Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Week 6: Cinnamon Spirals

The general regime that I've created for myself is bake cookies on Sunday, post on blog on Monday, and add to Tastebook on Tuesday. In working out my projection for the rest of the year, I've come to realize that keeping this regime is good as a guide, but life will get in the way from time to time. For instance, the beginning of this week has been very busy. I had my first rehearsal with The Philadelphia Singers on Monday, and I didn't get in until almost 10 PM. If you know me, then you know that this is very late for me; usually I'm in bed by 9 or so. So Monday was a bust. Yesterday was Tuesday, and I was out much later than I expected at my fancy-schmancy dinner at Le Bec-Fin, the premiere restaurant in Philadelphia. It was well worth it, the complimentary cookies inspired me for new projects this year, and I decided to forgo another night of blogging. So here I am, Wednesday night. Never fear, readers! I have not forgotten about you.

This week was a fun cookie, and turned out...interestingly. I actually started the cookie on Saturday due to a busy weekend and the fact that the dough had to chill for some time. There's no sugar or leavening part in the dough itself, and thus the cookie is only slightly sweet. The idea is pretty basic: make dough, roll out dough, sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture, roll up dough, freeze, cut in slices, bake. So, I guess that's the short story of it.

These were pretty fun in the end. I think the best part of making my cookies are involving the "testers"--primarily my sister and my mom. While I was cutting the dough, my sister came in and asked if she could try a raw cookie. (Before you get grossed out, you have to realize that we are big in my family on cookie dough. And kudos to this one because there are no eggs in the dough, thus no raw eggs, thus no risk of food-borne illnesses. Score!) She enjoyed them so much that I had to give them a try...and I do have to say that they were rather tasty. So much so that I ended up not baking the last quarter of the last log so that I could reserve it for frozen snacking. They were just as good as the baked cookie in the end.

The other interesting thing about these cookies was that the centers would peak in the spirals; my sister and I decided that they looked like something that came out of a Dr. Seuss book. She told me that I should make more in July for our trip to Massachusetts (I have a wedding to attend, but we're making a stop on the way up to visit the Dr. Seuss Park in Springfield).

A few notes regarding technical alterations:
The recipe instructs the baker to cut the slices of spirals with a serrated knife. I tried this at first, but had a bit of difficulty; I ended up using a scraper blade that I use to smooth frosting on my cakes. Ours had an edge that looked like it could cut into something like frozen dough. This worked extremely well, and I would suggest this above all else.
As always, I never use ungreased cookie sheets anymore: I always use my silpats or parchment paper, depending on the cookie, even if it calls for ungreased cookie sheets. I find that there's less clean-up and more clean-cut (cookies, that is).
I find it best to freeze the cookie dough logs in icebox cookie form in order to slice it best. I did leave mine in the freezer for quite some time, so I would suggest to let it sit out for a few minutes (no longer) before slicing if you have left the logs in the freezer for a few hours.

These were pretty good. Not my favorite, but they were fun to make. I also find myself cursing at roll-out dough less and less nowadays. I feel like I'm accomplishing things little by little.

And now, the moment you've all waited for: Cinnamon Spirals from Good Housekeeping's "The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Book".

Cinnamon Spirals
Makes about 120 cookies

1 cup butter or margarine (2 sticks), softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter and cream cheese until creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in flour and salt until well mixed, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.

2. Divide dough in half. On sheet of plastic wrap, pat 1 piece of dough into small rectangle; wrap tightly and refrigerate 1 hour or until dough is firm enough to roll. (Or freeze dough for 30 minutes.) Repeat with remaining dough.

3. Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir sugar and cinnamon until blended.

4. On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll 1 piece of dough into 15" by 12" rectangle. Sprinkle half of cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over dough. Starting from a long side, tightly roll rectangle jelly-roll fashion. Brush last 1/2 inch of dough with water to seal edge. Cut log crosswise in half. Slide logs onto ungreased cookie sheet; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or until dough is firm enough to slice. (Or freeze dough for 45 minutes.) Repeat with remaining dough and cinnamon-sugar mixture.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove 2 logs from freezer; with serrated knife, cut each log crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart, on two ungreased large cookie sheets.

6. Bake cookies until lightly browned, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining 2 logs.

Oh, and the cool part about this recipe? There's Nutrition information!

Each cookie: 45 calories, 1 gr protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 3 g total fat (2 g saturated), 8 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium

Not so bad, especially if you use reduced fat or fat-free cream cheese.

Alright folks...that's all from me for now. Stay tuned for next week's super awesome Valentine's Day cookie...once I decide what I'm doing! :-)

And, as always, happy baking!

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