Ease into fall baking with these lovely little cookies with a touch of cinnamon. Cut them into stars, hearts, rounds or other shapes. The dough is soft so you will have to work with a portion of it at a time, refrigerating the rest until ready to roll. I also suggest to roll it between two layers of parchment paper, the dough behaves nicely sandwich in the layers of parchment and you have less to clean later. If you don’t feel like rolling dough at all (it happens), you can roll small chunks of dough between your palms into little balls, flatten them slightly, dip in cinnamon sugar and bake them like that. I always make a few of these in every batch.
These cookies are buttery and melt in your mouth, just the way I like them. I brush some of them with a stroke of gold or silver leaf or a few edible gold stars to make them extra chic. They bake in minutes so watch the oven carefully and as soon as they begin to turn golden around the edges remove them from the oven and let them cool. Also: place a silicon sheet on the cookie sheet, cover that with foil and bake them this way. It protects the bottom of the cookies from browning too fast.
Most cookie recipes I find are just too large, producing so many cookies they inevitably end up you know where. I prefer recipes yielding smaller number of cookies so we can get through them and have reason to make another batch of something soon. Do you think cookie making is a dying art? Did it move out of the way yielding to other desserts and easy snacks like chocolate bars? I have an appreciation for these little dainties and like having some on hand to enjoy with a cup of tea or munch on when I am looking for something sweet.
When baking cookies, as in all other cooking really, it’s important to be organized. The French (who else?) have the term mis en place, or put in place. It means that before you begin cooking or baking you read the recipe, prepare all the ingredients required and have them ready to grab when needed. You don’t want to stop the mixer in the middle of mixing and spend five minutes looking for the vanilla or bringing eggs or butter to room temperature. Not reading the recipe in advance and having everything ready is the first reason why things may not turn out. Mis en place makes life in the kitchen much easier but is especially important in baking.
If you follow this blog you know that I like simplicity. Not too many ingredients, no hard to find “stuff” (most of the time), no complicated cooking methods. I run a home kitchen, not a professional one, and I like to cook foods that are not too labour intensive and do not require too much “handling”. That’s the role of restaurant chefs. But, I like things to look beautiful and of course to taste good and offer something new to introduce to your palate. It’s fine to have the “tried and true” but if you don’t introduce new things how will your grow? I asked my daughter once if she had tasted something, I forget what it was, and she said “of course Mom, I am your daughter”. It’s seems I have done my job at least in this department. Just like you educate your mind, so you need to educate your palate. It prevents you from becoming “one dimensional”, opens your mind to differences and who knows, you may even find something you like.
With that lecture done, on to the recipe:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract (pure)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Cream butter in a mixer, you can use hand held for this.
Add sugar and salt and beat until sugar granules dissolve in the butter (more or less)
Add the egg and continue beating to incorporate and make a smooth batter.
Add the vanilla and mix to blend.
Add the flour and mix only until blended on medium speed, scraping sides of the bowl with spatula.
Scoop the dough up into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Prepare two baking sheets with silicon liners. Top with foil and lightly spray the foil with non stick spray.
Cut two sheets of parchment paper to roll the dough between.
Take the dough out of the fridge and cut in half. Place one half back in the fridge. You will work with one half of the dough at a time.
Place the dough on one parchment. Cover with the second parchment sheet and gently roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Don’t press down on the dough, just allow the weight of the rolling pin to guide you. You can go a little thicker if it’s more comfortable.
Peel off the top parchment and cut the dough into desired shapes.
Gather the dough scraps into a disk, not handling it too much, and refrigerate for a few minutes before rolling out again.
Gently transfer the cut cookies onto the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Place in a preheated 350℉ oven.
Bake for about 10 minutes until edges just begin to colour. Watch it carefully, once the cookies begin to colour they can brown very quickly. These cookies should be light coloured.
Remove from the oven and let rest a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
Proceed with remaining dough until all cookies are done.
For the gold sprinkles: I wait until the cookies have cooled, then I place a heap of sprinkles on the counter and using a smal brush I brush a stroke of water on the cookies and press that part onto the heap of gold stars. They will stick to the wet part. You can also sprinkle them over the wet area if that works better for you. Sometimes I use gold or silver leaf and brush a small piece onto the cookies while they are still warm.