These Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies won best sandwich cookie and best overall cookie at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair. Their creamy filling, phenomenal flavor, and utter deliciousness will wow you with every bite.
A Winning History
Joan Kinsley was the winning Minnesota State Fair baker. She adapted a Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest winning recipe that Annette Gustafson won with in 2020. Joan first entered the state fair baking competition in 2014, had a win, and was hooked on the annual tradition.
Joan’s version is a linzer look-alike with an opening on top so you see the inside filling inside, which is thick, creamy, rich, and absolutely divine.
We invite you to make them for the holidays and check out our step-by-step tips for reproducing these blue-ribbon-winning Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies. Did I mention that outstanding filling? =)
Special thanks to Joan fore re-baking her cookies for me. Same to the our friends at the Star Tribune for their recipe use permission and to Annette. We look forward to learning what more about this year’s Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest winners!
Secrets to Success
Joan estimates she made these cookies 5-6 times before entry drop-off at the fair. She spent hours tweaking ingredients and altering the thickness of the dough and the filling. She also adjusted baking times, temperature, and what kitchen tools she used. This seems to be a popular process among successful state fair blue ribbon baker, especially with recipes they’re new to. It pays off.
- To achieve the “perfect bake” Joan keeps the dough chilled throughout the entire prep process: before rolling it out, afterward with the scraps she re-works, and even while the cut dough waits its turn in the oven.
- Hint: Handle the dough as little as possible. It’s much easier to transfer and work with when chilled.
- Joan prefers baking them on parchment that sits on a silpat baking mat with an air bake pan underneath.
- You can opt to cut out the cookies an inch apart, directly on the parchment you’ll bake them on. This way the shapes stay fully intact because you’re not touching or moving them.
- Joan uses an adjustable rolling pin (for an exact thickness) and a Linzer tart cookie cutter.
- Joan also bakes her cookies 1 sheet at a time.
Step by Step
You make the cookies with flour, cinnamon, salt, butter, and brown sugar. Set out your butter ahead of time as you want it room temperature. Also, allow enough time to chill the dough at least 30 minutes.
When mixing the dough, it’s ready when the ingredients are just fully combined and clumps start to form. Like with pie dough, avoid over-mixing.
Pressing the dough out before chilling makes for an easier roll out. And seal it in plastic wrap. Ultimately you end up rolling it out between parchment layers.
Joan uses an adjustable rolling pin with rings to make the dough exactly 1/6th inch thick.
With the first portion of dough, you cut the cookie “bottoms.”
With the second portion of dough, you cut the cookie “tops” with the center cut out.
Tip: cut out, then chill the unbaked cookies again and they will be easy to move with an offset spatula. Bake them an inch or more apart.
You sprinkle all with a cinnamon/sugar mixture before baking, giving them some glitter and glam.
Then, simply keep a close eye on the oven. You want the bottoms to barely start to brown, which takes 12-14 minutes.
The filling features Biscoff cookie butter (available at most grocery stores in the peanut butter section), along with butter, and powdered sugar. I could eat this stuff by the spoonful.
Joan pipes hers on before spreading it even with an offset metal spatula.
All these tips and tricks were the secrets to her baking success.
The last thing you need to do is enjoy these better-than-anything blue ribbon cookies.
Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies
1 1/2 teaspoons + 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (150 grams)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) + 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) at room temperature, divided
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons Biscoff cookie butter
1 cup powdered sugar
For cookie topping: combine 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon with granulated sugar in small bowl; set aside.
For cookie dough: whisk flour and salt in medium bowl with 2 teaspoons cinnamon; set aside. In bowl of electric mixer on medium high speed, beat 1 cup butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, slowly add flour mixture, mixing just until the dough combines and comes together. Divide dough in half, flatten into wide circles (to make an easy roll out), and cover each with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Once ready to bake, preheat oven to 300° F. Remove and discard plastic wrap from 1 chilled dough portion. Roll out dough to 1/6-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch fluted edge cookie cutter, cut dough into circles. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Chill before moving them to a parchment lined silicone baking mat on top of cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough (of first portion), gathering up scraps, rerolling, and cutting and chilling as needed. You want 30 bottoms. Repeat with second dough portion for cookie tops: roll out to 1/6-inch thickness and cut out 2-inch cookie tops with an open center. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture and keep chilled until baking.
Bake cookies just until lightly golden on bottom (before edges brown), 12-14 minutes. Remove cookies from oven. Cool 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For cookie filling: in bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed, beat 6 tablespoons butter, until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add cookie butter and beat until well-combined, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually add powdered sugar while mixing. Pause and scrape down sides a bowl as needed. Spoon or pipe a dollop of filling onto center of the bottom of the cookie. Spread filling evenly and to edges. Top with second cookie, the one with opening at top. Gently press cookies together. Repeat with remaining cookies. Makes 30 cookies.