2006-10-14

Recipe: Spice Cookies

I don't cook much, but I love to bake. Over the fall and winter I'll make cookies, cakes, rolls, bread, and so on, from scratch. It appeals to the mad scientist in me. I also like making pancakes and French toast (not really baking) for breakfast.

I made these spice cookies today. They are light and soft yet firm, not chewy, not too sweet, and very tasty. I know adults like them. I haven't tried them out on kids yet.

This is a large batch; it makes 60-70 2" wide cookies. You could cut this recipe in half.

Dry Ingredients:
  • 2 & 1/2 Cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground spices
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Wet (Batter) Ingredients:
  • 1 & 1/2 Cups (3 sticks) sweet (unsalted) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Sift the dry ingredients together to remove any lumps and mix them thoroughly and set aside.

  3. In a mixer, cream the butter until it's fluffy and has a light color.

  4. Gradually add the brown and regular (refined) sugar. Cream the sugars and butter together until uniform in color.

  5. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each one.

  6. Add the vanilla extract.

  7. Scrape down the bowl and blades and mix thoroughly. The batter should be light and fluffy.

  8. Add the dry ingredients gradually, mixing thoroughly.

    The result should be a light, fluffy, wet, soft dough which holds soft peaks. If the dough is too wet to hold a peak, add more flour, no more than 1/4 Cup at a time. If the dough is too dry and stiff, add a little liquid (water or milk). Mix thoroughly after each addition, until the dough has the desired consistency.

  9. Place teaspoons of dough on a cookie sheet. (A releasing ice cream scoop is the best tool for this.) Leave enough room for the cookies to spread. (Try setting them up 4x3 for the first sheet, so you can see how they spread.)

  10. Bake the cookies for no more than ten minutes.

    Keep an eye on them. The cookies will spread (because of the butter and sugar) and rise slightly (because of the baking powder and the air you whipped into them). When the texture of the tops of the cookies changes from glossy and shiny to matte and dull, or If the edges start to brown, they're done.

    If the bottoms of the cookies brown, or even burn, before the tops have set, turn the oven down -25 F.

  11. When the cookies are done, remove the tray to cool for a few minutes, until the cookies firm up, then remove them to a separate cooling rack. If you leave the cookies on the sheets, the bottoms will get soggy.
Possible substitutions:
  • You could use whole wheat flour for part or all of the cake flour. If so, be sure to sift several times.
  • The spices can be anything you like: allspice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg (a little goes a long way!), cloves. Today, I used the same commercial mulling spice blend, finely ground, which I used in the squash and pear soup last weekend.
  • You could omit the vanilla extract, or use a different extract, such as lemon, orange, or almond.
  • You can omit or reduce the salt.

2 comments:

lisa said...

Thanks for the yummy-sounding recipe! I will try it this week and report back, as I plan to sub wheat flour...

Xris said...

Lisa: Let me know how it turns out!

I usually only bake with whole wheat flour. But I've learned, through some failed "experiments," that different flours have radically different qualities. The first time I do a recipe I need to follow it exactly, then I can experiment. In this one, I hedged by describing the desired consistency of the dough and providing instructions on how to adjust it by adding more flour or liquid, so I think you'll do fine.