Well, happy December and almost Christmas and New Year’s my friend. I hope you’ve already begun making merry.
I have been a busy little kitchen serf covered head to toe most evenings and weekends in flour and sugar. I have a few clumps of hair that seem to have developed a permanent coating of sanding sugar and I have sprinkles embedded in my flesh. But all in the name of research to bring you, dear reader, the best Christmas cookie recipes imaginable.
And boy have I have found a good one: Chocolate Cinnamon Fantasy Cookies.
Have you ever had a slice of chocolate cinnamon loaf from Starbucks? That is exactly how these cookies taste. There’s something so luxurious about the chocolate/cinnamon combination. It conjures up fantasies in my mind of lying on a chaise lounge while my staff of servants handles all the minutiae of everyday life and brings me a fresh cocktail every time I ring a little bell.
Now chocolate cinnamon fantasy cookies is not the name these cookies started out life with. No, the recipe comes from Food Network Magazine, which dubbed them Cocoa Snickerdoodles, which I think sounds like a cookie you’d serve to a gaggle of 5-year-olds. I have nothing against 5-year-olds but they wouldn’t appreciate the grandeur of these cookies.
Actually, to be clear, I wouldn’t have tried this recipe on my own.
Cocoa Snickerdoodles Chocolate Cinnamon Fantasy Cookies were my assignment from The Bitten Word’s 2014 Cover to Cover Project: Holiday Cookies.
I was one of several “Bittens,” that’s what Clay and Zach call their fan base, to participate. (Isn’t that word “Bittens” cute? In case you’re wondering, if you’re reading this post, you are a Serf or Serfette, I haven’t decided.) Clay and Zach issued a cookie recipe for each Bitten to make, photograph and report back with a two-sentence description.
When I saw my recipe, Cocoa Snickerdoodles, I was immediately disappointed. Snickerdoodles are okay in my mind but nothing special. It’s the kind of cookie I would make when Mr. 11 was four or five. Good but kind of bland. I didn’t think adding a quarter cup of unsweetened cocoa powder was going to make a difference but boy did it ever. This is a rich, intense cookie meant to be enjoyed with a cup of strong coffee or a shot of bourbon.
Other people’s thoughts: Mr. 11 is a big vanilla baby so he took one “no thank you bite” and handed the cookie back to me. Mr. 46 said it tasted like Christmas. One coworker said the cookie reminded her of a ginger snap and that it was more sophisticated than a snickerdoodle.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup white sanding sugar
- 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Preheat to 375 degrees F.
- Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
- Beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Increase the speed to medium high and beat 2 more minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla; reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just combined.
- Combine the sanding sugar and cinnamon in a small shallow bowl. Form heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into balls with damp hands; toss in the cinnamon sugar to coat. If the mixture is too sticky, put dough in refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up.
- Arrange cookie dough balls on baking sheet-about a dozen at a time.
- Bake, 9 to 11 minutes. Let cool on baking rack.
A few recipe notes: I followed the recipe to a T and it was perfect. The recipe calls for the cookies to be baked at 375. I rarely bake a cookie at 375 because I think that’s too hot of an oven and the cookie ends up overcooked. However, in this case, follow the recipe and bake at 375. The cookies come out perfect and chewy. I tried one pan at 350 and I had to bake them a lot longer. So go with 375 degrees.
Also, this recipe calls for 1.5 teaspoons of cream of tartar. If you don’t bake a lot, you may not have it your cupboard but don’t be tempted to leave it out, the cookies won’t come out right. Make sure it’s fresh. If you can’t remember when you bought it, buy new.
I do have ideas for tweaking the recipe for next time.
I might try:
-adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to the dough itself in addition to the cinnamon mixed with the sanding sugar which you roll the balls of dough in before baking.
-also, I used sanding sugar but I think to add a bit of crunch to the cookie’s exterior, I might try using larger sugar crystals.
-I also might try replacing the white sugar with brown sugar to add a bit of extra chew. Also, this recipe makes a small batch, about 18 if you make a 2 inch cookie. So if you’re making these for a cookie swap, consider doubling the recipe. Or make them smaller. I made one-inch cookies and got about 30 out of the batch.
Your turn, have you ever made cocoa snickerdoodles? When did you last make snickerdoodles, if ever? What cookies are you serving this holiday season? Tell me in the comments.