Perfection

Cookies are my thing. I can do cakes pretty well, and my pies are decent too. But cookies are where it’s at for me. I love the relative ease of cookies. Some are complicated, but most are a two-bowl affair that can be in the oven in less than fifteen minutes. They’re quick to bake and rarely is decoration involved. It’s almost always faster to make a batch of cookies than it is to drive to the store to buy some; which is why it shocks me that people actually pay money for store-bought cookies (although I do love Oreos. And Nutter Butters. Those tiny round ones.)

When it comes to making cookies, I like to have the perfect recipe. I don’t want to experiment or tinker with ingredients. I want to know exactly what to do, end of story. 

Everyone, including me, needs snickerdoodles in their cookie repertoire. Can you believe that I never even had a snickerdoodle until we made them in Home Ec in 6th grade? Outrageous! But I took one bite of a snickerdoodle–the crispy cinnamony exterior yielding to the soft yet toothsome inside. Not to mention the sweet tinged with a smidgen of tanginess–I was seriously hooked.

I’ve been making these cookies ever since. But I just wasn’t happy with any recipe I tried. Even Cook’s Illustrated, which normally does me right, has a lousy recipe. This is the problem: snickerdoodles taste much better with butter. But butter makes a cookie too flat a lot of the time. And in Jennie’s Cookie Universe flat cookies are a gigantic no-no. I think they are the sign of either a poor recipe or a sloppy baker.  If you buy a snickerdoodle at a bakery they are usually nice and thick, but the reason is because they are made entirely with shortening which holds its shape better. Ew.  Even butter-flavored shortening is gross, if you ask me.

 

I was left with no other option than to make up my own recipe.  I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say that creating a new recipe drives me a little batty.*  It’s more science than my feeble brain can handle. Not to mention frustrating.  But I finally achieved success.

 

I like to call this recipe, modestly, The Perfect Snickerdoodle
(if by some chance you’ve never made these, you must have cream of tarter. It’s a deal breaker.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
(Plus cinnamon-sugar in a little bowl for rolling the cookies.  You already know how to make this, right?)
Combine sugar, butter, shortening, vanilla and eggs.  Mix well.
In a separate bowl combine flour, cream of tarter, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed ingredients and mix well.
Shape dough into 1-2″ balls (about the size of ping-pong balls). Roll in cinn-sugar mixture. If possible line your baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place cookies 3″ apart and bake at 375º for 9-11 minutes (better to underbake than overbake!)  Remove from the cookie sheet immediately.
These taste great warm, but I like them better after they’ve cooled down and are chewier.
*********

I happen to have three dozen of these on hand because I was supposed to make them for the teachers at the Middle School Cookie Exchange.  Being both overzealous and a ding-a-ling I thought the cookies were supposed to be made on November 12th.  But no. I realized after I’d made them that they are actually for a party on December 12. Way to go, Jennie!

Like all cookies, the best time for making these is on a Sunday evening when nothing else is going on. Preferably, eat these for dinner.  If it makes you feel guilty, then make sure you have a big glass of milk and a banana.  If that isn’t a great meal, then I don’t know what is. 

*Currently I’m working on a coffee cake/crumb cake. There are 10 million coffee cake recipes but none of them are just right. It especially needs to be ready fast. My recipe is almost complete; I’m just tweaking the topping. I’m also working on an almond raspberry sugar cookie which has brought me nothing but grief. I’ve had to shelve it for a while, it was tormenting me so.

| Filed under Good Things, Recipes

19 thoughts on “Perfection

  1. You can send some over to me! 🙂
    Also, I have ALWAYS wanted baking/cooking to come second nature to me…but they do not. You are lucky!

  2. Those really are perfect. I can almost taste them. I'm also feeling quite proud of the Cream of Tartar in my spice rack. Thanks for that!

  3. Gonna be in town tomorrow morning singing at a baptism…just in case you wanted to get rid of some of those cookies!! 🙂
    I'm gonna try this because Amy was just asking about making snickerdoodles!

  4. We are always happy to take extra cookies, especially the beloved Snickerdoodle, which I have NEVER made before…. crazy, I know. Seriously, you know where I live.

  5. going to try your recipe this weekend – always of tartar on hand – waiting anxiously for the coffee cake recipe – that is my fav! esp with cinnamon sug on top!

  6. No wonder you needed a break from blogging for a few days, you were using all your brain power to better the baking world. And we make cookies a lot so I thank you.

    I am pretty excited to try these, James is on a diet so that means we will be having cookies for dinner, well the kids and I will, and all the more for us as left overs as well.

  7. So are you sending a dozen of those extras my way or what?

    I actually can't say that I'm a huge snickerdoodle fan. I mean, I like them, but I rarely think, "I've got to have a snickerdoodle now or I'll die!" That being said, almost the most divine cookie I've ever eaten was a snickerdoodle from Einstein's bagelry. Sadly, they're all closed down here. But if you can find one near you, get thee hence and make sure they have them before you go. They are TO DIE FOR. I'm not kidding. This is coming from a snickerdoodle taker-or-leaver.

  8. p.s. I did some tweaking of mom's coffee cake recipe and it is pretty darn good. Kelly likes the bisquick base, but the plain bisquick cake was too blah for me. so I added some cinnamon, sour cream, extra sugar, replaced the oil with butter, and use the topping recipe from your coffee cake muffins. It's good. I'll send it to you if you want.

  9. We've made them TWICE now, and they are officially our favorite snicker doodle cookies. Thanks for your efforts~
    These cookies ROCK.

  10. Those look delicious! Thanks for sharing. I find that snickerdoodles often taste too flourey, so I am looking forward to trying these.

    Pioneer Woman's coffee cake is to die for. You have to whip egg whites, but it's awesome. My sister and I made it and will be posting about it in the next couple days.

    http://www.thebitchstoppedcooking.blogspot.com

  11. I have a wonderful recipe for coffee cake, at least I think so. It makes two 8-inch cake pans.
    2 1/2 c. flour, 1 c. brown sugar, 3/4 c. white sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 c. oil, 1 tsp soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 egg, 1 c buttermilk. Mix flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt and oil to make crumbs, take out 1 1/2 c cups for topping. To the remainder, add soda, baking powder, egg and buttermilk. Beat with electric mixer. Pour into two greased 8-inch round pans. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

  12. I finally tried this recipe! and although the flavor is excellent, I’d say 9 minutes is the MAX you should bake them, even if they still look raw. I did my first batch for 9 then gave them another minute. they still looked underdone but I took them out anyway. then I cooked my next batch for 11. once the first batch cooled they were way too crispy. I’m sure the second batch will be hard. wah! nothing worst than a hard snicker doodle!

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