Food Network Magazine (December 2015)
About the time things were falling apart with those Gingered Sugar Cookies, things were also taking a turn for the worse with our second cookie challenge entry: Bourbon Bow Ties.
We'd selected these cookies because they are 1.) adorable and 2.) fried, which we thought would make for an interesting cooking experience.
Fried cookies? With bourbon?! Why not!
Here's why not.
The work of making these Bourbon Bow Ties is not difficult. The dough comes together quickly, then rests at room temperature for a half hour. You then roll the dough out and cut it into little strips, using a bit of handiwork to turn it into a bow tie shape. We never really got the hang of the bow tie shapes -- ours were passable but not great.
We are, however, aces at frying. In this case, the frying is totally easy and goes quickly, given that each batch only fries for three to four minutes. Out of the fryer, you simply toss the bow ties in a cinnamon-sugar-vanilla mixture, and that's your cookie.
And this is when the problem arises, because the "cookie" (which is not very cookie-like) has no flavor. There's zero bourbon taste. The dough is, in essence, flavorless. Sure, the sugary coating tastes like cinnamon and vanilla, but there's nothing else going on here.
Readers had the same experience. Here are some reader photos, along with a handful of reader reports:
Cara: I really enjoyed these but not as a Christmas cookie - more of a breakfast treat. My kids liked them a little crisper but still said they were very yummy even though not very 'cookie'.
Susan: I have thrown them away rather than share this tasteless item with anyone else.
KitchenSerf: You can get the same result by rolling out pie dough, sprinkling it with cinnamon-sugar, baking it & serving it with shots of bourbon. You'll save $$$ & time.
Linda: Best thing about these was the sugar! Bit dry, think a bit of chocolate sauce and they'd be a hit.
Kaupilimakoa: Those 2 tablespoons of bourbon wouldn't been better utilized for drinking.
As you can seem, some readers said they enjoyed these Bourbon Bow Ties, even if they didn't think it was much of a holiday cookie.
But for us this was a total dud. If you're looking for a stand-out Christmas cookie, we think you need to keep on searching.
(This photo:Ryan Dausch for Food Network Magazine)
Total Time: 1 hr 30 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive: 30 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: about 54
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out (pod reserved)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
Vegetable oil, for frying
Combine 1 cup sugar, the vanilla pod, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg in a large bowl. Work the vanilla seeds into the mixture with your fingers until incorporated; set aside.
Beat the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the egg yolks, bourbon and vanilla extract in a medium bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour and salt in 2 batches, alternating with the sour cream, until just combined. Continue beating until the dough starts to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 minutes (it will be sticky). Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap; let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the dough in half; roll out each half into a thin 9-inch square on a floured surface. Cut each square into 1-by-3-inch strips. Cut a 1-inch slit lengthwise in the center of each strip; insert one end of the strip into the opening, pull through and twist to make a bow tie shape. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
Set a rack on another baking sheet. Heat 2 inches vegetable oil in a large pot until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Working in batches of 6 to 8, fry the cookies, turning once, until golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to the rack with a slotted spoon; toss in the spiced sugar while still warm.