Wednesday, September 16, 2009

snickerdoodles

snickerdoodles

As it turns out, but should be really no surprise to anyone who has been following along at home, I’m not the most sane person. You see, it wasn’t enough that I baked Cheesecake-Marbled Brownies last week in hopes to win the hearts and minds of labor and delivery nurses, I became suddenly and inexplicably worried that some of them may not enjoy chocolate or cheesecake, and preoccupied myself with providing an alternative. So, to review: I have no interest in such practical things as cooking and freezing meals that will tide us over through those weeks when we have no time to cook, but I will spend my last remaining hours in the kitchen menu-planning food gifts. Totally normal, Deb. No really!

buttercream of tartarbutter and sugar, whippedready to bake

But judge away if you must, fact is, this absurd panic is a win-win for everyone. Hospital staff will have no chance against my baked goods racket, and I got to conquer snickerdoodles — a task I consider years overdue — at home (and yes, had enough leftover to briefly contemplate not sharing them at all) and you can too. Need a deal sweetener? These are perfect snickerdoodles: slightly cakey, crackly surface-d and just enough cinnamon to make your home smell like the heavens descended and landed right smack in the middle of the kitchen.

snickerdoodles, ready to bake

snickerdoodles

One year ago: Spinach Quiche
Two years ago: Red Velvet Cake
Three years ago: White Batter Bread

Snickerdoodles
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Although I did not grow up eating these cookies, when I tried one for the first time at the coffee shop I worked at in college (90s Cliché Alert, huh?) I immediately reached for a second one. A good one will be so enveloped in cinnamon-sugar dreaminess that it could convert even the most staunch chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookie junkie, and a great one will manage to be both crisp at the edges and soft nearly to the point of cakiness in the middle. If I do say so myself, I believe these are among the greats.

Makes three dozen 3 to 4-inch cookies. Your mileage will vary by the size scoop you use.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 stick or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 400°, with one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third of oven. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.

Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine. At this point, I chilled the dough for an hour (or you can overnight) before scooping it, because I otherwise found it too difficult to scoop into balls and roll but the original recipe doesn’t find this step neccessary.

Once dough has chilled, in a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Use a small ice-cream scoop* to form balls of the dough, and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after five minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool about five minutes before transferring the cookies to the rack. In theory, they can be stored in an airtight container up to one week, but I say good luck wtih that.

* Martha recommends a size 30 (1 1/4 ounce) ice cream scoop but I used a size 40 (3/4 ounce) and they came out 3 to 4 inches across, or plenty huge.


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