April 1, 2013

Cookies for Breakfast!

This is no April Fool's. When I make cookies, I have them for breakfast.

Perhaps it's a bit of my own April Fool's joke on general health experts.  If my other options are to eat a bowl of cereal or to eat nothing, cookies for breakfast doesn't seem so bad.  A little flour, egg, butter, and sugar... like a pancake, right?  Except much more portable and I daresay, more satisfying (I'm usually out of maple syrup, which could change my argument).  Especially when your cookies are the perfect balance of cakey and chewy, like snickerdoodles.

In addition to being out of maple syrup, I am also out of cinnamon.  And since I usually decide to bake a batch of cookies when it's late, I can't make a run to the spice store.  I realize that my local supermarket is open late, but I prefer true cinnamon over cassia, which is only available at a good price from an actual spice vendor.

It's kind of like organic produce: if you buy organic at a regular supermarket, it's crazy expensive and limited stock.  If you go to your natural foods supermarket, which always sells organic, you'll find reasonable prices.  Many people are anti-Whole Foods, but I'll tell you what - really compare prices and you might be surprised!  Trust me, I know exactly how much organic, fair-trade sugar costs at every grocery store in the Denver Metro Area, and Whole Foods has the best deal.  It's just that super-expensive products are also available there, but you don't have to purchase sushi-grade yellowfin tuna when you're picking up milk and eggs.  Plus, isn't good-quality food worth a little more for your health and the environment? Of course it is. Okay, rant done, and speaking of health, back to cookies.

So, anyway... since I'm out of cinnamon, I substituted garam masala.  I had a batch of bin bhuna hua garam masala from my favorite Indian cookbook, which apparently means "coriander-scented untoasted spice blend," and I was pretty sure it had cinnamon in it already.  I thought orange might compliment my new wave snickerdoodles, so I added a couple drops of orange extract, too.  They are quite delicious and the cayenne only adds to the greatness of them being wake-me-up breakfast material.  Or the greatness for any time, really.


Bin Bhuna Hua Garam Masala
(adapted from 660 Curries, by Raghavan Iyer)

  • 1 T. coriander seeds
  • 1/2 t. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 t. black peppercorns
  • 2-3 whole cloves
  • 8-10 cardamon pods, crushed and seeds removed, discard green pods*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 t. cayenne
Measure all ingredients, aside from cayenne, into spice grinder or mortar & pestle.  Grind until fine and stir together with cayenne.  Store in an airtight container.

  • 2 1/4 c. flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1 c. butter (I actually prefer salted butter in most applications), room temp
  • 1 1/2 c. plus 2 T. sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/8-1/4 t. orange extract, depending on strength
  • 2 t. homemade garam masala
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare baking sheets by putting down parchment.  Less clean-up is always better.

Place flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.  Whisk together (my method of "sifting" ingredients together).  In a stand mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar together on medium speed, until pale and light-textured.  This will take a few minutes.

Add eggs one at a time and mix until thoroughly blended.  Add orange extract.  Stop mixer, scrape down sides, and add flour.  I'm okay with dumping it all in one fell swoop.  Mix on low speed until the dough pulls together.

In small bowl, combine garam masala and 2 T. sugar.

Scoop out dough and form into 1 1/2-inch balls.  A small scoop with a ratchet is awesome for this and perhaps an indispensable baking tool.  Roll in sugar spice mixture to coat and place on baking sheets about 2-3 inches apart.  Bake for 11-13 minutes, rotating halfway through, until edges begin to turn golden.

Allow cookies to cool a couple minutes on baking sheets and remove to cooling racks.  Once cool, store in an airtight container and share with your coworkers.  Be sure to have one while it's still warm, too.

This makes about three dozen cookies.

*If you love cardamon, and most people do, take the discarded pods and put them in some sugar, like you would with a leftover vanilla bean pod.  Yum.

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