Cardamom & Honey Snickerdoodles

I really didn’t feel like working today, so while I managed to pull myself together for an hour-long SLF monthly meeting (we have three interns right now! three!), I have given myself permission to goof off for the rest of the day.

Which apparently means watching Leverage: Redemption (three episodes in so far, v. good) and baking snickerdoodles for the summer Patreon treat boxes, which I suppose does qualify as working, but is also just lovely, with a cool rainy day outside and the kitchen smelling so yummy. (The kids are excited.)

I took a base snickerdoodle recipe, replaced some sugar with a little honey, which makes them just a touch moister and more complex in flavor, and added some cardamom to the traditional cinnamon inside and out, which makes them beautifully aromatic. Happy with the result.

*****

Cardamom & Honey Snickerdoodles

(30 minutes, makes about 36 cookies)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. + 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. + 1/4 t. ground cardamom
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 t. honey

1 t. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Either grease or use parchment paper on baking sheets; set aside.

2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. cardamom; set flour mixture aside.

3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and 1 c. of sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the egg, honey, and vanilla, then slowly beat in the flour mixture.

4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 3 T sugar, 1/2 t. cinnamon, and 1/4 t. cardamom.

5. Form dough into small (roughly 3/4-inch) balls. Roll the balls in the sugar-cinnamon-cardmom mixture, then place the balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown and slightly cracked on the top; transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Ocean Cookies

All done with my ocean cookies. 🙂 I love how the silvery bits look like light glinting off the water.

A Little Tricky

It can be a little tricky working with embossed rolling pins, because if the dough is too chilled and hard, it’s tough to press enough for a good impression, but if it’s too soft and warm, it just smooshes and tears. With my shortbread dough, I usually find that 15 minutes in the fridge is about right:

– make dough & preheat oven
– put a sheet of parchment paper on a large cutting board
– pat out half the dough
– add a second sheet of parchment paper and roll flat to desired thickness
– chill 15 minutes in fridge
– remove top sheet of parchment paper and roll with embossing pin
– cut into squares (or as desired)
– slide parchment paper with embossed cookies to baking sheet (I like the insulated ones for even baking) and
– put baking sheet in fridge for another 15 minutes — don’t skip this, or the dough will spread too much and you’ll lose a lot of definition
– bake 12-15 minutes

Making cookies this way is a bit of a process; I did a batch last night, and I think it took about 2 hours total. But I was reading a great book, so it was mostly do a thing, set a timer, read for a while, do a thing, set a timer, read for a while, repeat. Pleasant and peaceful way to spend an evening. With a nice big cookie as reward when I was done. 🙂

Pedestrian Tastes

Did a compare-and-contrast with random store kithul treacle, and high-end single source kithul that was probably three times as expensive. Both good with yogurt, as expected — the random store treacle was much sweeter, and the fancy treacle was somewhat more complex and interesting.

Although honestly, I like them both probably equally. 🙂 Maybe my tastes are just more pedestrian.

Halapa / Sweet Coconut Steamed Appams

I first encountered a version of this recipe titled “Ooda Appam” in a Jaffna-based cookbook, but had trouble finding other recipes under that name. With the help of one of my cousins and Sri Lankan friends, I realized this was essentially halapa, which made my search for recipes much easier.

To make halapa, you need pani pol, a mix of sweetener (usually jaggery and/or kithul treacle) and coconut. Sometimes, pani pol serves as a filling to the rice flour steamed bun, but in this version, the pani pol is mixed directly in with the toasted rice flour.

In Sri Lanka, the flattened balls would traditionally be steamed in kenda leaves, but those are hard to find in America; you can use banana leaves or parchment paper. These are best right out of the steamer — be careful not to burn your fingers or tongue when devouring them! Delicious with a cup of tea; also commonly served for breakfast with fresh fruit.

1 c. red rice flour
1 c. grated fresh coconut
3/4 c. jaggery or dark brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
hot water
1 banana leaf (or a few sheets of parchment paper)

1 t. vegetable oil

1. In a dry pan, toast rice flour, stirring, until aromatic.

2. In a large bowl, combine rice flour, coconut, jaggery, and salt to a smooth paste; add a little hot water as needed to bring together.

3. Briefly run hot water on the banana leaf to soften it, and cut it into pieces (roughly 2×2 inches); alternately, use squares of parchment paper.

4. Use a paper towel dipped in the vegetable oil to grease each piece of banana leaf (parchment paper).

5. Make small balls from the paste, then place each ball on the center of a leaf. Flatten into a circular shape and fold the leaf over.

6. Steam over simmering water in a covered steamer until cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

Dodol / Rice Flour & Coconut Milk Sweet

(1 1/2 hrs, makes 25-30 pieces)

This simple sweet comes originally from Southeast Asia — it’s popular in Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as Goa in India. Here dodol is enhanced with beet to add complexity of flavor; another popular approach is to omit the beets and instead add 1 tsp. of pandan extract, which will give a bright green color and add subtle flavor.

If you can find glutinous rice flour, that will produce a more traditional chewy result; this version with regular rice flour is more on the cake-like side in terms of texture. Both are delicious. Note that ‘glutinous’ refers to the sticky and gluey texture of the cooked flour; glutinous rice flour does not actually contain gluten.

If you can, I recommend having at least two people available to work on this, as it’s much easier to stir the mixture as it thickens, if you can switch off!

3/4 c. rice flour (or glutinous rice flour)
4 c. coconut milk
1/2 c. jaggery
1 small beet, peeled and cubed
1/2 t. cardamom
a pinch of salt

chopped pistachio and shredded coconut to garnish

1. In a medium bowl, combine rice flour and 3 c. coconut milk.

2. In a medium saucepan on low heat, combine remaining 1 c. coconut milk with jaggery, stirring to dissolve. Stir rice flour mixture into the pan.

3. Puree beet (add a little water if necessary to help puree), and stir into the pan, along with cardamom and salt.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring continuously until mixture starts to thicken — 30-60 minutes.

5. When the mixtures starts to form a soft, fudge-y ball and pull away from the sides of the pan, it’s ready. You should see a slight sheen of oil starting to appear as you stir.

6. Transfer to a greased dish, and garnish with pistachios and coconut flakes. Cashews are also popular garnishes.