Cinnamon Sugar Cutout Cookies

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies
Recipe: 62/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 49

Cinnamon cookies

     It has been way too long that I have baked anything. I am not sure why – perhaps time just passed without my noticing it. Well thankfully I realized this aberrance and made these cute cinnamon cookies today. They are simple to make yet make for a sweet tasty snack. I will post more recipes in the common week. Simply put, I need to get back to baking!

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white

Directions:

  1. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat together the butter and 2/3 cup sugar until the mixture is fluffy and homogenous.
  2. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Add this to the butter mixture and combine until the dough comes together.
  4. Shape the dough into 2 discs, then wrap them in plastic wrap. Rest the dough for 20 minutes at room temperature.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll the first disc to about 1/4 inch thick. Use a 2  1/2 inch round cookie cutter (or any desired shape) and cut out the cookies. Use a spatula to life the cookies and place them on the baking tray, leaving a one inch gap between each cookie. Repeat this with the second disc. Note: any scraps can be re-rolled after they have rested for 15 minutes.
  7. Whisk the egg white to loosen it and brush it over the cookies.
  8. Stir the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon, and sprinkle this over the cookies.
  9. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, just until the edges turn slightly golden. Cool the cookies on the tray before removing.

Valerie

Candied Citrus Peel

Frosting, sauces and garnishes

Yield: about 1  1/2 cups
Recipe: 59/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 321

Candied Orange

   Tis the season to… bake! In view of the holiday season I made a fruitcake for my dad (recipe to come), he just loves them during this time of year! To do so I needed candied orange. I had never done any similar garnishes, and I very happy with the simplicity of the recipe. It’s pretty much fool-proof. These candied orange peels are quite good, actually! Pleasantly sweet and soft. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole oranges (alternatively, one can use lemons)
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Using a small paring knife, make a circle on the top and bottom of each fruit. Score down the citrus in 4-6 places and gently remove the peel. Make sure to remove any excess of white membrane and cut the peel into julienne strips.
  2. Bring a small pot of water up to a boil and add the citrus peel. Let the peel boil for 1 minute, then drain away the water. Note: This step is important to remove some bitterness from the peel. 
  3. Bring the sugar and 1 cup water to a simmer and add the citrus peel. Gently simmer the peel until it becomes translucent, approximately 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the citrus cool in the syrup.
  4. Strain out the peel (you can reserve the syrup for other uses) and spread it out on a parchment paper-lined baking tray to dry a little. Store the peel in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes from Anna:

  • Do not refrigerate the citrus peel.
  • The reserved syrup can be used to poach pears, sweeten tea or to brush over a pound cake, for instance.

Valerie

Special Sticky Buns

Breads, Muffins and Scones

Yield: 6 large buns
Recipe: 51/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 231

DSC_4318

     Like many other desserts from Anna’s cookbook, I had never made “sticky buns” or, as we called it in French, brioches. With anything else that I had never done before, I thought that sticky buns were very complicated to do. It is not so! This recipe was so well-explained that even a novice like me was able to do it. My only problem, I realized later, is that I used active dry yeast instead of instant yeast. I naively thought that they are the same thing. Albeit the sticky buns I obtained were heavenly, sweet and sticky, the dough was very elastic. When I was rolling the dough to contain the cream cheese goodness, it was very hard to manage. Consequently, the buns I obtained were not circular but were rather deformed. The buns I obtained were just as scrumptious, I am sure! These are definitely in my top 5 desserts done so far. You will have to exert incredible self control in order to not eat them all in one sitting, so good luck! 

Ingredients for dough:

  • 3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1/2 package (4 oz or 125 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ingredients for glaze:

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Directions:

  1. To prepare the dough, stir together the milk, yeast, sugar and egg in a stand mixer to blend.
  2. Add the flour, salt and nutmeg. With the stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment (alternatively, you can use a bowl and a wooden spoon), mix well until the dough is evenly blended.
  3. Add in the butter, mixing until homogenous.
  4. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set it on the counter to rise for about 2 hours, until it is about 1  1/2 times its original size.
  5. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. To do so, beat the cream cheese and butter together using a hand or stand mixer. Beat in the brown sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon, making sure to mix well.
  6. Grease an 8-inch square pan. Turn out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle of about 15 inches by 10 inches (38 x 25 cm).
  7. Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the dough and roll it up from the long side. Slice into 6 equal buns and arrange them in the prepared pan. Cover the pan with a towel and let sit for 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the buns and bake them for 25-30 minutes, until they are evenly browned. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  9. For the glaze, whisk together the icing sugar and milk. Use a fork to drizzle the glaze over the sticky buns. These are best enjoyed warm out of the oven!

DSC_4314

Valerie

Toffee Softies

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies
Recipe: 43/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 23

DSC_3947

     I realized that it had been a while since I had made cookies. So I made these! These cookies quite resemble,  in appearance at least, the Salted Orange Toffee Slices that I made at the beginning of this blog, but they are nonetheless different in taste. Although this recipe was just as simple to follow, these cookies were softer and more chewy than their predecessor, with a predominant taste of butter, sugar and melt-in-your-mouth toffee bits. It also does not have the hint of orange that characterizes the other type of cookies. I find these “toffee softies” (what a cute name for a cookie!) delicious, buttery and they have just the right amount of toffee bits. They are sure to be eaten quite rapidly, so enjoy them while you can! 

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Follow steps 1 to 5 of the Basic White Sugar Cookie Dough recipe.
  3. Add  the toffee bits to the cookie dough and stir well to combine.
  4. Place the turbinado sugar in a small bowl. Using two tablespoons, drop in a tablespoon of cookie dough at a time in the sugar. Roll the dough in the sugar to form a ball and coat with sugar, then place on the baking sheet. Separate each  dough ball by 1  1/2 inches. Just before baking, gently press the cookie with your palm to flatten them.
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned at the bottom. Cool for a couple of minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container.

 

Notes from Anna:

  • If you do not have turbinado sugar, you can use regular granulated sugar instead to achieve a similar crunchy exterior.

DSC_3955

Valerie

Snickerdoodles

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: 2 to 3 dozen cookies
Recipe: 34/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 23

Snickerdoodles

     I will freely admit that I never had a snickerdoodle cookie. Not only that, but I never really knew what they were. I guess I never bothered to look it up. However, following a small pause in my usually very frequent baking, I felt like making cookies that were new to me and I thus made these. Unbeknownst to me during all this time is that snickerdoodles are actually soft and chewy, sugary and sweet, melt-in-your-mouth cookies! How no one ever told me is a mystery. They are very simple to make but taste oh so delicious! I am glad that I now know what snickerdoodles are, and you should too.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Follow the steps to the Basic White Sugar Cookie Dough recipe.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and ground cinnamon.
  4. Spoon out a tablespoon of the cookie dough, form a rough ball with your hands and drop it into the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Roll the dough ball in the mixture to cover the entire surface. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. Press down on the dough balls with your fingers to flatten the cookies.
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes, just until the bottom of each cookie is a light brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes prior to transferring to a rack to cool down completely.

Valerie