, so mine took a lot longer than that. One thing to note: let the cookies sit for a while. They need time to settle.
After cutting them into squares, they taste a bit like a rich shortbread candy, perfect with tea or coffee. Here's Cathleen's recipe (plus my addition of salt).
HURRY UP BUTTER COOKIES
Tip: Often I cut the recipe in half. There is still enough batter to spread in the pan, but the cookies are just a little thinner.
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, separated
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon (back in the day, the ladies just said rind instead of zest, we're so fancy)
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Cream butter and sugar, add egg yolk, continue beating, then add lemon and flour. Mix thoroughly until well blended. Pat dough into a greased and floured 9 inch square pan. Brush with slightly beaten egg white, and sprinkle with nuts. Bake in slow oven, 300 F for 20 to 30 minutes. Cut while hot into squares.
My mother loved The Settlement Cook Book (c. 1950) which is where this recipe originates.