Thursday, July 14, 2011

.funny name, serious cookie.

as soon as one of my good friends here in memphis told me she was hosting a girls only party at her house, my first instinct was to start thinking about what i wanted to bake. for many of the same reasons i've mentioned in other baking ventures, i needed something portable. no one wants to walk around a party with a crumbly pie and fork. ok, i would, but still.

what's that i hear? cookies are a great baked good that are also good on the go? well, i couldn't agree more. there's a certain cookie that has always intrigued me by it's name alone. the snickerdoodle. i've ordered it many times before at a bakery here or there and somehow, my word-magnetized brain expects to bite into something snickery. while in fact, they are nothing at all like snickers candy bars.

i'm not sure why i continued to believe something more indulgent would come from a bite of this cookie, but i somehow disappointed myself every time. once i finally resolved that this cookie is nothing like its name insinuates, i was able to focus on what it really was.

an airy, buttery sugar cookie with a cinnamon coated twist. really, snickerdoodles have more syllables in the name than it does taste elements. hm, this makes me sound like i don't enjoy these. i do, really. they're mild, cinnamony, and soft if baked just right.

i found this classic recipe on the classic martha's website.

snickerdoodle cookies
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup pure vegetable shortening
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 degrees, with one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third of oven. Line baking sheets with Silpat 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, shortening, 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.

In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Use a small (1 1/4-ounce) ice-cream scoop to form balls of the dough, and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place about 2 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 5 minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool about 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to the rack. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

when making these, it could be really easy to have the bottom of these cookies a little more crisp (burnt) than the top. it is very important, to trade the pans positions from top to bottom so that the entire snickerdoodle is evenly baked on all sides. i wouldn't know this from personal experience or anything.

here were the best parts of making these snickerdoodles for me:
a.) i ended up with extra cinnamon sugar to use on toast the next morning for breakfast
b.) they are REALLY delicious dipped in ice cold milk and according to my friend, with a mug of hot coffee for breakfast too
c.) baking these babies granted me the opportunity to say snickerdoodle a whole bunch and come on- that's a fun word.

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