Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cinnamon Dinosaur Cookies

These roll-out cookies can be used for any recipe where you use a cookie cutter, but I thought these dinosaur cutters from Cake Boss were pretty cute. I reviewed the cutters for Serious Eats, and of course that meant I needed to bake some cookies.
Tough life, huh?

If you make the cookies thick enough, all of them can stand up, except T-Rex who's standing on one foot. But really, who need cookies that stand up? I mean it's fun, but most of the time they sit on a plate. Or you're eating them.

The cinnamon here is pretty subtle - the flavor creeps in at the end. And the coffee doesn't so much add flavor as it adds a bit of depth to the cookies. I used an espresso powder that I got from King Arthur Flour, but any instant coffee or espresso should be fine. You don't want to add ground coffee - that would just be gritty and unpleasant.

Cinnamon Dinosaur Cookies

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
2 cups (9 ounces) all purpose flour

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, salt, and sugar until it's fluffy. (If you didn't plan ahead and the butter is hard, beat that first, to soften, then add the salt and sugar.)

You can also do this with an electric hand mixer, but after adding the flour, you'll probably want to mix by hand since the dough is pretty dense.

Once the butter/sugar mixture is fluffy, add the egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and espresso powder. Beat until well combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough gathers itself into large lumps and it looks evenly blended - scraping the bowl as needed.
Remove the dough from the bowl, gather it together in one lump, then flatten it (for faster cooling. Wrap in plastic wrap or place in a plastic bag or covered container. Refrigerate until the dough is firm - two hours minimum, or up to 24 hours, if that's more convenient.

When you're ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees and line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

Working with half of the dough at a time for easier rolling, flour your work surface very lightly and roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters and place the cookies on the prepared sheets. If you like, you can decorate with colored sugars prior to baking.

Bake the cookies until lightly browned around the edges - about 12 minutes for small cookies like these dinosaurs.

Let the cookies cool on a rack.

Continue cutting and baking cookies until all the dough is used up. You can re-roll the scraps, as needed. If the dough begins getting soft, refrigerate it to firm it up.