Monday, September 6, 2010

Snickerdoodles - BHG

Snickerdoodles - made September 3, 2010 from Better Homes & Gardens Cookie book

My cousin Christine's son, Jason, doesn't like chocolate. So when I hosted them for Monopoly night (yes, I lost - defeated by a 5-year-old and his mom, I may never be able to hold my Monopoly-playing head up again), I had to come up with a non-chocolate, no-nuts dessert (he doesn't like nuts either). Snickerdoodles was a logical choice as it's an easy cookie dough to make ahead of time and I thought Jason, like most kids, might like rolling the dough balls in the cinnamon sugar. Plus it's pretty much a vanilla cookie and he does like vanilla.

I have several snickerdoodle recipes on tap but I thought I would try a new recipe this time. It has the same basic ingredients as most snickerdoodle recipes, the key one being cream of tartar, but this one had a slight twist in that you beat half the flour in with the butter before adding the rest of the ingredients. I think that's the only cookie recipe I've tried so far that called for such a thing. Normally, in cakes and cookies, you add the flour last and don't beat it a lot once it's added so you don't develop the gluten in it and make it tough. Only in products such as bread do you work the flour a lot (or knead the dough) to deliberately develop the gluten and come up with chewy bread. In cookies, however, you usually don't and I have countless recipes warning against overmixing. But, ever obedient to a recipe, at least the first time I make it, I followed the instructions exactly.

The cookies came out pretty well. We had them once they had cooled slightly (taking a Monopoly break) and the edges were crunchy and the middles were soft. I thought these were pretty good. I sent the rest of the cookies and unbaked cookie dough home with Christine and Jason but I forgot to take a picture of the cookies for my blog so I "had" to make them again the following day. My parents don't normally like chocolate either (although my mom - and dad - have been known to enjoy Godiva truffles on occasion. Not See's though as they claim it's too sweet.) so snickerdoodles are also a good choice for them. I baked another batch, following the same recipe and same instructions. This time though, for some reason, they struck me as a little too sweet. I don't know why or how my taste buds changed in less than 24 hours or if it was because I had the cookie the next day while it was at room temperature so I could really taste the sweetness. In any case, these are still good but be prepared for the sweetness.

½ cup butter
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or till softened. Add about half of the flour to the butter. Then add the 1 cup sugar, egg, vanilla, baking soda and cream of tartar. Beat till thoroughly combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the remaining flour. Cover and chill about 1 hour or till dough is easy to handle.
2. In a shallow dish, combine the 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the sugar-cinnamon to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake in a 375˚F oven for 10 to 11 minutes or till edges are lightly browned. Remove cookies; cool on wire racks. Makes about 36 (only if you make them really small. They made 15-16 normal-sized cookies to me).

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