This was supposed to be a recipe for festive coffee. It’s not. I spent all afternoon trying to make the perfect Mint Mocha. I made a delicious little peppermint syrup, which was sweet and light and pleasingly not like toothpaste at all. To go with my syrup I brewed some proper coffee, and added the most expensive cocoa powder I’d been able to source. The result was entirely tasteless. I don’t understand why. The components were all flavoursome, together they cancelled each other out.
So instead you’re getting my fall-back cookies. The cookies that I can always cobble together, even when the cupboards are almost entirely bare. You can substitute caster sugar for any kind of sugar you happen to have. That 1kg bag of light brown soft sugar you bought for a recipe which required 175g of it six months ago? Dust that off and chuck it in. You just might have to break it up a bit first, it will have formed a solid mass.
These cookies are quick, easy and can be made even simpler by creating the dough in advance and freezing it. They also taste very good. Better than peppermint syrup, proper coffee or a hot cup of expensive cocoa, for example.
The best way to make your cookies chewy rather than crispy is to under cook them. Cook them, by all means, until they’re on the right side of Salmonella. But if you check on them in the oven and they look like they need another couple of minutes, that means they’re done. 10 minutes should be more than adequate. The second best way to ensure your cookies are chewy rather than crispy is to stand in the kitchen and eat them directly from the cooling rack.
For the dough
60g butter – softened
160g caster sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
240g plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the coating
1½ tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well.
2. Sift the flour, bicarb and cinnamon together, and work into the butter mixture in two or three batches. Continue to knead by hand until the ingredients are fully combined and form a smooth ball of dough.
3. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.
4. When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line two baking trays, and mix the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl for the coating.
5. Tear off pieces of dough, roll into balls between your palms, coat thoroughly in the sugar/cinnamon mixture and place on the baking tray.
6. Cook for 10 minutes, and not a second longer. Allow to cool on a wire rack, if you wish.
Recipe adapted from Cake Days by The Hummingbird Bakery