Monday, December 19, 2011

Cookie Week: Snickerdoodles!

When I heard that Erin would be hosting a feature about cookies this week, I knew right away I'd be participating. It's the week before Christmas, which means that I go into Baking Overload. Hop on over to Erin's blog, The Speckled Palate, today and every day this week to find a collection of awesome cookie recipes!

Today I'll be sharing a recipe for snickerdoodles, which is a new favorite of mine. Here's the recipe card (I'll also be typing it up for you at the end of this post).

This recipe is from my ex-boyfriend's siblings. They all loved to bake in that house, which meant in that aspect, I fit right in. Here's what you'll need... and preheat your oven to 375 while you find everything.

You don't need a stand mixer; a hand mixer will also suffice. I don't know if you can swing mixing it by hand because the dough gets a little thick at the end. But, you can try! Otherwise you need flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, ground cinnamon, an egg, a stick of butter, vanilla extract, and sugar.

I like to mix dry ingredients first. That'll be the flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda.

Oh, and the cinnamon. It's my secret ingredient - I just add a few dashes in with the dry ingredient mix.

In another bowl (or your stand mixer bowl), combine the wet ingredients: butter, egg, sugar, and vanilla extract. You'll want the butter to be softened - if you think of it ahead of time, leave it out for a while before you start. Otherwise, my trick is to nuke it in the microwave for 10 or 15 seconds on a 50% power level. (If your microwave doesn't have 50% power level, I'd suggest nuking it for 5 second intervals, checking on it in between. You don't want it melted, just soft and mixable.)

Mix those up until they're kinda creamy - it won't be completely smooth, but don't worry, it's supposed to look that way. Here's a reference.

After that, add the dry ingredients slowly. Dump a little bit in at a time and mix slowly so that flour doesn't fly everywhere. Once you've added it all, mix until everything's completely combined. The dough will be pretty thick - it should stick together and to your mixer.

One more thing you'll need before you put these on baking sheets: cinnamon sugar. The ratio is two parts sugar, one part cinnamon; make more or less depending on how many batches you're making. Usually a teaspoon of cinnamon and two of sugar suffices. Blend them together with your fingers.

Almost time for baking! Roll the dough into quarter-sized balls (I used to make them bigger but tried this size for this year and loved the size of the final product!).

Roll the dough balls around the plate of cinnamon sugar until their coated on all sides. Sometimes the dough is too soft or your hands are too warm, resulting in the dough sticking to your hands. If this is happening, pop the dough in the fridge for fifteen minutes and come back to it.

Put them on ungreased baking sheets about an inch apart. Be careful when you go to pick up the baking sheets - since they're coated in the sugar mixture, they'll slide out of position if the tray is tilted. Pop them in the oven and bake them for 10 to 12 minutes. (I find that 11 minutes is the perfect number for me, but our oven is small and yours may vary.)

You'll know their done when the tops have crackled a bit (it was hard to get a picture of that) and the bottom edges just start to brown. In the oven and when you first take them out, they'll be a bit puffed up...

...but once they cool, they should flatten out and look completely delicious.

(Although sometimes, because my oven is small, the batch on the lower rack doesn't flatten out as nicely. They're a bit lumpier, but just as delicious, I promise.)

So there you have it! This should make about two dozen cookies, though it really depends on how big you make them. Once they've completely cooled, eat them or store in an air-tight container so they stay soft. If you don't, they'll get harder and crisper... of course, if you prefer that to soft cookies, go right ahead and leave them out on a plate!

Kim & Steven's Snickerdoodle Recipe
1/2 cup of butter, softened (1 stick)
1 cup of sugar, plus 2 tsp. for coating
1 egg
1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup of flour
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
A few dashes of ground cinnamon, plus 1 tsp. for coating

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In one bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon).
3. In another bowl (or mixer bowl), combine wet ingredients (butter, sugar, egg, vanilla extract). Beat until combined and somewhat creamy.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones slowly, in about three or four parts.
5. On a small plate, combine the sugar and cinnamon set aside for the coating; mix together thoroughly.
6. Roll dough into quarter-sized balls and roll in cinnamon-sugar mix.
7. Place on ungreased baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for a minute or two before removing them from the tray.