It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees…
But I promised you cookies and, for the sake of a jolly old guy in a red suit, cookies you shall get.
Classic Christmas cookies – cut-out sugar cookies piped with royal icing, usually – are fun to make and nice to look at (especially these. And these), but sometimes they’re, um… annoying. And before you gasp and yell “blasphemy!” I should tell you that I’m Jewish, so, you know. That’s already sort of a done deal.
I love a good classic Christmas cookie, but a good classic Christmas cookie takes time and patience. The mixing, the rolling, the chilling, the baking, the cooling. Then the mixing of the royal icing and the coloring and the piping and the flooding and then, quite importantly, the drying. Only then can you bite the head off an unsuspecting snowman.
Chewy Holiday Spiced Snickerdoodles
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1.5 cups sugar, plus extra (about 1/4 cup extra) for rolling
- 3 oz cream cheese, cut into small pieces
- 6 tbsp butter, melted
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon,
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
Combine the 1.5 cups sugar and the cream cheese in a large bowl, then pour the warm butter on top and whisk to combine. The mixture will be slightly lumpy. Whisk in the oil until combined, and then add the egg, milk and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture all at once, and beat gently until the dough forms.
Using a spoon or an ice cream scoop, portion out the dough by the heaping tablespoon, and roll gently into balls. Put some sugar in a shallow bowl (about 1/4 cup) and stir in the spices. Roll each dough ball in the spice/sugar mixture, and place on a baking sheet, evenly spaced. Gently press each ball of dough with your hand or the back of a drinking glass to flatten slightly. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are just set and the cookies look slightly cracked. If you can’t decide if they’re done, take the cookies out of the oven. In the case of these chewy delights, underbaked is better than over.
Serve with a tall glass of milk for Santa, and maybe a side of carrots for Rudolph et al.