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Pucker-Doodles

Time 50 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling
Yields Makes 3 1/2 dozen
A plate of pucker-doodle cookies.
Sumac adds tartness to the outside of these chewy, corn-tinged cookies, a riff on the classic snickerdoodle.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times; prop styling by Leah Choi)
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This tart riff on a snickerdoodle gets its distinctive tang from sumac, a spice made from the dried and ground red berries of the sumac plant. Look for it in specialty grocery stores, spice shops or from online vendors like Burlap & Barrel and Penzey’s. Masa harina adds a pronounced corn flavor to these cookies; use the brand Maseca or look for it in the Bob’s Red Mill products section of your grocery store. Don’t use ground cornmeal, though, since the flavor will be much more subdued.

1

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, masa harina, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), combine 2 1/4 cups sugar and the butter and beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds before adding the next. Scrape down the paddle and bowl.

2

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and beat on low speed until just combined and no patches of flour remain. Add the white chocolate and stir with a silicone spatula until well mixed.

3

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop or two tablespoons, portion the dough and roll into balls, spacing the balls next to each other on the sheet. Cover the sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough balls for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.

4

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow, wide dish, stir together the remaining 1 cup sugar and the sumac. Uncover the dough balls and roll 8 dough balls in the sumac sugar to coat then arrange on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spaced evenly apart. Repeat with 8 more dough balls on a second baking sheet.

5

Bake, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through cooking, until lightly browned at the edges and just set in the center, 12 to 16 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to racks and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies directly to the racks and let cool completely. Repeat rolling dough balls in the sumac sugar and baking the remaining cookies.

Cook's Note
When measuring flour or powdered sugar, spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. Scooping compacts the ingredients, resulting in dry baked goods. And if using a stand mixer, use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl and the paddle after beating the butter and sugar together and after the dough is mixed to ensure the ingredients are evenly mixed throughout.