Cinnamon Roll Pinwheel

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: about 6 dozen cookies
Recipe: 106/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 29

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     During the holidays I made another recipe to go with the banana walnut bread: cinnamon pinwheel cookies. Although the recipe seemed simple enough and did not require uncommon ingredients, it was a complete disaster. Now I’m not sure if it’s because I have never done cookies with a filling that need to be rolled like that before, but it was a big fiasco. As I prepared the dough, it was not coming together at all. It was much too dry. I had to add some whipping cream to make sure that it would form a ball. Then, the instruction for the filling was not as clear as I was expecting. Although the recipe says to divide the dough into two balls, then take one ball of dough and roll it out to the specified dimensions, the quantity of the ingredients for the filling seems to be halved. The recipes says to mix all the ingredients of the filling together and spread it out on the rolled dough. However, at this point we have only rolled out one. So either the prepared filling mixture has to be divided amongst the two rolled doughs, or the filling recipe needs to be doubled. When put in the oven, the cookies more than doubled in size and the filling was oozing out everywhere. It seems that I didn’t roll the filled dough tight enough.

       I am assuming that the fact that I added whipping cream to make the dough come together made it too loose and that is why it expanded so much in the oven, because it was not the right consistency. But I really don’t see how I could have done otherwise.  Also, if there was too much filling in between the layers of dough it is possible that did not help maintain the structure of the cookies. The cookies still taste good, but they are crunchy and not very pretty. I will definitely have to try this recipe again!

Ingredients for cookie dough:

  • 2 cups + 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cool but not cold, cut in pieces
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt to combine. Note: alternatively, electric beaters could be used.
  2. Add the butter and pulse or blend until the dough is a rough, crumble texture.
  3. Add the whipping cream and pulse or blend until the dough comes together.
  4. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, wrap them in plastic wrap and set aside while preparing the filling. Note: do not refrigerate the dough.
  5. For the filling, stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of the dough into an 8 by 12-inch rectangle. Spread the filling evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Roll up the cookie dough in the style of cinnamon rolls, starting at the longer side. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Wrap each roll of filled dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  8. Unwrap and slice the cookie rolls into ¼ inch (6 mm) slices, and lay the cookies 1 inch apart on the baking trays,
  9. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, until they barely start to turn golden. Cool the cookies completely on the trays before removing.

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Valerie

Molasses Cookies

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: about 30 small or 20 large cookies
Recipe: 29/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 20

Molasses cookies

     I have said this about a couple of desserts thus far, but true and honest, I have never really like molasses cookies. Actually, I don’t think I ever really tried anything with molasses (even by itself!), but it was always something that looked highly unappealing to me. However, I did this recipe because I wanted to make cookies and, quite simply, I hadn’t made these ones yet. As I was preparing to make them, my roommate who was passing by asked what I was doing and ensuing my answer exclaimed that she loves molasses cookies. So I figured that at least one of us would eat them. As I opened the oven to take out the cookies, I was already disappointed. The cookies had expanded more than I thought an unbaked cookie could expand. They were pretty much all joined together. For future reference, I will spoon out a teaspoon of cookie dough on the baking sheet as opposed to a tablespoon. After I let them cool down, I tasted one and was neither surprised nor disappointed. Since I already knew that I didn’t like molasses cookies, I found them to be “okay”. Which is more than I can say for most molasses cookies I’ve tried.

   However, the next day my trusty food tester and roommate declared that these cookies are succulent and delicious. Although she did say that these have more ground ginger than what she is used to, she said that they taste like a mix of other molasses cookies and gingerbread cake! After she commented that she had to restrain herself from eating all of them, I thought one of two things: 1) She really loves molasses cookies or 2) Maybe I misjudged these cookies. Being a scientific, I had no choice but to verify my initial conclusion. I had another cookie and, to my great surprise and pleasure, I really enjoyed it. I am not generally someone that will like something just because someone else likes it, so I think I really do like them after that first time. Actually, I must admit that I had a couple since then. They are moist, rich and indeed do taste a bit like gingerbread cake! The special touch of the sugar on the surface of the cookies is delightful. Good job, food tester! Due to my friend I was  reminded of a lesson I once learned: give new foods a second chance!

Ingredients:

  • 1  recipe Basic Brown Sugar Dough
  • 1/4 cup fancy molasses
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup sugar (for rolling cookies)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Follow step 1 of the basic brown sugar cookie dough recipe. Add the molasses and stir to combine.
  3. Follow step 2 of the cookie dough recipe.
  4. Continue with step 3, but add the spices (ginger, cinnamon and cloves) with the flour, whisking well to blend the ingredients.
  5. Finish the recipe by doing step 4.
  6. Drop a teaspoon of cookie dough in the sugar and roll them to coat the surface. Place them on the lined baking sheets, leaving 1  1/2 inches in between each cookie. For larger cookies, spoon out a tablespoon of dough.
  7. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool the cookies for 10 minutes before moving to a baking tray to cool down.

Valerie