Brown Sugar Cookies

Friday is snack sharing day at little C’s school.  Of course this has put me in an absolute state thinking of what to make.  I don’t know anything about pre-school and its customs.  What is de rigueur?  What is taboo?  My only other experience with pre-school was when I actually went myself, and try as I might, I can’t recall too much detail.  I am quite familiar however, with snacking, my most recent experience having been just this afternoon.

But what snack to bring to pre-school?  I figure something neat and portable and not prone to spoilage.  Something not too junky, but yummy nonetheless and appealing to the little ones.  Not one to be shy about asking for help, I sought guidance from little C’s teacher.  Could I bring some chocolate chip cookies?  I was thinking of these ones.  They discourage chocolate though, so that was out.  Although, hmmm, I do seem to remember one of little C’s classmates chomping on some Hello Panda.  And then there was that one day that I found fruit loops in her bag – not chocolate to be sure, but a wee bit lower on the food chain than homemade chocolate chip cookies don’t you think?

Anyway.  I am not going to complain because I love little C’s teachers.  They are the sweetest things, as I imagine all pre-school teachers must be.  And I am, in truth, grateful that the school espouses healthful eating, while, at the same time, is not too boot-campish about it.

So…what to make?  This.

Brown Sugar Cookies
(adapted from Joy the Baker)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl.  Set aside.
- Place the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat on medium speed for one minute more.
- Add the dry ingredients, all at once, to the butter and sugar mixture.  Beat on low speed until the dough begins to come together and the flour disappears.  Stop the mixer and finish incorporating the ingredients with a spatula or wooden spoon.  Once all the flour is thoroughly mixed in, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or transfer to a sealed container if your mixer bowl, like mine, does not fit into the fridge).
- After chilling, scoop dough into tablespoon-sized balls.  Place on a parchment-line cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.  Remove from the oven and cool on the pan for 5 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  The cookies will last, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 5 days.

The recipe calls for 30 minutes of chilling but I have actually both chilled these overnight, and not at all, and both batches came out well.  I adjusted the original recipe somewhat – I lessened the ginger only because I was nervous about ginger and pre-schoolers.  I also decreased the baking soda because the first batch I made, with the full 2 teaspoons, had a slight soapy aftertaste (and the lessening did not seem to have any ill effects on the cookies). 

If you’d like to make this for your child to take to school, but are busy with work, just prepare the dough the night before (it comes together in a snap I promise you) and bake it the next morning before leaving.

These make for a perfect snack -- school or otherwise.  They are much like chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate, which some may find a bit tragic, but the cinnamon and ginger make this a cookie in its own right.  Plus, I love brown sugar.  Use the darkest you can find!  The cookies are fantastic with coffee or tea and, I am certain, although I have yet to try it, they would be excellent with some good vanilla ice cream.

I couldn’t conduct a post-cookie survey with the pre-schoolers so I will just take the sparse remains left in little C’s snack container to be a positive review!