Snicker To The Doodle
Gwen and Madison were away last weekend at an off-site birthday party, just me and Ava holding down the fort here. On Sunday morning, she expressed an interest in baking some cookies, which seemed like a perfect follow up to the pasta we made at home Friday night and the pizzas we were planning for dinner Sunday. I drew the line at morning bagels.
Went to the shelf and pulled out one of our Magnolia cookbooks, More From Magnolia, and settled on the recipe on page 24, Snickerdoodles. Gwen is our resident baker, but this appeared to be an easy and straightforward execution, with limited ingredients, so we took it on. Ava was able to help at numerous steps in the process, and it turned into a great activity with delicious results we are still enjoying. The Magnolia recipe makes three dozen cookies, and here it is:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
[Separate bowl - combine 6 tablespoons sugar, mixed with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, for sprinkling on the dough prior to placing in the oven]
In a small bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a larger bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar until smooth, this takes about two minutes. We had not planned ahead on the "softening the butter" part and got some welcome help through a few 10-15 second blasts in the microwave.
Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and beat well. Combine with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for two hours.
As the clock is winding down on those two hours (we played Mario Kart and Iron Chef America on the Wii to kill the time), preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Use a teaspoon to drop rounded portions of the dough onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between each wad of dough for expansion. They really will flatten and spread out. Before placing in the oven, sprinkle generously with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Key word here is "generously," we found that the best cookies we made were the ones that basically looked like brown sugar castles going into the oven, not the first few sheets, which received only a light dusting of this magical powder. If it looks like too much sugar/cinnamon, it might not be enough. If it looks obscene, you're on the right track.
Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes, cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool completely, assuming of course that the cookies are able to make it from the sheet to this rack without falling victim to hungry bakers. Our initial efforts were unable to navigate this difficult terrain, until we'd each had about a half dozen and fell into sugar-induced comas. Latter batches were more long-lived.