In case you haven't picked it up by now, I'm kind of lazy. I applaud the return to simplicity but really all that means is that I don't want to put out a ton of effort when I bake or cook. I like things that are easy to make (but tasty), and I'll sacrifice presentation for convenience (unless I'm going to serve it to guests or something). Now that I've been baking and blogging for about 3/4 of a year, I realize that it's because I am so painfully slow when I bake and cook (and maybe even slower when writing my posts?!). When recipes include an estimated time to completion, without fail, I exceed that time period. I'm not even referring to Rachel Ray's recipes, which, as we know, take more than 30 minutes (I'm not docking her, I know few who can make a "real" full meal in under 30 minutes).
I can't really pinpoint what I'm doing inefficiently--although I do try to keep things tidy while I bake because I don't like to make a mess. Prep time (not including baking time) for something like chocolate chip cookies is rarely half an hour, as quoted. If I were to undertake a slightly more elaborate endeavor, say a chocolate cake with frosting, I could easily spend half a day in the kitchen. Making something like frosted cut-out cookies becomes a whole day affair.
For this reason, I love today's recipe (actually, what I mean is, I love the cookies you can make from this recipe). Again, it's "simple" but so appealing. Cinnamon and sugar is always a winning combination in my book (think cinnamon rolls or one of my favorite sugary cereals, Cinnamon Toast Crunch!). Plus I've been reading studies that cinnamon helps lower blood sugar levels, so these cookies can't be that bad for you (don't believe it). The recipe is from Sherry Yard, again, and it has an old-fashioned flair to it because it uses cream of tartar and baking soda, which predates the concept of baking powder. With prep time coming in at under 30 minutes, this will be a recipe I'll come back to in a pinch when I'm craving something sweet.
Adapted from Sherry Yard's The Secrets of Baking
Makes about 2-1/2 dozen cookies
1. Sift together the following in a bowl, then set aside:
- 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. cream of tartar
2. Using a mixer on medium, cream until color becomes lighter:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut in 1 inch cubes
3. On medium speed, mix in until smooth:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/8 t. salt
- 1-1/2 t. vanilla
4. Scrape down the side of the mixing bowl, then fully incorporate (but don't over mix):
- 1 large egg
5. Add in the flour mixture from #1, mixing on low, until dough is even. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees, and arrange the rack to the lower third of the oven. Line two cookies sheets with parchment paper.
7. In a small bowl, mix together by hand:
- 1 T. cinnamon
- 2-1/2 T. sugar
8. Removing the dough from the refrigerator, roll the dough into one-inch balls. Coat each ball with the cinnamon and sugar mixture from #7. Place each ball about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
9. Bake each sheet individually for approximately 13 minutes. Cookies should be dry on the outside.
10. Allow the cookies to cool for about 10 minutes, then serve (or save some to store).