I’m so excited to be participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap for the first time this year! Organised by Lindsey from Love & Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen, the swap brings together food bloggers across the world in support of Cookies for Kid’s Cancer.
The premise is genius. Each bloggers pledges $4 and gets paired with three random food bloggers (from the same country). You send each of your matches a dozen homemade cookies and in return you receive, yup, three dozen cookies from three different bloggers. It's win, win, win.
I received some lovely salted caramel and chocolate macaroons from Fiona, a batch of buttery shortbread with sour cherries and almonds from Miss Whiplash and, lastly, coconut and oatmeal raisin cookies from the lovely Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes. Their recipes (along with all others from cookie swap) are due to be published today so be sure to check them out.
I thought long and hard about what to make. I had my recipe and ingredients all ready but then had a complete change of heart at the 11th hour. I had planned to make melomakarona (Greek honey cookies) but, lovely as they are, they don't really travel well. So I decided to make my cinnamon cookies instead.
I had the first batch made and cooling when my husband walked in the kitchen.
- 'Is this what you are making?'
- 'Yes. Why? Don't you like them?!'
- 'They are great. But aren't they a bit, um, simple?'
So this is how these SIMPLE cookies ended up being sandwiched with cinnamon caramel. Blame my husband. The caramel is entirely optional.
For the cookies
Makes at least 12 (or more, depending on size)
225g | 2 1/8 cups light brown sugar
130g | 1 stick + 1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp vegetable shortening (optional - it stops the cookies from spreading too much)
300g | 10.6 oz plain flour (plus more for rolling)
2 tbsp wheatgerm
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Pinch ground cardamom (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch baking powder
2 tbsp honey
1. Beat the butter, shortening and sugar together using the paddle attachment until well combined.
2. Sift the flour, wheatgerm, baking powder, salt and spices together. Add to the butter together with the egg and honey and beat together briefly until a dough forms. If it's too dry add a bit more honey.
3. Form into a disk, cover, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 170C | 340F. Dust your worktop and rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough thinly and cut shapes using floured cookie cutters.
5. Transfer the cookies to a heavy cookie sheet lined with baking paper, spacing them slightly apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cookies are just starting to colour at the edges. Cool completely.
For the cinnamon caramel
150g | 2/3 cup caster sugar
30ml | 1/8 cup water
100ml | 3.4 fl oz double cream
30g | 2 tbsp unsalted butter
Pinch Maldon sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1. Put the sugar and water in a medium heavy-bottomed pan. Bring to the boil and cook, swirling the pan, until the sugar dissolves and the colour changes to amber. Remove from the heat and add the cream - be careful, this will cause the caramel to bubble and rise in the pan. When the bubbling stops, add the butter, salt and cinnamon and whisk till combined.
3. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook the caramel for 4-5 minutes.
4. Strain the caramel through a fine sieve into a bowl and cool completely.
5. Sandwich the cookies with the cooled caramel. Store in an airtight container. Best eaten within 2-3 days.