Tag Archives: Cinnamon

Well, that seems about right.

Remember my kinda sorta planning?

About that.

It began in earnest around midnight that night. File this under: it seemed like a good idea at the time. If you’ve been following along, this should come as no surprise.

In my defense, it was all in the service of a good idea: namely, cinnamon ice cream.

Since I was making a Thanksgiving themed dinner, I wanted to hit all of the traditional notes—to me, that means some sort of variation on pumpkin pie and vanilla ice cream. Mind you, my family has spent more Thanksgivings than most in restaurants, so my conception of traditional Thanksgiving may be a little skewed. And that seemed boring.

Cinnamon ice cream seemed to encapsulate exactly what I was trying to achieve—the traditional flavor in a slightly different format. In other words, it was perfect.

But, if I was going to include it, I needed to get started right away. And, so, there I was tempering eggs at 1 in the morning. I’m nothing if not dedicated.

You could certainly make ice cream over in several hours, but I tend to think it’s one of those things that’s better made over the course of two days, in order to ensure that your custard base has enough time to cool. However you do it, don’t leave out the straining step—it ensures that, if you haven’t tempered the eggs properly, your ice cream will still be creamy.

And, isn’t that the whole point?

Well, that and the indulgence of it, anyway.

Cinnamon Ice Cream
Method courtesy of The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
pinch of kosher salt

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, setting the them aside and reserve the outside.

In a medium saucepan, warm one cup of the heavy cream, the milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla seeds, allowing everything to come to simmer. Be careful not to bring the mixture to a boil. After the mixture comes to a simmer, remove it from the heat, cover it and let it steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.

While the infused cream is cooling, pour the remaining cup of heavy cream into a large bowl, and put fine mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks together.

Once the infused cream has finished cooling, slowly pour it into the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Then, whisk the warmed egg yolks and cream back into the saucepan. Stirring the mixture constantly using a heatproof spatula, heat over a medium flame. Take care to scrape the bottom of the saucepan as you stir. Once the mixture thickens and coats the spatula the custard is ready. Pour it through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Add in the vanilla bean and stir, until cooled.

Chill the mixture in your refrigerator until you are ready to churn. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructors.

Makes One Quart

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Baking Fail (Macarons, Take #4)

And so the Year of the French Macaron slowly trudges along.

Trudges, yes.

I’m sorry to report this latest batch was a resounding failure. Ironic, given that, at least according to the Huffington Post, chocolate macarons should have been easier to make.

It’s hard to say what went wrong here. I suspect that, with the addition of so much cocoa powder, the batter was too thick. Less lava, more brownie. So, back to the drawing board on this one.

But, lest you lose hope, all isn’t lost. These cookies are excellent in their own right. The coffee and cinnamon enhance the chocolate flavor, making it taste deeper and richer, and the chipotle finishes it with a nice kick.

Try it and report back. If your cookies end up with feet, let me know what you did to achieve them.

And, last but, not least: a quick housekeeping note: there are some big changes afoot here. All good, I assure you, but they’ll be keeping me busy. So if there’s a little radio silence from me, stay turned. I’ll be back and cooking again very soon.

Spiced Chocolate Cookies
Or, the Macarons that weren’t

3 egg whites
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 TBS coffee, cooled
3 TBS unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp chipotle powder

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a food processor, blend the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar together, about 2 minutes, until the mixture is well blended and well combined. Sift it, adding in the cinnamon, chipotle powder, and cocoa and set aside.

Heat your egg whites in a microwave for 15 seconds. Then, using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until they’re foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar, still whisking, until the whites reach medium soft peaks.

Sprinkle half of the almond/cocoa/confectioners’ sugar mixture over the beaten egg whites and fold until just incorporated. Then add the rest, folding until everything is combined. Fold in the coffee. Tap the bottom of your mixing bowl against the counter to eliminate any air bubbles.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag and pipe the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Each cookie should be 1.5″ in diameter and at least 1/2″ apart.

Allow the cookies to rest for at least 30 minutes, until they are no longer tacky when touched.

Bake, rotating halfway through, until the cookies are slightly firm to the touch and can be lifted from the parchment, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the baking sheets and allow to cool completely.

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On Sugar and Spice

Fine, I didn’t really need to make cookies. But, I had a perfectly good excuse.

Namely, a brand shiny new KitchenAid mixer(!) and a feeling of nostalgia.

Snickerdoodles

As good a reason as any, if you ask me.

So, Snickerdoodles it was.

These cookies seem to have no traceable orgin, as far as I’ve read—admittedly, it hasn’t been all that extensive a search—and certainly no reasonable explaination for the silly sounding name.

To me, though, they sound perfectly Yankee. Fitting, in fact, since the first time I tried them was the dining halls of my New England college, when nothing else seemed appealing—hello, freshman fifteen.

Snickerdoodles

The spice, the cinnamon, creates a nice counterbalance to the buttery, rich dough.

And, the smell. Oh, the smell. It makes me think of the snow days of my childhood in the New York suburbs, tucked warmly in bed, while my mother baked in our kitchen below. The prefect antidote to a burst of homesickness during the first snow of a cold Boston’s winter during my college days.

Or, now, a case of doldrums brought upon by an unseasonably chilly Spring day in New York.

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

According to the recipe notes, this recipe makes three dozen 3 to 4-inch cookies. Mine were about 3-inches in diameter and crunchier than I like. I’d scale back the baking time next time I cook these. And, of course, there will be next time, as half of the dough is sitting in my freezer.* I made about two dozen cookies from half the dough.


A few other things worth mentioning:

  • You could make this recipe with a hand mixer, or even good old-fashioned stirring with a wooden spoon. It might make your arms slightly sore, but then again you are eating cookies made with 2 sticks of butter…

  • I added nutmeg and cardamom into the dough, because I had them around the house, and I wanted to give the cookies a slightly warmer, more complex flavor. I also upped the cinnamon because I wanted some mixed into the dough.

  • The spots you see on the baking sheet are from water. I add a few drops before putting the parchment down as it helps the paper stay in place.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 stick or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Waxed paper works here, too, although be warned: your kitchen will smell like melting wax. unpleasant, yes, but the flavor doesn’t get into the cookies. Unless, of course, my taste buds are dead.

Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, 1 TBS cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt; set aside.

Combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until everything is well creamed. Scrape down sides of bowl. Adding eggs one at a time, beat to combine.

Add dry ingredients in thirds, using a medium speed to combine with each new addition.

Let dough rest.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 2 TBS cinnamon.

Form balls of the dough, and roll in cinnamon sugar.

Place about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack , approx. 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway. Once cookies are out of the oven, cool before eating.

*I’m guessing here, but I think that this dough should store well for at least 3 months. Simply defrost before using, roll out and enjoy. Err, after baking first.

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