If you're storing fried cookies, wait until just before serving to dust them with confectioners' sugar so they don't absorb it.
- Yield: Makes 9 to 10 dozen
Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2000
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 10 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 3 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- Sifted confectioners' sugar, for sprinkling
- 4 1/2 cups solid vegetable shortening, for deep frying
Put butter, eggs, yolks, granulated sugar, salt, vanilla, zests, Cognac, and sour cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium speed until pale and thick, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low; gradually add enough flour to form a fairly stiff dough. Turn out dough onto a floured work surface; knead until dough blisters, becomes elastic, and can be handled easily, 6 to 8 minutes, adding flour if needed.
Divide dough into 4 pieces. Keep dough under an inverted bowl to prevent it from drying out. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. If dough becomes too elastic while rolling, cover with plastic, and let rest 15 minutes. Cut out leaves with a leaf-shape cookie cutter; transfer to a tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough, layering leaves between sheets of parchment paper. Collect all scraps, and let rest 20 minutes before rerolling.
Heat oil in a medium-heavy saucepan until it registers 375 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Stretch leaves slightly so they will curl while frying. Fry in batches of 12, turning occasionally, until pale golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to baking sheets lined with paper towels to drain and cool. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.