cinnamon butter cookies
Listen, I know. It’s still January and we are still supposed to be deeply committed to our resolve for healthy eating and moderation. That’s great and all, but the thing is that I accidentally forgot to make any resolutions, and that has turned out to be a pretty good deal, since I cannot stop thinking about/making/eating these cookies. My sister Amanda who is a baking wizard, closed her eyes in complete rapture the first time she tried one and proclaimed them some of the best cookies she’s ever had. My step-daughter Amy, who can run circles around any cookie baker in the country, also gives them high marks. I consider their accolades my own personal James Beard award (which is as close as I’ll ever get). The unassuming but stunning cornstarch gives them a light silkiness and then the cinnamon adds a warmth that keeps them from being too sweet. Eating these cookies makes me feel like a lady. A lady who is far too fluent in the wrong kind of French, and who drives way too fast down her
dirt mud road, but a lady none the less.
Since I don’t believe in having secret recipes (yes Aunt Joy, I’m looking at you) I am going to share this confection concoction that I believe I have tweaked to perfection. If you are a person given to noticing details, you’ll see immediately that there is a lot of butter in this recipe. There’s even more if you double it, which I highly recommend, if you plan on letting other people eat them with you. I offer no apologies, just a very firm warning to not desecrate this cookie by using margarine. Seriously. Do not.
Speaking of butter, (which I do with great fondness) there is absolutely no substitute for room temperature butter in baking. We’ve all tried to get by with unwrapping a couple of sticks, straight from the freezer and defrosting them in the microwave. It works, sort of, sometimes. I wouldn’t even attempt it with this cookie, the inevitable melting will just mess everything up. I think.
I like to set my butter out on the stove burner grates so that they get good airflow while they lose their chill.
This picture is from a baking marathon – really.
Gather your dry ingredients and mix together. I use a fork because I feel like I get as good results as I would sifting, without having to use a sifter.
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 ¼ cup flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Mix the butter on medium speed until fluffy (1-2 minutes) and then slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined. The dough will be thick and heavy. You’re all done. Was that not the easiest cookie you’ve ever whipped up?
Set the dough in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes (depending on how distracted you get with other things).
When you remember that you were in the middle of making cookies, break off a chunk of dough, about golf ball size and roll it up. I sincerely hope it goes without saying that your hands should be well washed before you start this step.
set the ball on your ungreased cookie sheet and then lightly press down with your fingers until it’s cookie shaped. You don’t want it to be too thin. The cookies will spread, but not too much (especially if you took the time to chill them first) so you don’t have to put a lot of space between them.
Bake at 375 until the edges are slightly brown and the centers look like they have set up. In my oven I start watching them at 8 minutes and usually take them out at 9 or 9:30 minutes. Leave the cookies on the sheet for at least a minute before moving them to a cooling rack.
This is a great time to whip up your frosting, if you haven’t already. I’ve never been sure when to use the word frosting versus icing. I thought they might be interchangeable, or possibly a regional preference. I was wrong (it happens). Frosting is whipped and fluffy, made with cream or butter (or both, can I get an amen!) while icing is a thin sugar glaze that hardens while cooling.
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup softened butter
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 – 2 tablespoon milk
This time you’re going to put the dry ingredients in the bowl first and mix (very slowly – unless you want your kitchen to have a fine coating of powdered sugar in every possible crevice and corner) for several minutes to fully incorporate, and to make sure all of the lumps are out of the powdered sugar. Add the butter and sour cream and then the milk as needed. *if you don’t have sour cream, just use more butter, there’s no need to not make these cookies because you’re missing 1T sour cream!
If your cookies are no longer warm, top with the frosting, keeping in mind that this is no time for skimping. Load ‘em up!
There’s no easy way to break this next part to you. You know how most cookies are the best eaten while they are still warm enough that you can’t really chew them, and they burn the back of your throat going down? Maybe that’s just me? These cookies are different. They are an exercise in patience. You can go ahead and try them as soon as they’ve been frosted (and I usually do) but you’ll want to be standing over the sink, because they crumb all over. If you’re still concerned about your resolutions, brush the powdered sugar off of you and go out for a run. If you forgot to make resolutions too, you could catch up on a show. I recommend Downton Abbey or Outlander, which I’m pretty sure would be the two shows I’d be completely obsessed with, if I knew how to watch television. After they’ve sat for about an hour, you should be able to take a bite without making a mess. Now here’s where it gets really good! Because of all of that butter, they stay soft and delicious for up to a week. It’s possible that they would stay fresh longer than that, but I’ve never managed to keep any around that long. I stack mine in an airtight glass container, with layers of wax paper between them.
Here is the printable, enjoy!2