12 Days of Cookies
– Day 2 –
I first tried this recipe nearly 15 years ago while visiting family in Illinois. My Aunt Rosie is an amazing cook, and upon our arrival she had these cookies freshly baked and ready for our consumption. I was in the midst of attending culinary school and was learning all these fancy new recipes, yet this simple shortbread cookie completely blew me away. I couldn’t get enough of them, and I insisted I have the recipe before our departure!
The one thing that strikes me as kind of funny is how this cookie strongly resembles a potato slice. I mean, doesn’t it look like little potato slices? Maybe it’s just me. ;-)
I even took a batch of these to work recently, along with 3 other types of cookies, and a co-worker stopped me in the hallway and said, “Oh man, those little cookies that look like potatoes? Those were my favorite!!” I laughed because at least I wasn’t the only person that saw the potato resemblance. :)
These cookies are ridiculously easy to make, they don’t require any special ingredients or equipment and they can be prepared in very little time. They have this wonderfully tender crumb, and the outer edge has this nice, crispy cinnamon sugar crust. I promise that you’ll impress any guests you serve these to, and they’ll be asking for the recipe just like I did!
The original recipe calls for the ingredients to be combined with a pastry cutter (see example here), but I’ve found it much easier to use a food processor. The ingredients are combined together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. The egg yolk is then added and the mixture is pulsed until it just starts to form a ball. If you don’t have a food processor, simply combine all ingredients except the yolk using either a pastry cutter, 2 forks or your fingers (like pie dough). Then add the egg and mix around with your hands until it comes together in a loose ball.
The ball is then split into two pieces and each piece is shaped into a log. A beaten egg white is brushed on the logs, and then they’re rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture. The dough needs to be chilled for at least an hour, and then the cookies are simply sliced and baked. This is a great recipe that can be made ahead of time, and cookies can be baked as needed. I’ve frozen the dough before and then thawed, sliced and baked with perfect results.
Here are a few pictures that will provide you with a visual step-by-step guide to making these cookies:
One final note is that you may notice I don’t use a pastry brush to apply the egg whites, but that’s because I tend to find it easier to just use my hands. It’s a bit messier that way, but you really want to ensure the log is completely coated in egg white so the cinnamon sugar mixture will stick. It’s a bit of a funny feeling, but just go with the flow. Cooking is all about having fun, using your hands and sometimes getting dirty! :)
Cinnamon Rolled Cakes
Adapted from my Aunt Rosie :)
Yields: 2 1/2 dozen
2 1/4 cups all-purpose four
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter, cold and cubed
1 large egg, separated
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1. Mix flour and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse the mixture a few times until it resembles coarse meal. Add the egg yolk and pulse a few more times, or just until the mixture begins to take form.
2. Dump the mixture onto a very lightly floured surface and blend the dough with your hands until it starts to form a ball. This might take 30 seconds to a minute to come together once your hands warm the dough a bit. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and form each piece into a log, approximately 8″ long and 1 1/2″ in diameter.
3. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside. Put the 1 egg white in another small bowl, add a dash of salt and whisk for a few seconds with a fork. (Egg whites, otherwise known as albumen, contain protein which causes the egg white to have its lumpy form. Adding a little salt to the egg white helps to break down the albumen and allow for a more even coating. This is also helpful when making an egg wash for pie crusts, bread, etc.)
4. Place a single log on a piece of waxed or parchment paper. Evenly coat the log with the egg white and then transfer the log to a clean piece of waxed paper that has been sprinkled with some of the brown sugar mixture. Roll the log until it is generously coated with half the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Roll the log up in the paper. Repeat with the other log and place both in the fridge for at least 1 hour to chill. *Please note that I recommend you move the egg white-coated log to a clean sheet of parchment paper because I’ve left it on the same sheet with the egg white and it causes the crust to be kind of lumpy and messy. Plus, when it bakes the edges are not clean.
5. Slice the cookies approximately 1/3″ thick and place onto a silpat or parchment-lined cookie sheet, 1″ apart. Since I like clean cuts, I tend to cut off both ends of the logs. I simply smash those two pieces together and bake them along with the rest. They’re not visually appealing, but they make for great testers! :) Also, be sure to make your cuts as straight as possible so it ensures the cookies bake evenly.
6. Bake the cookies in a preheated 350 degree F (176 degree C) oven for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until they are very lightly golden brown. These cookies can burn quite easily, so check them at 12 minutes and then every minute after that. Mine took about 13-14 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack until completely cooled. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
These can be eaten alone, dunked in milk or even better – dunked in coffee or hot tea! Enjoy!
- On the first day…Cinnamon and Rosemary Shortbread (bakersdiet.wordpress.com)
- Bake the Book: Crispy Brown Sugar Shortbread (sweets.seriouseats.com)
- Simple Shortbread Cookies Recipe (food.com)