Dear Readers, I’m always on the search for new and interesting recipes. Do you peruse the Internet or even gaze through pages of grocery store periodicals in search of finding that novel recipe to try?
I was enjoying my favorite latte when the recipe for Coffee Sugar Cookies caught my attention from pinterest.com. I read it through and thought, “Ah Hah! This recipe has potential for the inclusion of a Miss NiNi exclusive jazzed up flavor!”
With a few innovative spices to accompany my recently acquired Jamaican-Me-Crazy flavored ground coffee, I was excited to proceed!
After assembling the required ingredients, I began to read the method of mixing the dough. As is the norm in making most drop cookies, the first step is to cream together butter and sugar.
Realize that Mom taught me this step decades ago. Perhaps, some of you Dear Readers are quite experienced with creaming butter and sugar, too. But in the baking world, I questioned, “What does the word, ‘cream’ mean, and how exact do I need to be when I’m creaming together butter and sugar?”
I immediately went to my A-Number-One baking source of trusted information–King Arthur Flour Company. Their website and YouTube baking tutorials and educational information bring the science of baking into layman’s terminology. I was all-eyes in discovering their information at http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2015/04/27/creaming-butter-sugar/
Correctly Creaming Butter and Sugar
The following is their synopsis of correctly creaming butter and sugar, Dear Readers.
King Arthur used the Goldilocks’ theory when teaching the first step of the creaming process–ideal butter temperature.
One might think that taking a stick of butter out of the refrigerator, unwrapping it, putting it into the mixer, and beating it on high speed might be just the trick for best creaming results. Ah, not so! King Arthur explains it like this. “The main reason you want to cream butter and sugar is to use the sugar crystals to punch little holes in the butter and have those holes capture air. Butter that is too cold won’t expand very easily and it’ll never capture much air.”
On the opposite end of the thermometer, “If the butter is too soft or melted, the air bubbles will be created but then will collapse again. This causes a greasy, wet mixture that will result in heavy, soggy cakes. Any air bubbles you’ve managed to create will also be knocked out as soon as the eggs and flour are added.”
The Solution – Temperature
What is the solution to the temperature dilemma, Dear Readers? Use butter that is room temperature. For best results remove it from the refrigerator an hour before you are ready to assemble the dough. This is true not just for cookies but for any time sugar and butter are creamed.
There is a host of television/Internet baking gurus who each have their own method of creaming butter and sugar. However, Miss NiNi prefers to follow the teaching of my listed trusted source and cream in this manner. Using the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed (about a speed 4 on a stand mixer) for 10 seconds. As the mixer continues to beat, slowly add a stream of sugar into the beaten butter. Keep beating the mixture on medium speed for two minutes. The butter will change to a pale yellow color and be light and fluffy.
It would seem natural to turn the mixer speed to high to incorporate the most air possible. But that is a no-no! Beating on high speed for five minutes (which is recommended by some baking experts) causes the mixture to turn white in color. At that point, there is no recourse, and if used, it can cause gummy streaks of dough—especially in cakes.
Baking coffee sugar cookies might sound like a simple process. After all, most junior bakers begin to enjoy the satisfying hobby of baking by creating their favorite cookies—all for the fun of it!
For Miss NiNi, measuring ingredients, mixing them together, and combining them with an oven’s heat bring fun, flavorful joy, and scientific awe—especially when I know the whys and wherefores of creating the best possible baked treat.
Have fun with this newly inspired Miss NiNi cookie recipe. And remember, the Goldilocks’ theory when it comes to the creaming process. It will return great rewards to your baking style.
JAMAICAN-ME-CRAZY COFFEE SUGAR COOKIES—created by Miss NiNi
1 c. butter
1-1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
½ t. baking powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
¼ t. salt
¼ t. ground nutmeg
¼ c. freshly ground Jamaican-Me-Crazy flavored coffee (or try your favorite flavored coffee to make your own unique cookie)
2-1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 t. rum or ¼ t. rum extract (may omit if using a different flavored coffee)
2 T. brewed Jamaican-Me-Crazy flavored coffee
2 t. cream
Freshly ground Jamaican-Me-Crazy flavored coffee for sprinkling on top of cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and ground coffee. With mixer on slow speed, add dry ingredients and mix until blended. Drop on to parchment-lined (or use a Teflon mat instead of parchment paper) cookie sheets. Bake for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Cool slightly on cookie sheets. Remove from cookie sheets and cool completely before frosting.
For frosting, whisk together powdered sugar, rum (rum extract), brewed coffee, and cream. Frost tops of cooled cookies. Lightly sprinkle with freshly ground coffee. Makes about 36 coffee sugar cookies.