I love the holidays, covid or not, because of all the baking! I absolutely adore having a seasonal reason to bake and there’s nothing that cheers me up more than some lovely Christmas cookies. I always make a ton of cookies from different recipes around the holidays and these are the results of my latest experiment! I’m so lucky that this recipe worked out, it’s from the Wall Street Journal and I have NOT had good luck with some of their recipes. This past year, I’ve had a hard time with snicker-doodles and these were a perfect recipe for someone who regularly messes up the more delicate snickerdoodle. I love the spices mixed into the dough for snicker-doodles and this recipe provides the same spices with a bit more of a punch. The article that I got the recipe from described them as Jamaican snicker-doodles but I would describe them more like gingerbread snicker-doodles. They’re hardier cookies and the article recommended shipping these out to relatives as they would hold up better in the shipping process. I would have shipped some out had any made it out of my kitchen! They were so delicious that my family and I ate them all up within the week. I’m excited to make this recipe for many years to come, it’s amazing!
This recipe makes about twenty four cookies and the original recipe recommended doing 3 ounce dough balls for the cookies. I halved that amount to about 1.5 ounces per cookie and found that the smaller size works better for me. 3 ounce cookies would have been too big for my family and I but it may be just the right size for some! The true star of the recipe is the spices but we cannot neglect the hidden hero, cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is a byproduct from wine-making and it’s a chalky powder that winemakers will scrape from their barrels after they’ve removed the wine. Cream of tartar acts as an acid, balancing out the spreading tendency of the sugar and butter, and keeps the cookie together in the baking process. If a recipe calls for cream of tartar, if you don’t have any, go get some. It’s not worth it to try and substitute another acid like lemon juice, it just doesn’t work right. I am speaking from personal experience because I attempted to substitute lemon juice in several batches of snicker-doodles and they spread horrifically. I had to scrape the cookies off the baking tray and was very distraught. But we all fail during baking and I’m taking advantage of this never ending year to try and branch out in my baking despite the potential for failure. So I hope that you have some cream of tartar at home and can make these cookies for yourself and your family this holiday season! Happy baking!
Bulla Cookie Recipe
For the Dough
330 grams (2 3/4 cup) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
297 grams (1 1/2 cup) granulated sugar
54 grams (1/4 cup) light brown sugar (if using cups, pack the sugar down)
2 large eggs
For the Sugar Topping
99 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
To make the dough, first combine the dry ingredients (from flour down to ground pepper). Mix well with a fork.
Beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes in a mixer and longer by hand. Scrape the bowl and mix again for less than a minute. Beat in eggs one at a time until mixed completely.
Add in dry ingredients in one or two additions to the butter/sugar mix. Mix on low until just incorporated, try not to over mix.
Scoop out dough, about 1.5 oz each, and roll into a ball. Grease several containers and place the dough inside. Cover and refrigerate at least 3-4 hours, ideally chilling overnight. The dough can also be frozen at this stage as well and it keeps for 3 months in the freezer.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 and make the sugar topping by combining all the ingredients. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Roll cookies in sugar topping and make sure they are completely coated. Place on sheets with at least 2 or 3 inches in between cookies and bake 10-14 minutes. (If your oven runs cold, bake 14 minutes) If baking from frozen, bake an additional 2-3 minutes but be sure to watch the cookies to prevent them burning.
Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack and enjoy! They stay good for 5 days in a airtight container.
So these were made on the same week as my catastrophic blue soup. It was a week that felt like nothing would go right for me in the kitchen but I kept going! These cookies were absolutely scrumptious and if they had stayed in my kitchen, I may have devoured the lot. These cookies are warm and inviting with a little glaze on top to tickle the tastebuds. It hasn’t really felt like fall much here in Baltimore with the heat, but compared to CA it’s a veritable igloo over here! This recipe is from the Los Angeles Times Food section from about a month ago that I saved until I needed a little dose of fall.
So even though they turned out delicious in the end, there were some technical issues to be aware of as you try this recipe! I did not have enough butter on hand when I was making the recipe and substituted in some margarine which worked well. However, I did microwave the butter briefly because I hadn’t left it out long enough to soften. The microwaving made the margarine too soft and while I was able to mix the cookies up just fine, the batter was much softer than I would have liked. Before I scooped it, I froze the dough for twenty minutes which is good practice whenever you have really slack or soft cookie dough. Once baked, the cookies tasted fine but went soft pretty quickly. This recipe calls for a glaze which can add moisture to the cookies. If you prefer crunchier cookies, bake for an addition minute or two but watch carefully. The high sugar content from the brown sugar and maple syrup means that these cookies can catch or burn in the oven really quickly. A note on the glaze, mine wasn’t particularly white colored but to make a more solid glaze, you can add teaspoons of powdered sugar until it reaches the appropriate consistency and color that you prefer. I hope you enjoy and be sure to check out the Lost Angeles Times Food section on Sundays; it’s definitely one of my favorite parts of the newspaper and the writers work really hard on perfecting these recipes!
Brown Sugar and Maple Cookie Recipe
For the Cookie:
240 grams (2 cups) All Purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
170 grams (3/4 cup) softened unsalted butter
213 grams (1 cup) packed dark brown sugar (light is fine as well)
78 grams (1/4 cup) pure maple syrup
1 large egg, room temp
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Glaze
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
1 Tablespoon Water
1/2 cup packed powdered sugar
Heat the oven to 375F and line 3 cookie sheets (I used two and rotated their use but they are supposed to cook a little extra on the sheets once out of the oven so try to have 3)
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
In a separate, larger bowl, beat together the softened butter and brown sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the syrup and beat until incorporated then beat in the egg and vanilla extract until well-blended.
Add flour mix and fold in gently until no trace of flour remains. If your dough seems really slack at this point, freeze for 10-20 minutes or until it hardens enough to scoop
Using a tablespoon measuring tool or a tablespoon cookie scoop, drop dough onto the sheets with at least 2 inches of space around each cookie. They will spread in the oven.
Bake each sheet for 12 minutes or until golden dark brown. Cool completely on the cookie sheets on wire racks.
In a small bowl, stir together the glaze ingredients. Taste and add additional salt as needed. Once cookies are completely cool, drizzle the glaze on top. Try to wait to eat them until the glaze hardens on the cookies.
So these cookies owe their inspiration to my lovely friend, Hannah. We were video chatting the other day and she talked about all the lovely things that she’s been making with her gluten free sourdough starter! It put me in the mood to make something but I had less than an hour before my next class so it had to be something quick. Hannah suggested banana bread, a quarantine classic, but I’m embarrassingly behind on my grocery shopping and didn’t have much around. I didn’t set out to make a gluten-free recipe but it was the easiest and quickest with the ingredients I had available. The recipe has five ingredients, most of which you’ll probably have in your pantry. I always have almond flour around because I make macarons frequently but it’s not a hard ingredient to find in most grocery stores.
Now for the tips and tricks with this recipe! This made about 17 bite size cookies and I had to hold myself back from eating most of them! The cookies aren’t very big and the batch size is small so feel free to scale up the recipe to fit your needs. However, I wouldn’t adjust the size of the cookies. Even with using melted butter, these cookies are VERY short/crumbly. This is due to the use of almond flour and makes a very easy crumbly cookie. If they were made any larger, they would probably collapse under their own weight when picked up. The cross-hatching is also super easy to do with a fork, no special equipment required! This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour website and on it, they have several variations for the flavor of the cookie including chocolate/pistachio and maple/pecan. I would start with the basic recipe and expand on that! Even if you wanted to try all the different flavor variations, it wouldn’t take more than an afternoon. So get busy and get baking!
Almond Flour Cookie Recipe
96 grams (1 cup) almond flour
43 grams (3 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature or softened
21 grams (3 tablespoons) powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet.
Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until a cohesive dough forms.
Scoop out 1 inch balls of dough using a teaspoon cookie scoop and arrange on the sheet. Leave out an inch and a half of room between dough balls.
Use a fork to flatten each cookie, making a cross hatch design on top.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until they turn light brown on top (My oven took about 12 minutes)
Remove and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer them to a rack to completely cool before eating.