Cinnamon lovers will adore these tender, softly-spiced cookies with an addictive cinnamon crumb topping. They are the cookie version of your favorite bakery muffins!
The Tenderness Secret
For the most tender cookie, we use powdered sugar and cake flour. These two ingredients together create a fine crumb, which means smaller pockets of air in the cookie and a very soft interior. Cake flour has less protein than all purpose flour, so it develops less gluten, leaving a more tender result. In addition, powdered sugar dissolves more readily, evenly distributing the sweetness without encouraging full gluten development in the flour. This also makes a more tender cookie!
Crumbs but not Crumbly
The powdered sugar holds onto less moisture, so switching out the sugars alone would make for a dry cookie. So, while many cookie recipes do not have liquid added to the batter, we’ve included a healthy dose of almond milk to keep the cookie from becoming dry and crumbly in the oven.
The Real Crumb – Topping
The best element of these cookies is that crumb topping. It’s exactly the same as crumbs you find on your favorite muffin or coffee cake and they are truly delectable little morsels. Little pops of flavor covering each cookie!
The crumb topping is made by mixing together softened butter, a little flour, sugar, and cinnamon. The best mixing tools are your fingers, which can easily distribute the flour, sugar, and cinnamon evenly through the butter without creating a dough. Don’t like getting your hands so messy? Me either. So, a close second in the crumb mixing tool department is a fork. Just press pieces of butter through the tines into the flour over and over again until everything is fully combined. All of the dry ingredients should be fully mixed in, but the whole thing should be crumbly.
Weigh Your Ingredients
These Cinnamon Crumb Cookies are sensitive. You will hurt their feelings and your own if you add too much flour or sugar. And getting too much of either of those ingredients is way too easy if you use measuring cups! Weigh your ingredients with a simple, inexpensive food scale like this one and you will be using the exact same amount as we did when we tested these cookies. Trust us, that is what you want and the only way to guarantee you end up with delicious cookie results.
Interestingly, even measuring cups made by the same manufacturer hold different amounts. Cups made by different manufacturers, especially those that come in different shapes, can hold vastly different amounts. Up to an ounce higher or lower, which will make or break your cookies and cakes. These baked items, and successful recipes, depend on a specific ratio of ingredients. Vary by even a quarter of an ounce can have a big effect. A difference of an ounce gives you a whole other recipe. So, think of that little scale as an investment – insurance against baking fails. It is so very worth it!
More Cookie Goodness
Want more cookies? Us too. Always! How about setting up a cookie platter for your Super Bowl party this weekend? Start with some Cinnamon Crumb Cookies, then add at least two other types of cookie. These are all fantastic options:
- Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies
- Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Gluten Free Almond Caramel Cookies
- Strawberry Marshmallow Cookies
- Grandpa’s Oatmeal Cookies
- Banana Blueberry Cookies
- Outstanding Sweet and Salty Cookies
- The Best Chewy Chocolate Cherry Cookies
Cinnamon Crumb Cookies
For the Cookies:
- 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 ounces (1-1/2 cups) confectioner’s sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
- 1 whole large egg
- 12 ounces (3 cups + 3 tablespoons) cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 2-1/2 ounces (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) almond milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Crumb Topping:
- 1 ounce (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
- 1-3/4 ounce (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
- Prep: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two sheet pans by lining them with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Cream the Butter and Sugar: Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer) and mix with the paddle attachment on low speed until the sugar is incorporated into the butter. Turn the mixer to medium and continue mixing for 5 minutes. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
- Add the Egg: Add the egg and mix again on low speed to incorporate, then on medium speed for 3-5 minutes. The egg should be fully incorporated and the mixture should return to a light and fluffy texture. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add Dry Ingredients and Milk: Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a separate medium bowl. Add this to the mixing bowl along with the almond milk and vanilla. Mix on low speed just until everything is incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl again to mix in any remaining dry flour. Set aside while you make your crumb topping.
- Make Your Crumb Topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt for the topping. Add the butter and, using a fork or your fingers, combine it with the dry ingredients until fully incorporated, turning and pressing to create crumbs.
- Scoop the Cookies: Using a medium cookie scoop (#40, which holds 2 tablespoons of dough), scoop out the batter and place 2 inches apart on your prepared cookie sheets. Press down gently on each cookie to flatten the top. (You may need to lightly wet your palm so that the dough doesn’t stick. Just keep a damp paper towel nearby and touch your palm to it between each cookie.)
- Add the Crumbs: Gently press about a teaspoon of crumbs onto the top of each cookie as well as you can. It’s okay if some fall, but you want each cookie to be covered with crumbs. Evenly distribute any extra crumbs over the tops of the cookies.
- Bake: Bake your cookies in your preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are just starting to brown. The cookies should look dry on the top but overall be rather pale.
- Cool and Enjoy: Cool on the pans for 2 minutes, then move to a rack to cool completely.
- Any type of milk can be substituted for the almond milk in both the cookies and frosting.
- The edges of these cookies will soften slightly when stored.
- These are best eaten within 2 days of baking, but they will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or well wrapped in the freezer for up to 3 months.