Snickerdoodles

There is nothing like a plate of warm snickerdoodles served with an ice-cold glass of milk. These cookies, many say, date back to US colonial days, but some food historians say similar baked treats were found as far back as ancient Roman times. In Medieval and Renaissance England, sugary cookies topped with cinnamon were called “jumbles.” In Germany, they featured more spices and dried fruits, and were very like gingerbread. Given this country’s history of being a haven for European immigrants it is no wonder that the cookie now known as “snickerdoodles” arrived on these shores. As to how the name came about, I have no idea — but it is a word that makes me smile, so that works for me.

Snickerdoodles are a favorite in our home. They tend to appear frequently during the holidays, but really, they are good at any time of the year, and are perfect with the aforementioned milk, or with coffee, tea, or juice. If you’ve never tried them, give them a whirl. They are easy to make and share. One note, though — they contain butter, so they don’t keep very long. However, if your family and friends are anything like mine, your snicks won’t have the opportunity to outstay their welcome. (Vegetarians, I am working on finding a version free from animal fats for you.)

Enjoy the recipe!


Ingredients

2 cups flour
2 tsps. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup softened unsalted butter
1-3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. cinnamon

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the first four ingredients into a sifter and — naturally — sift them together into a bowl. In another bowl, beat the butter and 1-1/2 cups of the sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs and continue beating until the whole has a smooth texture.

Gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter/egg/sugar combo until a smooth dough appears.

Now, the fun part: Pinch off pieces of the dough and roll them between your palms into tiny balls about an inch or a little more in diameter. Place the balls onto a plate or wax paper. Now, wash your hands!

In a tiny bowl — a custard cup is ideal — mix the remaining sugar with the cinnamon. One at a time, roll the balls in the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place the balls about two inches apart on oiled cookie sheets. This is important: Bake one pan at a time near the top of the oven for 8 to 11 minutes. Keep a watch on them so they don’t become too brown — you want the cookies to be a light golden brown around the edges.

Once done, after allowing them to settle outside of the overn for about a minute, transfer the cookies to wire racks and allow them to cool.

You’ll end up with about three dozen snickerdoodles. They shouldn’t last long.

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