There is a strange, maybe even odd and certainly random story to tell you about today’s cookie! Today has been a very busy day for us in our preparation for Christmas, especially a Christmas party we are attending tomorrow. I had not picked a Christmas cookie for the day yet and asked my husband if he had any ideas.
I went over to my baking books and chose my King Arthur baking book. I’ve not used it as much as I have wanted to. We skimmed the cookies and saw one that we both wanted to try. Then we saw the recipe called for Baker’s Ammonia. Not something I have nor ever heard about.
We decided to skip the cookie since getting any special ingredient is not going to happen without purchasing online and waiting 7+ days for it to arrive. I then chose my Fannie cook book, thought we should thumb through it and see if anything called out to us. As Daniel was searching, I noticed a small newspaper clipping sitting in the front of the cook book.
Mind you, this Fannie cook book is ages old and I purchased it very used at a library sale before we moved here to Japan and I have not really looked at it since buying it. Daniel grabs the small clipping and he reads what it says:
Q. An old cookie recipe that’s a favorite of mine calls for baking ammonia. Do you know of a source or a good substitute?
A. Baking ammonia, also called “ammonium bicarbonate,” “ammonium carbonate” and “hartshorn” was popular in the first half of the century before baking powder was widely available. Substitute 1 teaspoon baking powder plus 1 teaspoon baking soda for 1 teaspoon baking ammonia.
We both knew in an instant that baking this cookie was meant to be! May sound cheesy or whatever but seriously…it was meant to be,lol. These are very yummy and on the sweet side too but so very delicious and crisp. We chose to use red & green colored sugar to make it more festive for Christmas!
One package arrived today! It was Daniel’s Christmas Eve gift, so I am very happy it came. We are still waiting on several more packages and we have a few more days! Also, it is snowing after having some rain! I hope it snows all night!
- 2 to 3 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- ½ Teaspoon Baker's Ammonia or 1½ Teaspoons Baking Powder
- ¾ to 1 Teaspoon Salt*
- 1¼ Cups Sugar
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter
- 2 Cups Flour
- Coarse or granulated sugar for topping, optional
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Combine the vanilla, baker's ammonia, and salt in a very small bowl. Stir to dissolve the ammonia; the salt won't fully dissolve. Combine the vanilla mixture with the butter and sugar, and beat till smooth.
- Mix in the flour; the mixture will seem quite dry at first.
- Continue beating until the dough comes together.
- Break off pieces of dough about the size of a shelled chestnut (about ½ ounce); a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here. Roll the pieces into balls. Space them no the prepared baking sheets, leaving 1½" between them.
- For somewhat sweeter cookies with the added crunch of sugar topping, roll them in coarse or granulated sugar before placing them on the baking sheets.
- Use the bottom of a glass, dipped in sugar if necessary to prevent sticking, to flatten the balls to about ⅜" thick. If you have it, use the end of the food pusher from a food processor; many of these have a circular, ridged pattern on their end, which imprints the cookies with a nice design.
- Bake the cookies until they're a very light golden brown around the edges, about 30 minutes.
- Remove them from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool.