Monday, January 19, 2009

I Must Put Down the Cinnamon.

I know, I know, there are desserts that do not have cinnamon, but where would we be without the possibility of a delicious, irresistibly spicy, deep-flavored treat? Nowhere, that's where. So I present to you another cinnamon-influenced dessert that is sure to please young and old alike: snickerdoodles.

Now, snickerdoodles are a New England tradition. I remember always getting them from a local bakery and savoring the interesting flavor combination--on the one hand, the sweetness and warmth of cinnamon sugar, and on the other hand, the tanginess and distinctive flavor of the cookie itself. If you think that snickerdoodles are simply sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar, you are wrong. I used to hold that misconception, but I have since seen the light and discovered that, despite my best efforts to simplify my baking recipes, snickerdoodles are different. They cannot be faked; they cannot be dumbed down.

The unique flavor and appearance of these cookies come in part from the inclusion of cream of tartar in addition to baking soda. The cream of tartar gives the cookies a good tang and facilitates their crackly, fallen tops. So don't worry if the cookies fall; they're supposed to. Isn't that a load off your mind?

The recipe itself is from Baking Illustrated, from which I've already made more recipes than I can count (none of them got on this blog, though) and which I really must put down. Right next to the cinnamon. As always, the good folks at America's Test Kitchen are spot on with the recipe, and the cookies taste exactly I remember them. But better. :-)

Adapted from Baking Illustrated.
Makes about 30 cookies.

3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 1/4 cups (11.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar (do not substitute)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (do not substitute)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs

**Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.**

1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Grease two medium or large baking sheets.
2. In small bowl, mix cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sugar. Set aside.
3. In medium bowl, whisk flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
4. In large bowl, cream butter, shortening, and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium-high speed until blended thoroughly, 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Add eggs and beat for about 30 seconds.
6. Stir in dry ingredients just until incorporated.
7. Using your hands, roll dough into one-and-a-half-inch balls and coat with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place two inches apart on baking sheets.
8. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until centers are soft and puffy and edges are set.
9. Let cool 2 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

1 comment:

ebagger said...

I ADORE Snickerdoodles. One of my favorite childhood food memories!! These look great.