Easy homemade cinnamon cookies
One of the things we've learned this autumn is that sometimes the harder you search for something, the less likely you'll find it, especially in this economy. As you may know from our previous post, we're looking for a new place to move into, but nothing good came up so far.
So, it seems we'll be staying at the same apartment for the winter (after all, who wants to move in the winter, during the Holiday season!). We won't let this bring us down of course! :)
We will keep cooking and doing all the things that make us happy! As a couple, we always try to have a positive attitude and see the good side of things. Well, one of the good sides of staying at the same place is that we'll continue to live close to a wonderful grove where we often take long walks. As you may see from the photos in this post, the place has pines, sycamores and even a small vineyard!
While walking you can listen to the birds singing, enjoy the smell of the trees and see all the wonderful colors of the autumn in the leaves. You may stumble upon a turtle here and there, mushrooms popping up from the ground, bushes of wild thyme with tireless bees around them... This is really a place to relax and get in touch in nature while staying within the city limits.
The autumn always make us crave for comfort food and one of the things we love is baking cinnamon cookies. Greece has its own versions of cookies which are called koulourakia. There are many variations of those, but all of them are crispy, with the exception of moustokouloura (yes we know; how the heck is any non-Greek supposed to pronounce that!), which are made with grape must and may also be soft and chewy.
So, we grew up with crispy cookies ourselves and aren’t big fans of chewy soft cookies. Don't worry if you like them this way though, there's a trick; if you keep the time suggested in this recipe, your cookies will be crispy, but if you prefer them softer, simply reduce the baking time by 5 to 6 minutes (depending on your oven of course).
This is actually an older, easy cinnamon cookie recipe, which is perfect for those who aren't used to baking and want to make their first batch of cookies. We posted this recipe a couple of years ago and it was very popular, but both the text and the photo were…well…let’s just say we weren’t very proud of them. It was of the posts we had on our list for a redo. So this time we'll show you how to make cinnamon cookies from scratch, with clear, easy to follow, instructions, so you won't have to worry about a thing.
These are cinnamon cookies without eggs and only contain the essential ingredients of the basic cookie dough: butter, sugar, flour and baking powder. To those we added cinnamon (we LOVE this spice, plus it's good for your body) and a little brandy. Almost all the alcohol will be vanished while baking. Feel free to leave it out though, if you want to share those cookies with your kids and add a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract instead. We don't have any children (yet) ourselves, so we added the brandy with a big smile on our faces :)
You can also make those cookies with brown sugar; it won't mix with the butter very well, but you don't have to worry, as the sugar will melt during baking.
Make sure to refrigerate this dough for 20 minutes before using it. It will make it easier to handle and you'll be able to cut the cookies without any issues. As for rolling it out, you can either do that with your hands, by pressing with your palms in an outward direction from the center of the dough, or use a -dusted with flour- rolling pin. Do not press the pin hard on the dough; roll it gently over to spread it. Then, you can use a cookie cutter or even a glass to cut the cookies and place them on a lined with parchment baking pan/tray. Make sure to leave some space around each cookie (about an inch) as they'll expand while baking.
This recipe is for 25-30 cookies (depending on how large you cut them), so you'll either bake those in the same pan/tray in two sequential batches, or you'll bake them at the same time in two pans/trays (in this case switch them over halfway through).
Your home will smell amazing while those are baking; the cinnamon aroma will make it very hard to wait, but don't open the oven door often, you know this isn't right! Right? :) And the -even hardest- part is waiting for a few minutes after you remove them from the oven, while they cool in a rack. But after part is also over...pure heaven! Yummy goodness in each bite! We love dunking those cookies in hot coffee of warm milk; they soak it up and become even more amazing!
So let’s finally see how to make these wonderful cookies!
- 200gr/7oz (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 170gr/6oz butter or margarine (1 1/2 stick or 3/4 cup), in room temperature
- 250gr/9oz (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 60ml (1/4 cup) brandy
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
- 6gr/0.4oz (2 teaspoons) baking powder
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar (for serving, optional)
- a little flour to dust the surface and handle the dough
Add the sugar and the butter in a large bowl (pic. 1) and whisk using a handheld or kitchen stand mixer. It's better to leave the butter out of the fridge for half an hour before using it, to allow it to soften. Always start the mixer at a low speed and gradually increase it. Use circular motions to combine the materials easier. Whisk for 8-10 minutes. The end result should be a soft, smooth mixture (pic. 2).
At this point, lower the speed and add the brandy, the baking powder and the cinnamon (pic. 3). Whisk at low speed for a few seconds, until they are incorporated into the mixture. Start adding the flour, one tablespoon at a time (pic. 4).
Once you have added half the flour, remove the mixer. Continue adding the rest of the flour, mixing with a spatula, until all of it is incorporated into the dough (pic. 5). Cover with film and put it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Sprinkle some flour on a clean, flat surface, also put some on your hands; empty the bowl with the dough on the surface (pic. 6).
Using an -also sprinkled with flour- rolling pin (or your palms) flatten the dough to about 1cm/0.5in thickness (pic. 7). Don’t press the pin hard on the dough. Gently roll it over. Using a 5cm/2in diameter cookie cutter -or even a glass of the same diameter- cut the cookies from the dough (pic. 8).
Start placing them on a lined with parchment baking tray/pan (pic. 9). When you cut the first 15 cookies, mold the remaining dough into a ball and roll it flat (on surface dusted with flour again) to cut the rest of the cookies from it.
You’ll make two batches, in order to leave enough space between the cookies (about 15 cookies will be placed on each sheet). Don’t overcrowd the pan/tray, and make sure there’s at least 3-4cm/1 inch of space between them. As mentioned in the beginning of the post, you'll either bake those in the same pan/tray in two sequential batches, or you'll bake them at the same time in two pans/trays (in this case switch them over halfway through, to allow them to bake evenly).
Bake on preheated oven, in 180 C/360 F, for 18 minutes, using the fan setting. Remove (pic. 10) them and let them cool for at least 5 minutes on a rack (pic. 11) before serving them. You can also dust them with some caster sugar.
1. You can also use brown sugar instead of granulated. Don’t worry if it doesn’t combine perfectly with the butter, it will melt during baking.
2. In order to sprinkle some caster sugar, you can use a small strainer.
3. Keep them in an airtight container or a cookie box/jar, lined with parchment. They will keep for 5 days, but you probably won’t be able to let them in the box for that long! :)