Every year, when the Christmas baking begins a few days after Thanksgiving, these are the first cookies I make. This is first, because they’re easy. It’s the first dip of my toe into the long baking season. Later, I will make the bon bons, the bars, homemade caramel and meringue, the six step cookies and the ones that keep me up til 2 in the morning. And by the week before Christmas, I will have a small meltdown and swear I won’t do this again next year. (And then there was the year all the cookie boxes fell out the back of the car and spilled all over the road. But I’m still not ready to talk about that). But tonight, I start easy.
The other reason I make these first is that the oven makes the kitchen toasty, and the whole house smells like cinnamon and butter. There is even snow falling outside my window. It’s the perfect start to the season.
- 2 & 3/4 c. unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c.(8 tbl. or one stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 c. vegetable shortening
- 1 1/2 c. sugar, plus 2 tbl.
- 1 tbl. ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 400°. Sift flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, shortening, and 1 1/2 cups sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one a time(break egg into a measuring cup and then add so you don’t risk getting shells in your batter). Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then return to medium speed. Add the flour mixture slowly, beat to combine. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix again to make sure it is all combined.
In a small bowl, whisk together cinnamon and remaining sugar. Roll small balls of dough, about 1 ounce or the size of a ping pong ball. Space out cookies about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Once the sheet is full, roll each cookie in the cinnamon sugar and return to sheet.(it’s less messy this way). Flatten cookies slightly (I use the bumpy end of a meat hammer to give them some texture). Bake cookies 8-10 minutes until cracked on top.
Cool cookies on baking sheet on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
makes slightly less than 4 dozen cookies.
*if baking ahead for Christmas, once they have cooled completely, freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Then transfer to a seal-able freezer bag and freeze until ready to pack up or eat.
I made 3 batches. 123 cookies made, 1,877 more to go.