Sugar and Spice
Posted by loavesandstitches
It’s that time of year again when I start looking through all my cookbooks and brainstorming with the boys for cookie ideas. I have been wanting to make some cookies for weeks now, but other things seemed to get in the way. You know what I am talking about. All this is to say that making cookies was not a big priority, even though I kept thinking about wanting to make them. So, when a friend contacted me looking for a cookie recipe for a baby shower, I was primed and ready to go. All I needed was a reason to get baking. In the space of two days I made three different batches of cookies.
On the third day, I had to make a trip to the store to restock the butter, sugar, and eggs. Then, I made another batch, which I suspected would be the winner, but I had to make sure.
So, I made them again. You know, just to be sure they were just right and would work for my friend, who had some specific requests for this recipe, which are as follows:
First, they had to be a spice cookie because they are for a baby shower and the baby is a girl. She wanted to be able to write on the label something like, "Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice." Cute, right? But, she didn't want to bake the cookies serve or to give away. What she wanted was a mix that she could put into a mason jar and give out as favors. This presented some more limitations which leads to my next point.
Second, they have to be easy to make. Not everyone likes to make cookies or has the equipment or energy to cream butter and sugar. To make a cookie mix that people will actually want to make, and not just leave sitting on a shelf until they decide to throw it away, the mix has to be basically a dump and stir recipe. This is actually not how most cookie recipes operate, so this part of the recipe took quite a bit of experimenting.
Third, the cookie cannot require any extra ingredients that people are not going to want to buy. Most spice cookies I looked at called for molasses, which is not a pantry item for most people. Me, I try to always have at least four jars on hand at all times of the year because you never know when you will want to make a gingerbread cake. However, I recognize that not everyone is crazy like me and if I were not that way, I know that I would not want to buy a jar of molasses for a recipe that will only want two tablespoons. Then what in the world would I do with the rest of that jar? For this reason, I decided that the recipe must only call for butter and eggs to be added to the mix. Most people have butter and eggs on hand and don’t mind having leftovers of those ingredients hanging around. The secret here is the dark brown sugar, which has molasses in it. In a pinch, you can make it with the light stuff, but it won’t be as rich tasting.
Lastly, the mix has to look good and fit in a pint sized jar. Quarts are a bit big for party favors, especially for this party, which I anticipate will be on the large size. This baby is a highly anticipated one.
Many dozens of cookies later, I finally put together a cookie that met all these requirements and tasted good as well! Of course, then my friend tells me that they aren't going to use the mixes anymore. They are going to just bake a bunch and give them away in cute little bags. This is probably what I would have done as well because it turns out that these cookies are so easy, that it will not a be a chore to make a huge batch of these and give them away. Still, I am glad that I did it because it definitely got my cookie juices flowing. It does make a good cookie mix recipe to give away for the holidays or to just keep on hand for a cookie emergency. Plus, I get to share it with you! Enjoy!
Sugar and Spice Cookies
To package this up in pint sized jars, cut the recipe in half and layer all the dry in gredients in a jar. A wide mouth funnel really helps cut down on the mess if you are doing this. The cookies are rolled in a spiced sugar mixture that I put in a little baggie at the top of the jar. You can get these at just about any craft store. Or, it can be omitted. Also, I cut a piece of parchment to include with the jar because, amazingly, there are still people who have not discovered the joys of parchment. Trust me, your giftee will thank you.
12 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 (10 1/2 ounces) cups dark brown sugar
2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Preheat oven to 350.
Melt the butter in a large microwavable bowl. Let cool until lukewarm. Whisk the eggs into the butter.
Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix with a stiff spoon or hand mixer until there are no lumps or dry spots in the dough.
Whisk the sugar rolling ingredients in a shallow bowl.
Scoop out heaping Tablespoons of dough (about walnut size or ping pong ball sized) and roll between your hands into a ball. Then, roll the dough ball in the sugar and spice mixture until coated.
Place cookies about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.
Bake 12-15 minutes. The cookies should still be slightly puffy in the middle, but look mostly dry.
Cool on pans for at least five minutes and then transfer to racks to cool.
makes 22-30 cookies