Friday, May 14, 2010

Chiisana Butter Cookies

Butter is an amazing thing. It adds tenderness to baked goods, flavor to meat when it's cooked in it, and flakiness to pastry. It also transforms toast from dry bread to sublime treat. More butter has to be better than less, right?

These cookies boast 10.2% butter and claim to be handmade. The strange thing is that they look very much like they've been mass manufactured with a mass cookie press. They were amazingly cheap, 97 yen ($1.07) for a box of 16 tiny cookies (about the size of a quarter or 100 yen coin), at Seiyu supermarket. If someone handmade them, I pity them for the poor wages they must be getting.

The smell of these cookies strongly reminds me of shortbread made with butter. When I removed the first cookie from its packet, lots of crumbs came with it. You can easily eat it all in one bite, but I decided to try and savor all 27 calories of it with 2 nibbles. I love the portion size since it'd be nice to have two of these with a cup of afternoon tea, but I cringe at the wastefulness of the packaging. These cookies would be better packaged in a long plastic sleeve than in individual packets.

The flavor is somewhat buttery, but I strongly tasted margarine as well. I looked at the ingredients and these "butter" cookies have a second ingredient of "margarine". "Flour" is first and "butter" is third. There's also something to it which reminds me of cookies that have been baked on a cookie sheet that was used again and again and not washed between new batches. The texture is super crumbly, but not as fine as good shortbread cookies.

These cookies were okay, but the problem with this type of shortbread-style cookie is that the flavor profile is very shallow. They fail or succeed on the butter flavor since there are no other significant flavorings. Since there is more margarine than butter, these are very mediocre cookies. If you are desperate for a butter cookie and have no other options, these would probably do in a pinch, but I can't recommend them and wouldn't buy them again.

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