This is the basic dough you can use to make four other recipes: Chocolate and Vanilla Sandwich Cookies, Dulce de Leche Crumb Bars, Holiday Cutouts and Infasciadedde (Sicilian Twists); see separate recipes.
Italians use pasta frolla to line pans for baking a variety of pies, sweet and savory, and to make simple sugar cookies and all sorts of elaborate filled cookies. Using it as a base for bar cookies is simply an extension of its pan-lining capabilities.
The dough is best made in a food processor, but you can also make it by hand, rubbing in the butter and incorporating the eggs with a fork. You'll have to knead handmade dough a little to get it smooth; just don't overdo it. Pasta frolla can be made and refrigerated 3 to 4 days in advance.
Yield: pounds of dough (enough for 2 of the variation recipes mentioned below)
- 4 cups flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (may substitute 1 teaspoon each vanilla and lemon extracts)
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon or orange zest
- Chocolate and Vanilla Sandwich Cookies
- Dulce de Leche Crumb Bars
- Holiday Cutouts
- Infasciadedde (Sicilian Twists)
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse 3 or 4 times to mix. Add the butter and process 10 to 15 seconds or until it is finely mixed into the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and zest. Pulse a few times, until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Form the dough into a fat cylinder and use immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Tested by Lisa Cherkasky.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.