In this post I am offering another installment from my Aunt Lou Archives series-Cinnamon Snaps – a close cousin to the ubiquitous Ginger Snaps. I must confess that at first I was somewhat skeptical about these cookies. Cinnamon Snaps just sounded a bit plain, but my husband convinced me that we had to try them out, at least once, in honor of Aunt Lou. Once again we were confronted with a culinary conundrum: how do you make them? This is because, once again we were staring at a list of ingredients without any preparation guidelines. After a couple of minutes of head scratching, I said to my husband, “How hard can it be?” So we proceeded to make these cookie the same way we make any other cookie. We loved the result. I took a batch into my office and they were gone in a flash! I was even asked to please give out the recipe. I happily complied.
Spice cookies are popular in Europe and were brought to the U.S by our European ancestors as part of their culinary tradition. In Germany for example, a spice cookie called Pfeffernuse is popular at Christmas time. It is a spice cookie with nuts that is rolled into small balls, baked and then dusted with powder sugar, and yes, there will be a recipe for this also. According to my German friend Iris, spice cookies are popular around St. Nicholas Day-December 5th.
As far as the spice ingredients are concerned, cinnamon and ground cloves dominate the taste. As far as cinnamon goes, not all cinnamon is created equal. My husband and I like to use Vietnamese cinnamon that we purchase at Penzey’s, a spice store that sells high quality spices. You can buy their spices online at www.penzeys.com if there isn’t a store in your area. The reason why we like this cinnamon so much is because it has a very sweet taste; not the “atomic fireball” cinnamon bite that one encounters often on some of the more common brands.
Cinnamon Snaps go great with coffee or tea, whichever you prefer. They are crunchy, flavorful and simply delicious. Did I say you can dunk them in a glass of milk? If not, by all means do. Cinnamon Snaps are delicious this way too!
- 4-5 cups sifted flour
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup molasses
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 Tbs. warm water
- 1 Tbs. ground cloves
- 1 Tbs. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 350' F
- In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the warm water.
- In another small bowl, mix salt and spices. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the molasses and the dissolved baking soda. Mix thoroughly. In another bowl combine about 4 cups of the flour and spices together and slowly add to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, mixing thoroughly until the dough is soft. (Add more flour as needed.) Roll out on a lightly floured surface and cut in desired shape.
- Bake on parchment paper for 20 minutes. These cookies can be frozen for up to two months.