How to make sugar cookies
Sugar Cookies Recipe with a Caribbean Twist
You can’t really do Christmas without a few naughty treats, so I'm sharing with you this recipe for sugar cookies with my Caribbean twist. If you’re wondering what the Caribbean twist is, it’s three Caribbean spices - cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice. These three spices can be found in loads of Caribbean recipes, and grow abundantly on the islands, particularly Grenada which is also known as ‘the spice island’. Luckily, these spices can be found in most supermarkets and food markets in the UK so we can use them in our recipes over here. Although not usually included in sugar cookie recipes, the spices adds to that warm and fuzzy Christmas feeling that is perfect for the winter months! Here is some more information about these Caribbean spices:
Cinnamon - Cinnamon trees grow abundantly on many Caribbean islands (particularly Grenada, as mentioned before). It is a spice often used in sweet treats, but is also a key ingredient in many savoury Caribbean dishes and seasonings, notably jerk seasoning. Cinnamon can be sold as quills, strips of bark (cinnamon leaf) as as a ground powder. For ease, in this recipe I will be using ground cinnamon powder.
Nutmeg - The nutmeg is known as ‘Grenada’s gold’ and Grenada supplies around forty percent of the world's nutmeg! It is so important to the island that it is also featured on the Grenadian flag. Nutmeg also grows on other Caribbean islands. I personally prefer to use the whole nutmeg over the ground nutmeg, breaking the outer shell to get to the seed that can be grated into the mixture.
Allspice - Allspice berries, also know as pimento seeds, are the dried fruit from a pimento tree. The flavour is described as a mixture of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg - it is also a notable ingredient in jerk seasoning. You can use the whole berries to cook with, as long as you remember to remove them before eating, or you can use it as a ground powder. For this recipe I will use the allspice ground.
Making sugar cookies are a Christmas tradition in many families, but I wanted to put a Caribbean twist on them by adding a few Caribbean spices and cutting the cookies in tropical shapes like palm trees, monstera leaves and hibiscus flowers. I found these amazing cookie cutters from Bakerlogy and they have so many fun cookie cutter shapes in their Etsy shop, so I recommend checking them out.
This recipe was inspired and adapted from the amazing website Recipe Tin Eats. Be sure to check out all of Nagi’s recipes over on the website and Instagram. There are hundreds of delicious recipes on the site, and if you want to try making the sugar cookies without the amendments, you can by following Nagi’s Christmas Cookies recipe. If you already have your own tried and tested sugar cookies recipe that you love, you could also use that but add in the spices to give them the Caribbean twist.
Now for the Caribbean Sugar Cookies Recipe:
220g caster sugar
225g unsalted butter
1.5 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1 large egg
450g plain flour
0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp nutmeg
0.5 tsp ground allspice
0.75 tsp salt
0.75 tsp baking powder
Step 1 - Get all your ingredients together. You will also need a large mixing bowl, electric whisk, measuring spoons, cookie cutters, baking tray(s) and baking/parchment paper.
Step 2 - Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 4 (180°C) and line your baking trays with baking paper. You may need more than one tray to accommodate for all the cookies!
Step 3 - Add your unsalted butter and caster sugar to your mixing bowl, then using your electric whisk, mix together until creamy.
Step 4 - The next step is to add your large egg and vanilla or almond extract. Beat together with your electric whisk until combined together smoothly.
Step 5 - Then add the dry ingredients - plain flour, baking powder and salt. We also get to add the all-important Caribbean spices here, so add in your cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg! Mix together slowly at first, and then use your electric whisk to finish.
Step 6 - Sprinkle some flour on your work surface then tip out the cookie dough. Pat the dough together, then cut into two and shape into circles. Roll out both halves to 0.5cm thickness, dusting with flour so it doesn’t stick.
Step 7 - Using your preferred cookie cutters, cut out your cookie shapes then transfer to your baking trays. The number of cookies you get depends on the size of your cookie cutters.
Step 8 - Bake for 10 minutes. If your cookies cover two baking trays, you can place both in the oven (one on the top shelf and one beneath) but swap the trays halfway through cooking so they both cook evenly.
Step 9 - Take the trays out of the oven, and allow the cookie to cool completely on the baking trays.
These cookies are delicious by themselves, but if you want to decorate them to add some colour, you can do using royal icing and food colouring. There are some great decorating tutorials online like this one from Biscuiteers, Sally’s Baking Addiction and Recipe Tin Eats.