I hope the name of this recipe isn’t deceiving. These cookies are definitely cinnamon and I think they taste divine, but they aren’t exactly Divinity cookies. Cinnamon Divinity cookies are different than divinity candy. Divinity candy is a nougat-like sweet, made mostly from egg whites and corn syrup. Cinnamon Divinity cookies are a crunchy-crumbly cookie usually full of chopped walnuts. I honestly had never heard of Divinity cookies until recently. I was doing a google image search when I noticed these. They looked delicious, so I clicked through. After a little further research, the sad nostalgic truth behind the recipe was revealed.
Some years ago (20 or 30 maybe?) Publix Supermarkets, a large southern chain, had a much beloved cookie in its bakery. Some old-time, small bakeries also produced them. The cookie was called a Divinity cookie. By all accounts it was light and crunchy and full of walnuts. One description I found compared the texture to pecan sandies. Publix discontinued making Divinity cookies to the dismay of its fans. I found numerous recipes trying to duplicate this nostalgic favorite. Eating walnuts or pecans would be a quick trip into anaphylactic shock for me, so I have never been tempted by pecan sandies or walnut Divinity cookies. However, bloggers wrote about these cookies with such longing, they convinced me to try an adaptation that would accommodate my nut allergy.
If you are here looking for your childhood favorite Divinity cookie, this isn’t it. I never tried the “original”, so I have no idea how these compare in texture or flavor. What I can tell you is that these Cinnamon Divinity cookies are really good. They are a crunchy-crumbly Divinity cookie for the cinnamon lover, and absolutely no nuts are used. I can easily see being nostalgic about these cookies, whether or not they are anything like the “original”.
While rolling the dough balls in granulated sugar, I discovered a fun baking tip. Did you know that plain, regular, white granulated sugar from Target, their Market Pantry brand, sparkles?! I have no idea why, but it does. I don’t usually buy sugar at Target, because some generic brand sugars melt funny when used in baking, but I was there and low on sugar. I grabbed a bag. The sugar performed just fine in baking and added a bit of sparkle to the outside of the cookie. Bonus! From now on I am going to keep a bag of Market Pantry sugar in stock, just for decorating. These are the kinds of discoveries that fuel my baking mania.
One of the motivators for adapting this Divinity cookie recipe was its desert safe potential. The recipe includes shortening and white sugar, two requirements for desert safe baking. Shortening is what gives these cookies their melt-in-your-mouth crumble. For Divinity cookies that aren’t traveling in or to desert climates, butter can be substituted for all or part of the shortening. The texture will be slightly different but the cookies will still be divine.
- 1 cup butter flavored vegetable shortening (Crisco)
- 1 cup granulated sugar plus ½ cup additional granulated sugar for rolling
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup cinnamon chips, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together shortening and 1 cup sugar.
- Mix in egg and vanilla.
- Gradually add flour mixture until combined.
- Stir in chopped cinnamon chips.
- Scoop 1 tablespoon size dough balls and roll in sugar to coat.
- Place the coated balls on the prepared baking sheet 2” apart. Use a fork to press down gently on each dough ball to flatten into a disc.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, until bottom edge begins to turn golden brown.
- Cool on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before moving to wire racks to cool completely.
- Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
Looking for more desert safe recipes for military care packages? Try these!
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