Now that the worst of the summer heat and humidity appear to be behind us, let’s start baking.
Cooler nights and students’ return to school make the idea of baking cookies, brownies, cakes, muffins and pies more inviting. No one wants to heat up the oven when it’s 90 degrees outside. But this is the perfect time of year to bring out the butter and sugar and create something for lunchboxes and snacking.
While December is the top cookie-baking month of the year, homemade cookies are appreciated just about any time. Pretty much everyone knows how to whip up a batch of crowd-pleasing chocolate chip cookies by following the recipe on the bag. Nestle is also successful with its white chip chocolate cookies featuring chocolate batter and white chips. The recipes are pretty much the same, but the batter for white chips cookies is a fudgy, chocolate-lover’s delight.
Cut-out cookies, a winter holiday favorite, are tasty year round, minus the holiday theme. Any flower, circle or animal cutter will work fine; add a sprinkle of sugar on top for a simple, no-too-sweet cookie. Icebox cookies, which you chill in a roll then slice, also are easy to make.
Molasses cookies and snickerdoodlers are old-fashioned favorites, as are humble hermits and spritz. You can make fancy filled cookies if you like, but I prefer to save those for special events and holiday cookie platters. And while holiday baking can be stressful as you try to make as many cookies as you can, making a single batch for family, friends or yourself is quick and relaxing.
Kingarthurbaking.com offers dozens of cookie recipes including some that are gluten free. This recipe is an easy one without too many ingredients.
8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt*
1. To make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
2. Beat together the butter and sugar until smooth.
3. Add the egg, beating until smooth.
4. Beat in the vanilla, salt, and baking powder.
5. Add the flour, mixing until totally incorporated.
6. To make the coating: Shake together the sugar and cinnamon in a medium-sized zip-top plastic bag.
7. Drop small (1 inch-diameter) balls of dough into the bag; a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here. Roll/toss the cookies in the cinnamon-sugar until they’re completely coated.
8. Space the cookies at least 1½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use a flat-bottom glass to flatten them to about 3/8” thick; they’ll be about 1½ inches in diameter.
9. Bake the cookies for 8 minutes (for soft cookies) to 10 minutes (for crunchier cookies). Remove them from the oven, and cool them on the pan until they’re firm enough to transfer to a rack to cool completely.
*If you use salted butter, decrease the salt to ¼ teaspoon.
2 tablespoons sugar
1 to 1½ teaspoons cinnamon, to taste