Can you believe that when I met him TD had never had a churro? You think you know someone and BAM a little fact like that slips out.
On the one hand, I’ll admit it was pretty ethnocentric of me to believe that the churro was as ubiquitous in other parts of the country as it is in Southern California. On the other hand, we’re talking about a man who lists the Choco Taco as a favorite dessert. Explains a lot doesn’t it?
Whether or not churros are a part of your cultural landscape, you can’t deny the allure of cinnamon and sugar together. Add in a cinnamon infused cream cheese filling and you’ve got yourself an easy win.
cinnamon shells with cinnamon cream cheese filling and a dusting of cinnamon sugar on top
for the shells, makes 18-20 shells for 9-10 finished cookies
- 60 grams almond meal
- 100 grams confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 50 grams egg whites
- 20 grams granulated sugar
Note: I did not use food coloring in these guys because the little flecks on cinnamon were too pretty to cover up.
- Preheat oven to 315 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. I like to draw the circles with Sharpie on a couple of pieces of parchment as a stencil. In order to use them multiple times I lay another piece of parchment over the top.
- Weigh and measure out all of your ingredients. When I’m making multiple batches I actually weigh out the almond flour, sugar and any other dry ingredients into separate zip-lock baggies and label them.
- In a food processor fitted with a blade, pulse together almond meal, cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar. Give it a few pulses then sift into a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or an electric hand mixer), add the egg whites. Beat on medium low until frothy.
- Increase the speed and slowly add the granulated sugar and pinch of salt.
- Beat eggs until they form soft peaks.
- Working in three batches, add first portion of almond meal mixture to the egg-whites. Gently fold until just combined. Repeat with the additional two portions of meal folding to combine while using as few folds as possible.
- To test if the batter is ready to pipe, scoop about 1/4 tsp onto a flat surface. The batter should act like lava and spread enough to lose its peak but not its shape. I usually do this test several times starting at the point where everything is just combined. If you under-mix the batter you can always give it a few more folds. However, you are out of luck if you over mix. So, err on the side of multiple tests.
- When the batter is ready, pour it into your piping bag. To be honest, I don’t bother with a tip, I just snip the bag about an inch or so from the tip.
- Pipe your shells onto the parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Allow to sit for 10-60 minutes or until the shells appear dry. I have found this process is heavily dependent on the weather. The more moisture in the air, the longer they need to sit.
- Working with one sheet at a time, bake for about 20 minutes. To test, gently grab one corner of the parchment and attempt to peel it from the shell. A clean peel means the shells are done. If they are sticky, back in the oven for another 5 minutes and test again.
- Let the shells cool but once cool, carefully remove from the parchment. I have found that you don’t want to let the cooled shells sit on the parchment.
for the filling
- 4 ounces cream cheese (I like to use a lower fat version to keep the filling from being too heavy)
- 1 C confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (more to taste)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Optional: 4 TBS or so of cinnamon sugar for dusting (4TBS granulated sugar + 1 /2 tsp cinnamon)
- Beat the cream cheese with an electric hand-mixer until smooth.
- Add- in remaining ingredients and beat until combined.
- Once the sandwich cookies are filled, dip the finished cookie in a shallow dish of cinnamon and sugar. The surface tension should be enough to keep some of the fine granules stuck to the cookie.