As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland, I have a limited food budget. But I also love food–both eating and making it. During PST, I cooked without an oven, refrigeration, and a non-stick skillet. Now at my permanent site, I have all three, though at a cost. This occasional series will highlight my cooking and baking and the recipes I use.
I made this recipe for a friend here, and I didn’t think he liked them. Maybe the cinnamon was too spicy. In my opinion, that first batch may have been the most delightful treat to have come out of my kitchen. Ever, too, not just from my Swazi kitchen.
I had my family try them that evening for an additional Swazi opinion. They were satisfied.
Truly speaking, these were the lightest, fluffiest cookie I have ever had. They were so good that I ate about 30 of them within three days.
I gave some to my siSwati tutor, and she took them to school. I think she shared with her friends, because she reported back to me that all her friends now wanted to be friends with me so they could learn some baking magic. My tutor said she wasn’t sharing me.
She also shared with her sister, who promptly walked down to my house and demanded I tell her what hotel I bought them from. She did not believe that such an amazing dessert could come out of a Swazi kitchen.
I decided I had to make a second batch so I could share with some friends meeting up at a hostel so two of us could cook dinner on a stove (yes, we made a Chipotle-style taco bar). Again, I received rave reviews, even though they were not as beautiful as the first batch.
Finally, I again heard from the friend I baked them for originally, who said that he did think they were good.
Unfortunately, Swazis describe everything as nice, so it is often hard to tell the degree of enjoyment. Their language just doesn’t have the words.
Total time: About 90 minutes, mostly active
Makes: Up to 50 cookies
What do you need:
- Two mixing bowls, one needs to be big
- Foil to put cookies on in stoven or a pan to put them in
- Dry measuring cups and spoons
- Whisk or fork
- 1/2 cup margarine, softened (you could put the margarine outside if it is hot, on the stoven as it warms, get it out of the fridge early enough, or as a last option you could melt part of the amount)
- 1 and 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 t vanilla
- 3 cups self-rising flour
- 2 t cream of tartar (available at Pick’n’Pay
- 1 t baking soda
- 3 t cinnamon
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/3 c granulated sugar
- 1 t cinnamon is optional
- Preheat stoven to 165*C.
- Cream the butter in the large mixing bowl. Note that this is impossible without a mixer. I used an egg beater that worked mildly well. I would suggest using a fork, wooden spoon, or spatula to incorporate any runny margarine.
- Mix in the sugar, followed by the egg and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt).
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three parts. Incorporate flour mixture before adding more flour. Dough should be thick but not sticky.
- Make topping. Add cinnamon to sugar if you like extra spiciness
- Take a spoonful of dough and roll into a ball about the size of a buckeye or kiss cookie. Roll in topping.
- Bake each tray 9 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven once the outer edges start cracking. I baked 12 cookies at a time on a piece of foil on top of the wire rack. I would remove the rack and foil and let the cookies cool at least five minutes before removing.
- While a tray is baking, prepare the next set of sugared cookie balls to bake.
Note: If your dough is too sticky to roll, do not bake on ungreased foil. Either grease the foil or bake on parchment or a greased cake pan.