Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter Wonderlands

     It was a beautiful weekend. It snowed in Philadelphia on Friday, and I don't see how anyone can dislike snow. This was the most perfect kind: sparkling and soft, and when you held it in your hands and looked into it you could see a kaleidoscope of the most gorgeous flakes. I was very happy, and even if it has mostly melted there are little reminiscings of it left still, and I have hope for more.

     Snow like this always makes me think of home. Of looking out my window after the first big snow and - being a very OCD little child - not wanting anyone to disturb the untouched wonderland before I had time to sit and admire it. Then we could tromp around and play and come in for hot chocolate and - hopefully - cookies.

     Cookie, other than being a wonderful word, is such a beautiful concept. One bowl of butter, sugar, flour all mixed together can yield glorious results in such short periods of time. I feel as though not enough has been said in praise of the humble cookie and so I am making do by celebrating it today in the form of - brace yourself - the humblest snickerdoodle (which is also a pretty lovely word).

     This recipe is actually inspired by my PennPal or little sister. She wanted to make sugar cookies - and I co-opted the idea into snickerdoodles because they are so much fun to make. Yes, there is the necessary creaming of butter and sugar, and the egg and vanilla, but then there is party time: rolling the dough into little balls and then running them through trails of cinnamon and (if you're me) sugar to coat them. Also, if you are me and my PennPal, you spend the time while the dough is chilling shaking around a plate of cinnamon/sugar and finding shapes in it. We are the coolest.

What do you see?
     So, I present to you the snickerdoodle. The ultimate source of sweet fragrances for cold and hungry comrades and family to come home to. The perfect little bit of crisp edges, soft cakey-inside cookie goodness. The best base for adding chocolate chips and almonds (if you are my PennPal), also any other goodies you want to add: walnuts, pecans, butterscotch chips - just stir them in before you chill the dough. So if you want to be me: sit inside and look out at the snow, sip on a cup of hot chocolate, and bite daintily on a snickerdoodle... i.e. gobble down three before you know what you are doing.

Makes about 20 cookies 

1 stick Butter (4 oz) 
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract 
3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt 
2 tbsp Ground Cinnamon 
2 tbsp Brown Sugar 

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Next, beat in the egg and vanilla until well mixed. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until just combined, making sure you get all the flour on the bottom of the bowl, and mix in any thing you would like (a cup of chocolate chips, nuts, etc.) at this time. Wrap the bowl in clingwrap and stick it in the fridge for at least half an hour (the dough is easier to work with chilled).

While it is chilling, butter your baking sheets and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large flat plate or bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Once it is time to bake the cookies, take them out of the fridge. Roll balls of about half-tablespoons of dough and then roll them around in the cinnamon/sugar mixture to coat them. Place them 2'' apart on the baking sheets as they spread quite a lot. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until slightly brown at the edges and golden on top. Cool on the baking sheet for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Eat!

Note: This is the recipe I always use....I bet adapted from Nigella Lawson but, I don't have the book anymore to check so....credits will be given later?

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