My first job, way back when I was 15 years old, was working in a Jewish bakery. I worked behind the counter filling customer’s boxes with poppy seed hamentaschen, chocolate rugelach, fruit-filled pastries, and delightful little cookies. Not to mention the chocolate babkas! But, I will never forget those cookies. They were little almost bite-sized, rectangular pieces of heaven.
Some had mini chocolate chips and confectioners sugar on top. Mmmm, they melted in your mouth. Others had a thin, delicate, almost solid layer of chocolate or rainbow colored sprinkles. These were like a teeny tiny version of those big round sprinkle cookies that you find in Italian or Jewish bakeries. Even years later, I would stop by on a regular basis to get my fix of those cookies. Sadly, that family-owned bakery closed many years ago, so I will never again get to taste those cookies. 🙁
Since I can’t go and buy my all-time favorite cookies anymore, I decided to make them myself. Here’s what I did to recreate these little, mini-cookies. I used a basic butter cookie recipe from food.com. I rolled the dough and used a knife and ruler to cut it into small rectangles. Half of them I coated with chocolate or rainbow sprinkles mushing the sprinkles in a bit. The other half I covered with mini chocolate chips and then coated them with confectioner’s sugar after they cooled off. The recipe and instructions are below.
It was a little time consuming in terms of rolling, cutting, getting just the right size and shape, and getting all of the sprinkles to stay on the cookies before baking. But, they were well worth the effort. They came pretty close to the bakery version (maybe not exactly, but close). I swear they tasted even better and more like the ones from the bakery after a couple of days. And they did not last long; my trusty taste-testers gobbled them down in no time at all.
These delicate, little cookie creations would be great “any-time” cookies; they would also be nice to bring to someone’s house for a special occasion. I am going to add them to my list of Christmas cookies to bake this year. They are the perfect size for people to munch on during the holidays.
One thing that I neglected to mention is that they also made a chocolate version of these cookies at the bakery. And, oh yes, they were good! I will experiment with the chocolate version and report back. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these delightful little treats. Let me know what you think!
Side Story for interested baking novices (like me!), otherwise skip to recipe below… Through my quest to recreate my favorite bakery cookies, I learned a few things about baking and about how the ratio of ingredients can dramatically change the consistency of the dough and of the cookie. I tried two different recipes for comparison. I thought maybe I could get even closer to the taste and consistency of those bakery cookies if I tried a recipe for Italian sprinkle bakery cookies from Saveur.com. My intention was to roll and cut the dough into little rectangles again. But, as it turns out, the dough was way too wet to roll and cut. I ended up turning the dough into little balls and then flattening them with a cup as the recipe instructed.
They were definitely a different consistency compared to the classic butter cookies. These were more crispy on the outside and light on the inside, while the butter cookies were more dense and had more of a snap to them. After closer inspection of the recipes, I realized that the butter cookies had a higher ratio of flour to butter and egg than the Italian sprinkle cookies (and other little differences in salt and baking powder). That may explain why the dough was so wet and why the baked cookie had such a different consistency. The Italian sprinkle cookies were good and I would make them again. But, this was not the right recipe to recreate the bakery cookies. The good news is that I learned something about baking and reading recipes, and I also found yet another good cookie recipe!
Basic butter cookie recipe below adapted from food.com.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- rainbow and chocolate sprinkles
- mini chocolate chips
- confectioner's sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Cream butter and sugar using a hand mixer at medium speed. Mix about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the egg and vanilla. Mix another 2 minutes on medium speed. Set aside.
- Whisk together flour and baking powder.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix with hand mixer.
- Use your hands to form the dough into two disks.
- Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
- If you refrigerate for longer than an hour, then take dough out of fridge to soften a little or it will be way too hard to roll. Let it sit for about 20 minutes.
- Then, starting with the first disk, roll dough to ¼ inch.
- Using a sharp knife and a ruler, cut dough into small rectangles or squares. It's up to you how big or small you want to make them. But, I would say no more than 2 inches long.
- Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Decorate cookies with either sprinkles or mini chocolate chips. Lightly press chocolate chips or sprinkles into cookies.
- Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes or until the cookies just start to lightly brown. Check them at least by 6 minutes to account for variations in oven temperature. These are tiny cookies and they bake fast.
- Let sit on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Then transfer cookies to cooling racks.
- Repeat with second disk.
- For the cookies with mini chocolate chips, once they are completely cooled, then coat the tops of the cookies generously with confectioner's sugar.