Swoonworthy Snickerdoodles

O sole mio!

O sole mio!

I can’t stop raving about these cookies! They’re tender, chewy, moist, and packed with flavour – in short, they are insanely addictive. You might be scratching your head and wondering, “What is a snickerdoodle?” Allow me to enlighten you! A snickerdoodle is a basic sugar cookie recipe that is brightened with the addition of lots of cinnamon and, in this case, other spices. (I wound up making some substitutions out of necessity – see the next paragraph – so there’s more than cinnamon in these!) Before baking, the dough is rolled into little balls and dusted heavily with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. I’ll admit that my reaction upon first hearing of these cookies was one of scorn, because they sounded insipid. Silly me! Something magical happens with these cookies. The cinnamon-infused sweetness, the delectably chewy texture, and the enticing aroma all combine their powers to make a cookie you just can’t stop eating.

Well-sampled... just like a rock star.

Well-sampled… just like a rock star.

About those substitutions I mentioned above: The first time I made these, I realised – too late to pop into the grocery store, alas! – that I was running low on cinnamon. As it turned out, I had enough cinnamon for the rolling / dusting mixture and barely half the amount of cinnamon needed to mix in with the cookie dough. I recalled the amazing Cook’s Illustrated pumpkin cheesecake I made back in November – it mixed cinnamon with allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. So I substituted those spices for the rest of the cinnamon I needed, and the resultant flavour is phenomenal! Just mindblowing. I’ve made these cookies a second time, and I repeated the substitutions, even though I had since replenished my cinnamon stock. Oh, my stars and garters. These cookies are little edible rock stars!

I'll cinnamon challenge you!

I’ll cinnamon challenge you!

They remain soft over several days, as long as they are stored in an airtight container. The flavours intensify over time, and these cookies really start to come into their own the day after they are made. Though they are certainly stargazing-amazing when fresh from the oven! The secret to a happy life will always be warm, freshly baked cookies with a glass of cold milk. 🙂

I feel like bursting into more Italian opera. Time for another cookie!

I feel like bursting into more Italian opera. Time for another cookie!

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Swoonworthy Snickerdoodles

Yield: About 24 cookies

Ingredients:

For the rolling / dusting mixture:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

For the cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour (either bleached or unbleached)
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon*
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cloves
scant 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. of the rolling / dusting mixture
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature

Method:

For the rolling / dusting mixture:
Stir together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.

For the cookies:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and spices (including the 2 tsp. of the rolling / dusting mixture). Set aside.

Cream butter for 2 – 3 minutes on high speed. Add the sugar and beat on high speed another 2 – 3 minutes until thoroughly creamed, scraping bowl as needed. Blend in vanilla, then the egg. Scrape bowl and beat again to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly blended.**

On low speed, blend in flour mixture just until incorporated. The mixture will be quite thick at this point; depending on the mixer you have, you may need to finish mixing these by hand, with a wooden spoon or similar. Scoop 1 – 2 TBS of dough (I found 1 TBS to make a nice-sized cookie, but you’ll need to find your own sweet spot) at a time into a ball and roll in the sugar / cinnamon mixture until completely coated. Set the balls about 2″ apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Sprinkle balls with the rest of the rolling mixture. (There will be plenty of it left over for this purpose.)

Bake 11 – 12 minutes. Do not overbake! These may appear underdone when you remove them from the oven after 11 – 12 minutes, but they will continue cooking when they come out of the oven. Overbaking these will cause the cookies to become overly hard.

As soon as the cookies are out of the oven, gently flatten them with the back of a spoon to help them deflate. (You can leave them puffed, and they will taste just as good. They will still flatten a little even without being “spooned.”) Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets. Store for up to a week in an airtight container.

*To make these cookies with only cinnamon, use 2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and do not add the allspice, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, or dusting / rolling mixture to the batter.

**The first time I made these, I accidentally threw the baking soda into the wet ingredients. I blended it in, then continued stirring together the rest of the dry ingredients. The cookies turned out fine. Ah, kitchen mishaps!

Source: Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

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