Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Gumdrop Cookies

I wanted to make these cookies while I had my Christmas License to Cookie, back in November and December. Not only did I miss that opportunity, but I completely forgot about the gumdrops I had bought to make them until very recently. I was looking for something else in my crammed pantry closet, saw the bag of candy, and almost asked my husband why he was buying such things.

Luckily I remembered their original purpose before I accused a good man of going to the dietary dark side. I still put off the actually making of the cookies, however, until the night before I was leaving on vacation (the vacation I mentioned here). There was nothing to do but take those cookies along with us. Luckily (or sadly?), I love eating cookies in the car.

Anyway, this recipe is a simple adaptation of this basic chocolate chip cookie, which I love. I changed the ratio of white to brown sugar in favor of the white, in hopes of carrying that sugary goodness from the coating on the gumdrops through the rest of the cookie and to avoid any contrast with the fruit flavors that might be caused by the molasses in the brown sugar. I’d say that worked very well, and, since the chewy, gooeyness of the gumdrops helps keep the cookies nice and soft, the moisture from additional brown sugar is not missed.

I really wanted to make these cookies with the small, thimble-shaped gumdrops that are about the size of the end of a thumb. I also, however, wanted to use fruit-flavored, rather than spice-flavored, gumdrops to make a fruity-sweet cookie. I could not find small, fruit-flavored drops anywhere, however, so I opted for “fruit slices,” the larger, wedge-shaped gumdrops and chopped them up for my cookies.

Since the candy gets mixed into the dough, the colorful gumdrops don’t show much in resulting pale blond cookie. If you wanted to make a prettier cookie, you might be able to press additional gumdrops into the tops of the unbaked cookies (see the method I used for M&Ms in this post.)

The flavor and textural success of this experiment suggests that plenty of other candies could go into this basic drop-cookie dough and make really yummy cookies. I’m thinking crushed peppermint candies would be good in a holiday cookie, or some really wild cookies might result from the addition of intensely flavored black licorice. In any case, a bit of a sweet tooth is required, since there’s nothing to compromise with that sweet candy, the way, say, slightly bitter chocolate might. For better or for worse, at this point in my life, I’m okay with that!

Gumdrop Cookies
If you use small gumdrops, you do not need to chop them.

This dough freezes well if wrapped in air-tight packaging. Thaw and bake as directed below.

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine salt
1 ½ sticks butter, soft
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups chopped or snipped fruit-flavored gumdrops

1. In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk together to combine well. Set aside.

2. Place the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if stirring by hand). Cream together on medium-low speed until very smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until completely combined after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

4. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture a little at a time until just combined. Add the gumdrops and stir in at low speed until well-distributed.

5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, or place in a covered bowl and refrigerate for about 2 hours or up to 48 hours. (This resting step is not absolutely necessary, but I feel that it improves the cookies. The dough can also be frozen at this point.)

6. Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with parchment.

7. Scoop the dough onto the prepared sheets in about 2-tablespoon balls. Bake at 375 F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and set in the middle.

8. Remove from the oven and cool on the pan on a wire rack for 2 minutes. Remove from the cookie sheets and cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

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