Just for the record, I am that person- you know, the one in your office who's always bringing in the baked goods. Yep, that's me, though in my defense I never force my wares on anyone, I simply place them on the office communal table or in the breakroom, and by the end of the day the tin always seems to be empty. I love that my office environment allows me to bake with abandon, in the past all those cookies would have sat around the house and ended up on my waistline. Now, I have friends who come to visit me regularly in pursuit of baked goods and idle chat.
I am occasionally frustrated by the limited options of the transportable baked offering, after all, flans and complicated cakes aren't suitable for commuting or serving at work. However, I can go wild with cookies, cupcakes, cheese straws, and all things petite and hand-held. Recently, these spice crackles went over particularly well, if the tin of crumbs I came home with are any evidence. It's a recipe I came up with by adapting a back-of-the-box sugar cookie recipe with a few slight adjustments and a roll in warm cinnamon and cardamom spices. Whoever you bake for, I hope they enjoy them just as much.
These spiced cookies are a perfect balance of crunchy edges and soft chewy insides. Be careful though, it's easy to overbake them, in which case you'll have a still-tasty but crunchier cookie. Makes about 3 dozen, though recipe is easily halved.
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup butter-flavored shortening, or butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine sugar and spices; remove 1/2 cup of this mixture to a plate or bowl and set aside. Add shortening/butter to bowl and cream with the 1 1/2 cups sugar mixture until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated, and add vanilla extract.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
4. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in reserved sugar-spice mixture. Place on baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
5. Bake for about 12 minutes, until edges are firm to the touch, but not quite browned (err towards 10 minutes for soft chewy cookies and 14 minutes for crunchy cookies). Cool for a couple minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in a tin.