Recipe Sleuth: Blue Duck Tavern’s Sugar Cookies

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The dessert menu at Blue Duck Tavern in DC’s West End is filled with upscale sweets such as hazelnut-Amaretto cheesecake and apricot-toffee bread pudding. But it’s the freshly baked sugar cookies, served in $7 tins of six, that caught one reader’s attention. We tracked down pastry chef Laurent Merdy to find out how you can get your sugar fix from home. Merdy says the cookies were on the menu before he arrived, and he’s tweaked the recipe to give them a chewier center. Now they’re an irreplaceable item on the dessert menu. “We can’t take them out,” Merdy says. “It’s like apple pie. It’s going to be there forever.”

Makes two dozen cookies

1 1⁄3 cups sifted flour
1⁄3 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄3 teaspoon salt
1½ sticks (6 ounces) butter
2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup white sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In an electric mixer, cream the butter with 2 tablespoons white sugar and the brown sugar and vanilla. Beat in the egg. Stir in the dry ingredients. Place the remaining ¼ cup sugar in a clean bowl. Using a small ice-cream scoop, shape 1-ounce balls of cookie dough and roll each in the sugar. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are just browning at the edges.

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.