Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Amish Cookies

I can only imagine the name for these cookies is a result of the very simple flavors coming together to make a pretty delicious cookie, much like a lot of Amish treats.  It's all very subtle with a touch of spice, a little oats, and a bit of dried cranberries for sweetness and the result is a cookie that is both crisp (on the outside) and chewy (on the inside).  Dave's parents are on their way back home after having been traveling with their camper since New Year's.  They are slowly making their way back up the East Coast and are stopped in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, not far from where they both grew up.  They'll have a chance to visit family, which is good because it's an address where Dave and I can send their mail (we've had a chance to send it to them several times in the past few months, but it still accumulates quickly).  What better treat to send along than some cookies paying homage to the Pennsylvania Dutch region where they'll receive them?

Page by page, I flipped through the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion until I found the "right" cookie to send them.  These cookies are simple to make, a tribute to the simple flavors I suppose.  The dough came together while Dave and I cooked our dinner the other night (he was grilling our steaks while I was in charge of potatoes and veggies, so while my stuff didn't need "tending," I was able to make the dough.)  It chilled while we ate and after dinner, I stuck them in the oven.  Following a tip in the cookbook, I practiced getting more space on my cookie sheet by staggering the balls of dough.  It worked pretty well and probably would have done better if my cookies were the right size because a few of them did start to touch.  The recipe said it yielded 4 1/2 dozen, but I only got 4 dozen--it's likely that had I made them a bit smaller to squeeze out the extra 6 cookies, I may not have had the cookies touch.  Either way, these are a delicious treat and I really likes the twist of using brown sugar and cinnamon for rolling other than the traditional white sugar and cinnamon topping.  I did substitute dried cranberries for raisins, and I like the pop of flavor they provide.  Make these cookies for an afternoon tea or just a sweet treat for yourself or to share with others.  They may sound old fashioned, but it's a flavor combination that's a bit unusual and a lot delicious.

Amish Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)

In a large bowl, beat butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Beat in egg and milk.

Stir in flour, oats, and dried cranberries.

Chill dough until firm, about 1 hour.

When ready to bake, mix remaining brown sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl to make coating.

Divide dough in 1 inch balls (I used a small cookie scoop).  Roll in coating and place on parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet.  (Note: I tried the method of staggering the dough balls and was able to successfully get 15 cookies on the sheet and for the most part it worked.  Only cookies that were a little bit larger got too close to one another.)

Flatten cookies (you can use a glass or a fork, I used the palm of my hand) to about 1/3 of an inch.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Turn baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through baking. If using more than one sheet at a time, rotate positions in the oven for more even baking.

Remove from oven and cool on pan for one minute before moving to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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