Sunday, December 9, 2012

Amoniaczki (Ammonia Cookies) for the #SundaySupper Holiday Cookie Exchange

I love taking the opportunity around the holidays to really flex my baking muscles. I try to embrace new and unusual recipes or ideas from around the world all year, but when a holiday season of giving comes around I get the opportunity to make a bunch of my earmarked "must try" treats without risking over burdening those loyal and ever giving taste testers I have. With this year's developments in the family, it's a little dicey figuring out how much is too much to do, but since cookie dough is seemingly meant for the freezer I haven't had any disasters yet!

This time around I've been finding some European gems in my cookbook travels, from the biscotti I shared on Thursday to two speculoos doughs (a gluten free one and my great grandma's vintage recipe which I'll share this week) and finally these very unusual vanilla peppermint cookies rolled in sugar. Called Amoniaczki (literally Ammonia Cookies), these old Scandanavian / Polish cookies use the potent smelling, but very effective, baker's ammonia for leavening and sour cream for a little extra tang. The combination of the peppermint oil and ammonia causes the cookies to reek to high Heaven in the oven, but the good thing is that once your kitchen stops smelling like you poured a gallon of javex on the floor and added some mouthwash (appetizing, I know), they're done! Cooked through, the cookies are light, crisp on the outside and slightly cakey inside, and full of lovely vanilla and peppermint flavour.

Amoniaczki Fingers (Ammonia Cookies)
Amoniaczki "Fingers"
I chose this cookie purely because of the strange ingredient combinations, and have to say it really delivered as a cookie I'd make anytime during the year for someone who loves the flavour of candy canes. I even used light sour cream since we had it on hand, and of course a good quality, non-hydrogenated shortening (the recipe uses it to keep the cookies white). The dough is very sticky, so you can opt to make it into "drop" cookies if you'd rather not roll it out between sheets of waxed paper and cut "fingers" similar to Italian savoiardi. Either way, make sure to generously coat the tops of the unbaked cookies with coarse "sanding" sugar for that crunchy mouthfeel when you bite in! Baker's ammonia can be purchased at most grocery and baker's supply shops by the baking soda and powder.

This week's #SundaySupper Theme is all about our favorite cookies to share during the Holidays with family and friends. We've got our top recipes at the ready and any (or all) of these will surely be the first to go from the holiday party, Cookie Exchange or Santa's snacking plate! We even have our own special host - Janet Keeler, Food & Travel Editor for the Tampa Bay Times and Author of Cookielicious! She'll be joining us at 7:00 o’clock EST on Twitter (follow #SundaySupper) with tips on baking for an "Ultimate Cookie Exchange" and answer baking questions. We are also giving away 5 signed copies of Cookielicious! Don't want to wait for the giveaway? Check out Cookielicious now while a Buy One Get One Free special is on and pick up a copy for a friend too!

Here are our #SundaySupper Cookie Exchangers: 

Do you have a favorite cookie to take to a Cookie Exchange?  Please join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper on December 9th.  In the evening we will meet at 7pm EST for our #SundaySupper Ultimate Cookie Exchange live chat. All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat. We’d also love to feature your recipe for The Ultimate Cookie Exchange on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board to share them with all of our followers, too.

Makes 24
¾ cup sugar
3 tbsp non-hydrogenated shortening
1 egg
Amoniaczki (Ammonia Cookies)
½ cup sour cream (I used low fat)
½ tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
¾ tsp bakers' ammonia
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
Sanding or coarse raw sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and shortening until smooth.
  3. Beat in the egg, sour cream, peppermint extract, vanilla and salt.
  4. Beat in the flour and bakers’ ammonia.
  5. Either drop heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets or roll out between pieces of wax paper and cut “fingers” before placing on the sheets (dough will be sticky).
  6. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
  7. Bake for 12-14 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and just a touch golden.
  8. Cool on the sheet for 30 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 83.7
Total Fat: 2.5 g
Cholesterol: 9.7 mg
Sodium: 5.2 mg
Total Carbs: 13.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
Protein: 1.6 g

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