Sunday, August 9, 2009

Snickerdoodles and A Trip Down Memory Lane

A week before last it was my friend/co-worker's birthday and her friend/my knitting teacher brought her some homemade snickerdoodles (sugar and cinnamon cookies). I had never tried these delicious little cookies prior to this but I promptly fell in love with them as soon as I bit into the tender and sweet little morsel. I'm not a cookie person, so my own reaction was a bit of a surprise, but after gobbling up more than my fair share of the birthday girl's delicious treats, which she kindly shared with us, I quickly shot off an email to her friend asking for the sweet confection's recipe. So this weekend, despite my lack of baking expertise or know-how I decided to try my hand at making myself some snickerdoodles to enjoy and horde all to myself.

First of all, the recipe couldn't have been any easier, yet somehow I managed to mess it up -- not totally -- but enough that many of my cookies didn't exactly match the wonderful tenderness and sweetness of the original sample. The problem proved to be my inability to follow directions, as the recipe clearly stated to shape the dough into 1-inch balls, but I made my balls all various sizes which of course impacted the duration of time I kept the cookies in the oven, hence some of my cookies were flat and crispy where the originals had been plump and tender little bite size pieces. You live and you learn. I was able to salvage enough of them that after stuffing my face and belly with snickerdoodles I can now go a good year before I repeat this baking experience.

The trip down memory lane portion of the post title refers to the fact that I enjoyed said snickerdoodles while viewing, in the company of my dear cousins, one of my all time favorite kid's movies, "The NeverEnding Story." My cousin bougth the DVD for her daughter to enjoy, but in all honesty, I think we enjoyed it more than the kids. It was wonderful visiting Fantasia again, enjoying the bravery of young Atreyu as he tried to rescue the Empress and all of Fantasia from the Nothing. As I watched Jared's face, my cousin's little boy, during the sad scene when Atreyu loses his beloved horse Artax in the Swamp of Sadness, I could so relate to that look that said WTF! This isn't supposed to happen to one of the heroes of the story because I remembered feeling the same way. It's now a shared experience.

It was a great afternoon of shared fun and memories, which I hope to repeat soon.

Back to the cookies, I was only able to take this one lousy photo of my creations because my camera's batteries were dying, a fact I only realized when I went to take said photo, but here's the very simple recipe for those interested.

Snickerdoodles (from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 2002)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1.5 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Combine the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar-cinnamon mixture to coat. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-11 minutes or until edges are golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.