Cookie Tour 2016 – Inside-Out Eggnog Snickerdoodles

I am very excited to be getting this blog posting up BEFORE the Cookie Tour this year!

(Granted, it is only a day or two before, but it is still before.)

The 12th Annual Currier and Ives Cookie Tour is taking place this Saturday, December 10, 2016 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM in southwest New Hampshire’s Monadnock Region.  This year’s tour includes 19 different bed and breakfasts, inns, specialty shops, and other locations in Peterborough, Dublin, Jaffrey, Rindge, Troy, Fitzwilliam, and Swanzey.  Each stop features a homemade holiday treat (with recipe) and other refreshments.  Tickets cost $12 and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to My Neighbor’s House of Troy, an organization that provides short-term, transitional housing and services to those in need. Tickets can be purchased (with cash or check) at our location (Little River Bed and Breakfast in Peterborough), the Inn at East Hill Farm (Troy), Monadnock Inn (Jaffrey), Woodbound Inn (Rindge), and the Swanzey Historical Museum (Swanzey).  Visit at least 10 of the 19 stops on Saturday and you can be eligible for a $150 gift certificate.

Recognize the snowman? It seems that he has become our Cookie Tour mascot!

Our cookie this year is an Inside-Out Eggnog Snickerdoodle. If you are just looking for the recipe, you can skip to it HERE as a pdf.
And if you are looking for the “re-mix” of our 2015 Cookie Tour Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies as Raspberry Almond Crumble Bars, you can find that recipe HERE as a pdf.
To my surprise, this year’s Cookie Tour recipe was a little harder to create than I expected.  My idea was to make a cinnamon-stuffed snickerdoodle… sort of an inside-out snickerdoodle.  While a good snickerdoodle cookie recipe is easy to come by (there are a huge number of versions available), it was the cinnamon filling that was the stumper.  I wanted something that would still be soft in the middle, even after the cookie had cooled.  To start, I went with a filling based on brown sugar and butter (like you would find in a cinnamon roll), but the filling tended to leak out of the cookie and got

Um… that’s not really what I meant by inside-out.

 too crystalline when the cookie cooled. After a few failed attempts trying to improve this filling, I decided to try something completely different… cinnamon chips (like chocolate chips, but cinnamon flavored).  I started with with cinnamon chips melted with sweetened condensed milk, which showed some good promise right from the beginning, but still had the problem with leaking and it also caused a dark crater in the center of the cookie. So I pressed on, trying versions with heavy cream (like a ganache), cream cheese, butter, white chips and more, without much success.  At the same time, my cookie dough recipe migrated from a traditional snickerdoodle dough, to a version I had tried a few years ago that has some eggnog in it.  At that time, I was just trying to make use of extra eggnog I had in the house, but the cookies were delicious and it is the holidays, right?  So eventually I decided my answer to the cinnamon filling was also in the eggnog… and a little bit of flour added to the filling helped avoid the problems with the filling leaking or causing a big crater in the cookies.  And since these cookies were now an Inside-Out EGGNOG Snickerdoodle, a little nutmeg in the filling just seemed to add the right touch! An eggnog glaze with more cinnamon and nutmeg, and a few festive sprinkles on top of the cookies sealed the deal.
Here are a few extra tips..
  • This recipe makes a large amount of a very thick and somewhat sticky cookie dough… a large stand mixer is definitely recommended for mixing up the dough.
  • I like to portion out all of the filling “rounds” and all of the cookie dough “balls” before I start assembling the cookies. That way, I can make sure I have the same number of each, or can adjust if needed, before I start making all the cookies.
  • The dough will become a little sticky as it warms up.  Flouring your hands works well to keep the dough from sticking too much.  I also discovered (by accident, actually) that if you wear “lunch lady” gloves (food service gloves), the dough doesn’t stick to them at all and very little flour is needed… which actually speeds up the cookie assembly process. 
  • Make sure the cookies are fully baked.  If the cookies are not fully baked, you may end up with a bit of a depression in the center of the cookie (over the filling).  It is nothing a little eggnog glaze can’t “fix”, but it can be mostly avoided by making sure to fully bake the cookies.
  • If you don’t want to do the eggnog glaze on top, the cookies taste just as good when you dip the tops of the cookies in a traditional cinnamon-sugar coating before baking… you can even add a little nutmeg to the coating as well.  A good mixture is 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 3/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • If you are going to store the cookies for a while (in an airtight container, in the freezer or a cool, dry place), you might want to wait to drizzle on the eggnog glaze until an hour or so before serving.

For those who like pictures, here are a few of the cookie-making process… with the recipe following below.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. If yours is like mine, it always went through a very clumpy phase (during which I would slowly increase the mixer speed) until it loosened up to become “light and fluffy”.

After adding the egg and vanilla, then adding about half of the flour mixture, I drizzled in the eggnog with the mixer running before adding the rest of the flour mixture.

Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to fully mix all of the ingredients. The dough will be very thick and sticky.  If there are any dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl that did not get incorporated, mix these in by hand.

Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to fully mix all of the ingredients. The dough will be very thick and sticky.  If there are any dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl that did not get incorporated, mix these in by hand.[/caption]

While the dough chills, make the filling and scoop it out onto a wax paper-lined sheet. I found it easiest to get similar-sized portions of filling by using my smallest cookie scoop (#100) and filling it a little less than half full.

After dough has chilled, scoop it out into balls, about the size of golf balls (or maybe a little larger). I used a slightly-larger-than-average-sized cookie scoop (#40) and overfilled it. Putting some flour on a dinner plate allowed me to flour my hands as needed, without making too much of a mess.

Flatten dough balls into a disc about the size of your palm.

Place filling “round” in center of dough “disc”.

Smooth a little, then place on prepared baking sheets.

Bake until cookies appear fully baked and are golden brown on the edges. Making sure the centers of the cookies are fully cooked will help insure you don’t get a little depression in the center of the cookie over the filling.

The finished product… with glaze and sprinkles!

Inside-Out Eggnog Snickerdoodles 

Dough:

   1 cup butter, at room temperature

   2 cups granulated sugar

   1 large egg

   1 teaspoon vanilla

   5 cups all-purpose flour

   1 teaspoon baking soda

   1 teaspoon salt

   1 teaspoon cream of tartar

   1 cup eggnog

Filling:

   1 cup Hershey’s cinnamon chips

   2 Tablespoons eggnog

   1/4 cup all-purpose flour

   1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Glaze:

   1 cup confectioner’s sugar

   2 Tablespoons eggnog

   1/8 teaspoon salt

   1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

   1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Make dough: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternately with the eggnog, scraping down the bowl as needed. The dough will be very thick and slightly sticky.  Refrigerate at least one hour.

Make filling: Combine cinnamon chips and eggnog in a small microwave-safe bowl.  Heat on high for 15-20 seconds, stir, then heat on high again for another 15-20 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth. Add flour and nutmeg and stir until combined. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and scoop out about 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon portions of the filling onto the wax paper. Make about 40 filling “rounds” and place in refrigerator.

Assemble and bake cookies: Preheat oven to 350 F. Scoop chilled cookie dough into approximately golf ball-sized balls. Using floured hands, roll smooth, then flatten into a disc, about the size of your palm. Place a filling round in the center of the cookie dough and wrap dough around to completely cover the filling. Smooth gently with your hands. Place cookies about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone liners (cookies are larger than typical, so you will have to put fewer on each baking sheet than usual). Bake at 350 F for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown on edges.

Make glaze: In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, eggnog, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix until smooth. Add water (1 drop at a time) if needed to thin. Drizzle over mostly cooled cookies, add decorations if desired, and allow to dry.

* * * * *

At this year’s Cookie Tour I am also planning on sampling a variation of last year’s Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookie transformed as a Raspberry Almond Crumble Bar (sorry, no picture yet).  In addition to the standard recipe ingredients, you’ll need a little extra raspberry jam and some granola for the transformation. Here’s how to do it…

Raspberry Almond Crumble Bars 

(inspired by Raspberry Crumble Bars, by Ina Garten)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.  Make cookie dough as directed (recipe HERE).  Pat two-thirds (to three-fourths) of dough into the bottom of the prepared pan, coming up sides an additional 1/4″. (If needed, use a piece of plastic wrap between the dough and your hands to help smooth the dough out.) Spread 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam over surface of dough, leaving a small border outside edge. Combine remaining dough with 3/4 cup granola and mix with hands to make the crumble topping. Distribute crumble topping over top of raspberry jam. Sprinkle surface with 1/4 cup sliced almonds. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool completely before cutting. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar if desired.

And as I’ve done in the past with my Cookie Tour blog post, here are the links to previous year’s cookies.  Enjoy!