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Snickerdoodles

November 18, 2009

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I’m a chocolate person.  I like chocolate in my cookies, cakes, ice cream and just about anything that can acceptably contain chocolate.  What inspired me to bake snickerdoodles, I’ll never know. 

I am, however,  happy I broke away from the norm and decided to make these cookies.  They were some darn good snickerdoodles (I’m not going to say they’re the best  out there because the food blogging world is already rife with hyperboles).  But, Nate, everyone else who ate them, and I absolutely loved them.  Nate ate like five in one day, and for him, that’s really saying something.

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Snickerdoodles are like the forgotten first cousin once-removed of sugar cookies.  It’s basically the same dough, except with cream of tartar.  And I’ve never heard anyone say snickerdoodles are their favorite cookie.  Yesterday I was talking to a friend and she and her fiance love snickerdoodles– so much so that they using snickerdoodles as wedding favors.  But they’re tasty none-the-less and when I saw the snickerdoodle recipe in Cooks Illustrated, I was curious.

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Never having made snickerdoodles before, I didn’t know they would spread as much as they did during the baking process.  Um yeah, I my first pan of cookies melded into one enormously large 9″ by 13″ snickerdoodle.  I awkwardly used a spatula to cut them into normal size cookies, but they were not pretty.  I planned on taking the cookies to work, but I couldnt’ take the ugly ones, so I had to eat them.  Had to, I tell you.  Nate gave me a hand with that chore. 

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There wasn’t quite the crunchy/soft texture that the recipe talked about, but that might be because I didn’t make the cookies as large as the recipe specified.  Even so,  these were crispy, buttery, cinnamony and down-right fantastic.  I might just have to add snickerdoodles to my usual cookie-baking repertoire, even though they don’t have any chocolate… 

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Snickerdoodles

(From Baking Illustrated)

2¼ cups (11¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened but still cool
¼ cup vegetable shortening
1½ cups (10½ ounces) granulated sugar, plus 3 tablespoon for rolling dough
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, for rolling dough

Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions.  Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, shortening and 1½ cups sugar on medium speed until well combined, 1 to 1½ minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and beat again until combined, about 30 seconds.  Add in the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 20 seconds.

In a small, shallow bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon for rolling the dough.  Stir or shake well to combine.  Working with a heaping tablespoon of dough each time, roll the dough into 1½-inch balls (if you use that much dough your cookies will have the same diameter as a cantaloupe.  In other words, they will be HUGE.  I’d recommend 1/2 a tablespoon).  Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place them on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.  Use a drinking glass with a flat bottom to gently flatten the dough balls to ¾-inch thickness (butter the bottom of the glass before starting, and dip it in sugar between cookies if it begins to stick).

Bake until the edges of the cookies are beginning to set and the center are soft and puffy, 9-11 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets 2-3 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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