Heading over to Nana and Poppop’s house for brunch was a weekly occurrence when I was growing up. There was always a deli spread brought in, but desserts were almost always homemade and comforting (think rice pudding, butter cookies.)
Then, there was this oddball ‘cookie’ that tasted spicy and nutty. I had a tough time deciding if I liked it, loved it or just could not stop eating it for no apparent reason whatsoever. They are unlike any other cookie I have ever had.
They were always stored in a reused Danish Butter Cookie tin with masking tape wrapped around the outside of the tin. I assumed it was to make us work harder for our food, but I am not sure that was really Nana’s goal. The tape more than likely had to do with trying to keep the cookies fresh as Tupperware was not meant for freezers as of yet (boy do I wish I could have come up with that one!)
Regardless of how I found the cookies, whether they were frozen, at room temperature or in the refrigerator, I had trouble stopping once I started. The makeup of the cookie has opposing textures, which I love. The cookie is firm, yet the brown sugar taste melts in my mouth. The cracking top contrasts with the chewiness of the inside as I pull the smiles apart.
Nana did not have a name for these gems. As I started baking them, I realized that they are always smiling at me, encouraging me to eat one more bite (or three more cookies.) One day I just started calling them Spicy Smiles and the name has stuck ever since.
Beware though…Spicy Smiles are one of the most addicting cookies I have found…and they don’t even have chocolate in them. However, as I was cutting out my smiles yesterday my mind wandered and I am pretty sure one of the smiles will be dunked in chocolate soon. Either way, isn’t it nice to have something on your plate smile at you as it greets you?
|Spicy Smiles|| || |
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 pound light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cups walnut pieces, chopped
- For the cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 350° and place oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line a 9” x 13” glass baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Combine the butter and brown sugar in a mixer, and mix on medium high speed for 2 minutes to thoroughly combine. This will not be light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat for one minute. Add the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well incorporated. Lastly, stir in the walnut pieces.
- Spread into the baking dish and bake at 350° for 35 minutes, rotating the pan around halfway through. Cool completely.
- Once cool, transfer the parchment paper to a cutting board. To make smile cutting easier, use a large sharp knife to cut one horizontal side crust off and one vertical side crust off. Using a drinking glass (about 3” in diameter,) push down on the top of the glass to cut the cookies into crescent shapes (smiles). Think of the large spicy smile block as a board. As you work your way up, there will be two columns of smiles. You will have pieces left over…yummy!
- Betsy's tidbits:
- The parchment paper will slide around when you spread the batter on it. Hold the edge of the paper to keep it in place. The edges will not be perfectly smooth, but they are not part of the smile.
- The drinking glass is used, instead of a cookie cutter, because the cookie is too high for most cookie cutters.
- The first cookie cut in each column will look like a half circle. The rest will be smiles.
- If you are not feeling like it is a smiley type of day, cut the baked goodies into bars and serve like a brownie.