Cookies with Mr. T: Cinnamon Sugar Crisps
Hey cookie lovers! I’m back for another installment of Cookies with Mr. T. Apologies for the lack of posts lately; a month in the Midwest followed by a busy teaching schedule in July kept me pretty busy. But, I am back and ready to take you on another baking adventure. Today we are in 1944, and we are baking Cinnamon Sugar Crisps. This baking experience was one of those rare occasions where the end product turns out nothing like the recipe indicates, but you still end up with something delicious nonetheless.
1/2 cup butter or margarine 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg 2/3 cup dark molasses 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon almond extract 2 1/2 cups pastry flour (as usual, cake flour is fine) 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Cream together the butter or margarine (the editors suggest real butter) with the sugar until the mixture is light and lemon colored. My soon-to-be mother-in-law got me an awesome stand mixer for my birthday, so I put that to good use here. Although it doesn’t say, I’d recommend softening the butter. I didn’t, and it did not mix easily.
2. Once you’ve creamed that, beat the egg (I just did it with a fork) and mix it in. Then, mix the almond and vanilla extracts into the molasses and mix that in. Now, I didn’t have dark molasses, but apparently you can substitute different kinds of molasses for each other. The flavors can be a bit different, but it’s fine. I had unsulphured molasses, and so I used that.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the pastry flour (again, I used cake flour), baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. The recipe called for a “generous” two teaspoons of cinnamon and ½ teaspoon salt, so I just didn’t level off the measuring spoon. In lieu of sifting (I don’t have a sifter), I just used a whisk.
4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter and molasses. I turned on the stand mixer, let it do its thing, and slowly poured in the flour mixture while it was going. In general with the stand mixer, ingredients can get pushed out beyond the reach of the mixers, even as the bowl is rotating, so I just push ingredients back into position with a spatula while it’s mixing.
5. At this point, according to the original recipe, you should have a cookie dough that can be rolled out. I had nothing even close. What I ended up was more like cupcake batter than cookie dough. Fortunately, the friendly editors know about this, and tell you to put the batter/dough in the fridge for at least three hours. I thought that meant I was on the right track and happily bagged up the mixture and put it in the fridge. When I took it out five or so hours later, it was still a battery, sticky mess. There was no way I was going to roll this out. However, the batter/dough/whatever it is was tasty, so I decided to just proceed as I could. I tried to take some out by hand (and then by spoon) and drop it on the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, but that proved difficult as well. Jess suggested I cut the corner of the bag and squeeze the cookie substance out like it was a pastry bag, so that is what I did.
6. The directions say that at this point you could moisten the cookies with milk, water, or fruit juice and then sprinkle them with mixed sugar and cinnamon. The gooiness of what I had meant I didn’t need to wet them, but I did sprinkle some sugar on them.
7. Put the cookies into an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. The directions say 10-12 minutes, but since what I had was very different, I just kept an eye on them and took them out when they looked done. I didn’t time it exactly, but it actually was around 10-12 minutes.
8. As you can see, what came out of the oven was pretty sad and deformed looking. I let them cool a bit, and then Jess and I dug in.
Turns out, they were actually pretty tasty. The accompanying picture in the recipe book showed small, flat, crispy cookies, but the cookies I ended up with were big and soft. The smaller ones ended with varying degrees of burnt on the bottoms, but the bigger ones were fine. I ended up throwing out two of the smaller ones for just this reason, and then Jess and I may or may not have finished the remaining ones immediately. So, if a recipe ever doesn't turn out as planned, don't freak out, because you may still end up with something pretty delicious.