"Cin"- ful Indulgences
If you love cinnamon then I am betting that the snickerdoodle is one of your favorite cookies. Am I right? I mean, the snickerdoodle is a celebration of cinnamon with its cinnamon sugar, "come hither" coating whispering enticingly to you. Today's recipe is a bar version of this classic spicy cookie. While snickerdoodles in their drop cookie form are a simple cookie to make, this bar cookie version is even easier because you don't have to scoop and coat each individual cookie. C'mon into the kitchen and let me show you how to whip these up.
First things first. These cookies have a secret ingredient that boosts the cinnamon factor sky high. Any guesses? I've used this ingredient before in an awesome pumpkin scone. It's ... cinnamon chips! These tiny chips really pack a punch in anything where cinnamon is the star of the show. I get them from King Arthur Flour. I've never looked for them elsewhere. It was love at first bite for me.
I found this recipe a few years ago on the Two Peas and their Pod blog. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease and 13 x 9 pan. In a large bowl, whisk together 2-2/3 cups (11-1/4 oz for you bakers who use a scale to measure) AP flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and a generous half teaspoon of your favorite cinnamon. What do I mean by generous? Don't level off the cinnamon in the measuring spoon.
In the bowl of your mixer, beat together 2 sticks of unsalted butter, 2 cups packed light brown sugar, 2 large eggs and 1 tablespoon of your favorite vanilla extract. My personal favorite is Vanilla Bean Crush by Sonoma Syrup Co. The aroma when you open the bottle is intoxicating!
Here's another note (and PSA for measuring your ingredients by weight.) We were taught that when using brown sugar, either light or dark, the proper way to measure it is to pack it firmly in the measuring cup. So, you need a measuring cup and a spoon to scoop the brown sugar and then pack it down. Scoop and pack. Scoop and pack. It takes a bit of time AND you have to wash the measuring cup and the spoon. OR you could put your mixing bowl on a scale and add in the brown sugar straight from the bag until you get the proper amount. No spoon or measuring cup to wash. A cup of packed brown sugar weighs 8 ounces so do the math or better yet have the kiddos do it for you. Need only half a cup of brown sugar? Weigh out 4 ounces. Need 1-1/2 cups? That would be 12 ounces. This snickerdoodle bar cookie recipe calls for 2 cups of brown sugar so you need 16 ounces. If your market sells brown sugar in one pound bags or boxes, you don't even have to pull out the scale. Just open the bag and dump it in. Easy peasy!! Back to the recipe.
After you have creamed the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla together, stir in the flour mixture until well combined. Then, stir in 1-1/2 cups (or 9 oz) of cinnamon chips. Here's what the dough/batter will look like when its ready for the pan.
Scoop the dough/batter into the prepared 13 x 9 pan and press it evenly into the pan using your spatula or your fingers. In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of granulated white sugar and two teaspoons of cinnamon. Sprinkle your cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the top of the dough and you're ready to slide the cookies into the oven.
Bake the bars for 25 to 27 minutes then pull them out and let them cool completely before cutting. Baker's Note! The center of these bars will appear to be unbaked when you pull them from the oven. This is what you want! When the bars are cooled, the center firms up. This is what makes the finished bars so irresistibly chewy. If you bake the bars until they appear baked all the way through, they will be hard and dry. When the bars come out of the oven, they will be puffed (see top photo at right). As they cool, the center will collapse down (see bottom photo at right). Don't they look yummy? Believe me when I tell you that they smell heavenly too!
There you have it - snickerdoodle bars. Oh my! Just look at that cookie - all buttery, brown sugary, cinnamony chewy goodness. You can mix and bake these gems in about an hour but you really have to wait to let them cool completely before diving in.
I hope you enjoy these "cin" - fully indulgent treats!