I do love cinnamon. When I was a kid we used to go the local shopping plaza in Sydney, a place called Miranda Fair, built and owned by none other than Westfield, the very same people who have opened in White City and are currently building the largest shopping complex in Europe at Stratford. But I digress. Saturday mornings my father would drive the family to Miranda Fair and we'd be allowed to go off on our own on the condition that we met back at a specified time at the raindrop fountain, a magnificent thing that was fine threads guiding tiny water droplets that ran from the top of the central atrium to an enormous bowl on the ground floor, like a beautiful circular rain storm in the middle of all the shops. I loved wandering about, finding new things, sniffing perfume samples and looking in bookshops trying not to spend my pocket money. That resolve would last perhaps an hour and then there would be the siren call of the donut stand, that lovely smell filling the air. My favourite thing, without doubt, was blowing my hoarded pennies buying hot donuts liberally dipped in cinnamon sugar and wrapped in a napkin to be scoffed fast as possible. At that age, sharing was not my forté.
A variation on the theme, when I was a teenager and allowed to make my own way to the shops on a Saturday morning was to while away an hour in a café drinking bottomless cups of coffee and feasting on cinnamon toast. This was the bread version of those donuts - hot buttered toast generously sprinkled with a mix of cinnamon and granular sugar. Versions of it were made at home on occasions, but it's been a while since I saw such a delight on a menu. Peculiarly Oz thing perhaps.
My baking challenge this week was an easy one after I caught sight of this recipe in the Australian Women's Weekly Bake. All that childish pleasure ripe to be revisited. It is really quick and easy, even the rolling of dough in the coating. I'm pleased to say that cinnamon and sugar tastes as good in the mouth as it does in my mind.
Crispy edges with a chewy centre, these are a delightful biscuit with coffee
250g butter, softened
1 tspn vanilla extract
110g light brown sugar
220g caster sugar
410g plain flour
1 tspn bicarb of soda
1/2 tspn ground nutmeg
1 tbspn caster sugar, extra
2 tspns ground cinnamon
Beat the butter, vanilla and both brown and caster sugars in a small bowl with electric mixer until it is light and fluffy - about 7 or 8 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl then stir in the sifted flour, soda and nutmeg in two batches. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or longer.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Combine the extra caster sugar and cinnamon on a small plate. Roll about a tablespoon of dough into a ball then roll the ball in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Place the balls about 7cm/3 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake biscuits for about 12 minutes till golden and smelling gorgeous. Cool on trays.
And that's it - easy peasy and a total delight.