December 20, 2010
There are some ingredients that go hand in hand with the holiday season, and cinnamon is at the top of that list for me. Sprinkle it on a dollop of whipped cream that tops a cup of hot chocolate, mix it with sugar crystals that dust a snickerdoodle, or just use the cinnamon sticks as a holiday garnish. When I came across a recipe for Cinnamon Bark Cookies in my local paper, they looked so festive I just had to make them. While the ingredients seem simple enough, there is a bit of a learning curve when making these.
Let's just say my first few attempts to assemble these cookies, resulted in a pathetic mess that you would definitely not want to leave out for Santa. I quickly disposed of those, too embarrassed to capture my failure on camera, and set about making another batch. After about the third or fourth batch, I finally got the hang of it, and was able to produce a few that weren't too shabby. These little cookies are crispy and a little buttery, with a hint of cinnamon. Yum!
Cinnamon Bark Cookies
8 large egg whites
2 cups sugar, plus 1/4 cup
2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon extract
10 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup heavy cream
brown gel food coloring
2 tsp cinnamon
Heat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick silicon baking mat.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk together the egg whites and 2 cups of sugar until foamy. Add the flour and salt and mix to incorporate. Add the cinnamon extract, butter and cream, then beat again until completely smooth. In small amounts, add the brown food coloring a drop at a time until desired color is reached, stirring thoroughly between additions. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the cinnamon.
Scoop a teaspoon of batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Using a small offset spatula spread the batter thinly and evenly into a rectangle about 2-by-5-inches. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, you should be able to fit 2 to 4 cookies on at a time.
Sprinkle each rectangle lightly with the cinnamon-sugar. Bake the cookies for about 5-8 minutes, or until the surface looks dry. The edges should not be browned.
Working quickly and as soon as the baking sheet comes out of the oven, use an offset spatula to flip each rectangle over. Tightly roll both long sides of each rectangle toward the center, similar to forming a scroll. Set aside to cool and repeat in batches with remaining dough.
* These cookies must be shaped into the rolled cinnamon stick as soon as they come out of the oven.
* Only cook 2-4 cookies at a time, or the rest will cool too quickly before you can roll them.
* For best results use a silicone baking mat, but if you don't have one use a well greased baking sheet.
* To remove the cookies from the sheet, use an offset spatula.
* Spreading the batter thinly ensures even baking of this cookie. Working with the delicate cookie while still warm and pliable is essential.