This is my variation of a traditional Mexican cookie that bakes up to have a puffy appearance. From the very first time I made those cookies, which are usually shaped like little piggies, I thought they’d look nice cut into the shape of stars. Actually, there are many shapes that I think would work well for this dough, but stars were the first that came to mind. Because these cookies aren’t overly sweet, I recommend sprinkling them with confectioner’s sugar once they’ve cooled completely. Or you can decorate them with a glaze of royal icing and festive sprinkles, like I did.
Start by combining the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside until needed.
The next step is to simmer a flavorful concoction of water, dark brown sugar, a cinnamon stick, and Lyle’s golden syrup until the sugar dissolves.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of discovering golden syrup, I strongly, repeat STRONGLY, encourage you to try it. In a word, it’s amazing - thick and sweet and full of caramel flavor. It’s an excellent substitution for any recipe that calls for honey or corn syrup. It’s actually a byproduct of the sugar refining process, which results in this amazing invert sugar (bonus - that means it doesn’t crystalize very easily).
If needed, you can replace the golden syrup with an equal amount of honey or light corn syrup, but Lyle’s golden syrup is superb and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Okay, back to the recipe. Heat the sugar syrup on the stove top, stirring frequently, until the brown sugar completely dissolves.
Remove the sugar syrup from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick.
Add the cold butter and stir until the butter melts. Allow the mixture to rest for about 10 minutes as it cools.
After 10 minutes, add an egg and whisk well to combine.
That was easy!
Add the reserved flour mixture to the sugar syrup.
Stir with a silicone spatula until no traces of dry flour remain, being sure to press out any lumps as you stir.
Don’t be alarmed when the dough looks and feels like peanut butter - it will firm up after it chills.
Put the soft dough in a quart-size zipper bag and seal it closed.
Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or up to 5 days).
Break off chunks of dough and roll them between lightly floured layers of waxed paper to 3/16 to 1/4-inch thickness. I like to use rolling guides to ensure every cookie is exactly the same thickness.
Place the cutouts on silicone-lined sheet pans and bake for 8-12 minutes (depending on size) or until golden brown.
Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely before sprinkling with confectioners sugar or decorating with royal icing (recipe below).
For chewy cookies, enjoy on the day they’re baked. After that, they firm to a crisp texture which is particularly good dipped in a hot beverage.
Items used to make this recipe:
commercial half sheet pans https://amzn.to/2JcYDvP
silpat silicone pan liners https://amzn.to/2XGwh5a
rolling guides https://amzn.to/2XrFH51
star cutters https://amzn.to/2XqvP6S
ceylon cinnamon sticks https://amzn.to/2Jc2VU3
my favorite digital scale https://amzn.to/30bC9AY
meringue powder https://amzn.to/2lBqKvh
star sprinkles https://amzn.to/2lBs0P1
red sanding sugar https://amzn.to/2lD2MQl
blue sanding sugar https://amzn.to/2lCMtTC
red, white, and blue nonpareils sprinkles https://amzn.to/2lCMWFm
white nonpareils sprinkles https://amzn.to/2JzMH7n
white sugar pearls https://amzn.to/2lBQPdI
patriotic sprinkles https://amzn.to/2lCQ1oU
gel food colors https://amzn.to/2lbJNfp
Puffy Star Cookies
makes 3-4 dozen cookies
11.25 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
5 ounces (about 11 tablespoons) dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons (90ml) water
1 tablespoon (30ml) Lyle’s golden syrup (may substitute honey or light corn syrup)
1 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 teaspoons ground - try to find Ceylon or “true” cinnamon)
8 tablespoons (4oz or 113g) unsalted butter, cold
1 large egg (50g without shell)
optional: confectioners sugar or royal icing for decorating (recipe below)
In a medium bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), whisk together to flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a small saucepan oven medium heat, combine the dark brown sugar, water, golden syrup, and cinnamon stick; stir until sugar completely dissolved.
Remove sugar mixture from heat and stir in butter until it melts; allow to cool for 10 minutes, then vigorously whisk in the egg until completely incorporated (be sure sugar mixture isn’t hot of the egg will scramble).
Add the brown sugar/egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix by hand using a spatula until no traces of dry flour remain, being sure to press out any lumps that may have formed..
Transfer the dough to a large plastic zipper bag and chill for at least 2 hours (or up to 5 days).
Roll chilled dough between layers of floured wax paper to 3/16 to 1/4-inch thickness; cut out desired shapes using cutters dipped in flour and place on prepared sheet pans (I use rolling guides to ensure each cookie is exactly the same thickness).
Bake cookies, one tray at a time, for 8-12 minutes (depending on the size) or until puffed and golden brown.
Allow cookies to cool completely before dusting with confectioners sugar or glazing with royal icing.
adapted from Pati Jinich
makes 2 cups
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
4-5 tablespoons water, room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Using the whisk attachment on a hand mixer, beat the confectioners sugar, meringue powder, water, and pure vanilla extract together in a medium mixing bowl for 5 minutes, adjusting consistency by adding more water or confectioners sugar if needed.
If desired, color icing with gel paste.
Dip cookies in icing or pipe icing on cookies; sprinkle with edible decorations and allow icing to set for at least 1 hour before serving.