The treats I most associate with the holidays are small, crispy, Belgian cookies that look like thin waffles and taste buttery-good. At least one Flemish-Belgian cookbook I own calls them nieuwjaar's wafeltjes (New Year's waffle cookies), but my family, whose ancestors came from the French-speaking southern part of Belgium, calls them "boonohs,” a nickname that probably evolved from a French term for "good year."
My family uses an heirloom stovetop iron to make these, but you’ll need an electric Belgian cookie iron. They’re available from Palmer Manufacturing; call 724-872-8200 or visit www.cpalmermfg.com and ask for Model #1110, which has the smallest grids.
The recipe yields 12 to 14 dozen cookies; they may be eaten as is (bet you can’t eat just one!) or used to make ice-cream sandwiches.
Cream butter with wooden spoon. Gradually add sugars, creaming all the while. Beat in eggs, vanilla and salt. Stir in flour until stiff dough forms (less flour makes crispier cookies). Cover dough and let it chill overnight.
Roll chilled dough between palms of hands into balls that are slightly larger than marbles. Heat a fine-grid Belgian cookie iron. Keep extra dough balls chilled while you bake cookies one or two at a time in the cookie iron until they are golden brown. The amount of time depends on how hot the iron is and how cold and dense the dough is, but it shouldn’t take longer than a minute or two.
Cool cookies on racks. Store or freeze them airtight.
Copyright by Terese Allen