I love exploring different flavours and recipes from around the world. I like getting a taste (literally) for other cultures and using their range of spices rather than my own comfort-zone ones.
I came across this recipe in the ‘Cake Days’ Hummingbird Bakery book this afternoon I generally never go through this book as I don’t like the lay out of the sections and how they chop and change between types of baking. But I was feeling a little Christmassy (thanks to my new Yankee candle that’s been burning for about three days, I never thought Christmas Eve could smell so good!) so I flipped through to try and find some yule-themed baking.
That’s another thing I love – Christmas baking. Every year my mum and I make an iced Christmas cake, and then we make mince pies, peppermint brownies/cupcakes, meringues to use in Eton Mess and my mum makes the most amazing Gingerbread Cake that I’ve ever tasted – it’s so soft and light but still full of flavours of Christmas. Since I’ve gotten so into baking over the last year and have finally embraced that it’s going to be my future I’m wanting to increase my seasonal repertoire – I want to try breads, gingerbread men (my only previous attempts stuck to the work surface) and these cookies will definitely be added to the list.
These cookies are German…maybe, but they might also be from the New England region of America – no one really knows. They sound kind of German, but New England has a tradition of using whimsical names for their cookies. It doesn’t matter to me, they’re packed full of cinnamon and taste incredible.
The rolling in the cinnamon sugar is definitely the part that brings out the flavours, without it the cookie wouldn’t have enough flavour. When they’ve been baked, they get a gorgeous crisp coating and are covered in cinnamon that melts when they touch your tongue. They’re just the right size to eat with a cup of coffee and the crunchy texture reminds me a little of biscotti. They’d be great as a nibble with a hot drink on Christmas day.
What bakes do you make over Christmas? Are there any more you’ll be trying this year?
Recipe adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days book
(makes about 30 small cookies)
For the dough:
- 60g softened butter
- 160g caster sugar
- ¼ tsp. vanilla bean paste
- 1 egg
- 240g plain flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/3 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
For the coating:
- 1 ½ tbsp. caster sugar
- 1 tbsp. cinnamon
- Using beaters, mix together the butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste. When it begins to look like a sandy texture, add the egg until the mixture is smooth and the egg is completely incorporated.
- Sift the remaining ingredients into a separate bowl. Add the flour mix into the wet ingredients in three batches, mixing well between so it is incorporated. When the last batch has been mixed in use your hands to bind the mix into soft dough. Leave the ball of dough in the bowl, cover in cling film and refrigerate for 40 minutes.
- While the dough is cooling and firming, preheat the oven to 160°c (fan oven) and line three baking trays with greaseproof paper. Also, mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl for rolling.
- When cooled, pinch small amounts off of the dough, about the size of a walnut, and briefly roll in your hand to form a ball. Roll these balls in the cinnamon sugar mix until they are completely covered and place six evenly on each baking tray (I have HUGE baking trays to could place more – hence the quantity)
- Bake in the oven for around 14 minutes or until they are lightly golden on top but still feel a bit soft to the touch. Remove and allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the trays before transferring to a cooling rack. Enjoy!