Donut Hole Cookies
These adorable little cookies are adapted from one of my most dog-eared cookbooks, How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson. Nigella calls them Snickerdoodles (the classic sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon-sugar) but since they taste and look so much like donut holes, my kids have renamed them Donut Hole cookies. I know they look plain, but I guarantee you can’t eat just one.
Before you bake them, note that the recipe calls for two whole tablespoons of cinnamon. I point that out only because I’ve started making them on several occasions thinking I had plenty of cinnamon but then ran out, so just be sure you have enough. Also, despite their resemblance to donut holes, they’re not moist and chewy. They’re more of a biscuit-type cookie, something you’d serve with tea or coffee.
Unlike most Snickerdoodles, these cookies are loaded with nutmeg, which is what gives them their distinct donut-y taste. I grate my own but there’s no need to bother as long as your ground nutmeg is reasonably fresh.
To begin, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and give the mixture a good whisk to combine.
Set that aside, then place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and cream until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs one by one. Be sure they are at room temperature, otherwise the mixture will curdle. To warm them up quickly, simply place them in a small dish of very warm water for 5-10 minutes.
Next, beat in the vanilla.
Add the flour mixture.
Then mix on low speed until the dough comes together in a cohesive mass.
Make the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Then, with your fingers, squeeze off tablespoons of dough and roll in the cinnamon-sugar.
Arrange the balls on parchment lined baking sheets.
Bake for 15 minutes, then let cool slightly and roll in cinnamon-sugar again.
Cool cookies on rack and enjoy.
Donut Hole Cookies
- 3-1/3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- Set racks in middle and upper thirds of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter with 3/4 cup sugar until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl and beating until well incorporated after each addition. Quickly beat in vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until the dough comes together into a cohesive mass (it may look crumbly at first).
- Place remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well. Using your hands, pinch off about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough and roll into a ball, then roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture and set on baking sheet. Continue with remaining dough, spacing balls about 2 inches apart. Bake first batch for 15 minutes, rotating pans once halfway through (move bottom pan to top and top pan to bottom). When cookies are cool enough to handle but still warm, roll again in cinnamon-sugar, then set on rack to cool. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.