Last week, with fingertips covered in cinnamon-sugar and an oven full of cookies, I found myself reflecting on how tied together recipes and memories can be. Cherry cream cheese pie will always take me back to hurried pie making at my parents’ house and sesame chicken reminds me of Bill and I’s courtship. Snickerdoodles send me right back to college though; to my first apartment, to friends clustered around couches and hanging out in the green room…
One of my first big starts into culinary-dom in college was when my friends figured out that I knew how to make the Holy Grail of cookies: the Snickerdoodle. Sure, I made dinner for my friends at least once a week and kept them stuffed with every variation of dessert, but the ‘Doodles were what they always seemed to circle back to.
I’m not sure why, but they were all under the impression that somehow the Snickerdoodle was a magic cookie, produced only by restaurants and stores, never to see the light of a kitchen. I’ve never encountered a single person who doesn’t like a ‘Doodle, but no one seems to have ever made them. It’s a shame because they’re a simple and delightful cookie!
I remember one ‘dinner party’ my senior year of college: after a simple (and cheap) chicken, veggie and pasta dish for dinner, we watched Stardust in my tiny ‘loft’ apartment while I whipped up the ‘Doodle dough and let them do the cinnamon-sugar honors before baking. I felt like a little Momma, letting the kids “help” with dessert on a special occasion. There was such a happy sense of community attached to the whole evening that it gave Snickerdoodles a whole new importance to me. I didn’t have a fancy mixer or many groceries, my kitchen was basically a hallway, but I had an apartment full of friends enjoying something we’d baked together. 🙂
I included Snickerdoodles in my graphic design capstone project, a cookbook called “The Collegiate Kitchen Companion” with tips for young folks starting with their first dorm ‘kitchen’, going through apartment cooking, impressing their significant other with a fancy dinner, and breaking in their first ‘real’ kitchen after graduation. It seemed fitting that this cookie would be part of the summation and proclamation of all I had learned and designed.
The streak of appreciation continued when Bill found out that I was a practitioner of the hidden Snickerdoodle arts. He’s a huge cinnamon fan, so of course he loves these soft, sweet cookies with their delicious cinnamon-sugar coating. I try to keep them as a bit of a special cookie since they’re so memory-full for me, but I’m always glad when the occasion calls for them.
- 1½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ butter, softened
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ cup sugar
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Combine flour, cream of tartar and baking soda in a medium bowl, set aside.
- Cream together butter and ¾ cup sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg, then the vanilla extract, and beat until well-combined.
- Reduce mixer speed to low, then slowly add the flour mixture. mix until a cohesive dough forms.
- Combine cinnamon and ⅛ cup sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, then coat with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and place on cookie sheet (about 1 inch apart).
- Bake cookies until they’re crinkled and set, about 12 minutes. Allow them to rest for 1-2 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet.