Snickerdoodle Memories

When I was a little girl, and some of you will remember this since we went to school together, the cafeteria at my school used to serve these little chocolate milkshakes for fifty cents. Now, they weren’t exactly milkshakes…they were more like a Wendy’s Frosty. Served in a little, white styrofoam cup, they were very thick (more like soft serve ice cream then a shake), only sort of chocolatey, and a little bit icy. Not much to write home about, but at ten years old, for 50 cents, they were AWESOME!

I rarely got to get one of these milkshakes, unless I was lucky enough to find a little spare change lying around, so when I did have the money for one, I always saved it for a certain day. That day was Snickerdoodle Day. I loved those little milkshakes, but I loved snickerdoodles dipped in my milkshake a hundred times more!

I have fond memories of seeing that snickerdoodle on my tray, holding out my two warm, sweaty little quarters to the lunch lady with my lunch card, and getting what was easily my favorite lunchroom snack. I’d sit down and eat my regular food first so that my shake could melt a little bit. Then I would break my snickerdoodle in half and every, single bite had to have a bit of ice cream on it! Mmmm!

Those memories have inspired today’s post. Snickerdoodles have long been one of my favorite cookies, so today I’m posting my favorite recipe for them, as well as a great new way to enjoy them.

A snickerdoodle is a snickerdoodle. There tons of recipes out in the world for them, but they are all almost identical. That’s because this is one cookie that has to be made a certain way to be what it is. Change that up too much, and it becomes something else. It should be a sweet, slightly spicy cookie, with just s hint of sour tang. It should have a crisp texture at the edge, but get chewy as you move to the middle. Cream of tartar is what helps make all of that possible. If the recipe doesn’t have it, then it’s a sugar cookie recipe. Period.

Before you get started, make sure you have good baking soda. Obviously, this applies to any recipe, but it’s something that I had to consider specifically with this recipe, because I was having rise issues. Did you know baking soda can go bad? Over time it loses it’s ability to cause a rising reaction in food. To find out if your baking soda is bad, just drop a small amount into a little water. Did it fizz at all? If not, it’s bad. Mine was fizzy, though, so why were my cookies still coming out flat? Just look at them…

So sad. My next thought was flour. I really thought I should add more, but I got the better of myself, believing something so simple could never be the problem. I’d made this recipe before and hadn’t had any problems like this, so why would the flour be an issue now? That’s when I started comparing every recipe under the sun. And I came back to flour. I remembered that the last time I made them, I had decided to add more flour to the recipe I was using because it made it match up a little better with all of the others out there. Bingo! I should have trusted my gut in the first place! An extra half cup of flour bound the wet ingredients better and kept them from melting (and spreading) too much before the cookies could start rising. So let’s get started!

Our main characters today are shortening, cream of tartar, eggs, butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda, but we’ll have a guest star later on. Typically, I try to avoid shortening in my recipes at all costs. I really think it kills flavor. But I have a great cookbook Baking Illustrated (my favorite cookbook, actually), from the writers of Cooks Illustrated Magazine that has taught me why shortening can be helpful. Basically, there are things that shortening does for a recipe because it is 100% fat that butter can’t do, because it is around 15% water. In this case, the shortening helps give the cookie a chewier texture. But you can cut down on shortening a lot and still get the benefits. According to the book, 1 part shortening to 3 parts butter is the magic number. My particular recipe called for one cup of butter, so I cut a quarter of it and replaced it with shortening.

Start off by combing the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar in a bowl and set it aside. In another bowl, combine the butter and shortening, beat in the sugar until it’s light and fluffy; scrape the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, and continue beating until they are thoroughly mixed in. Next add half of the dry mixture, mix well, then add the rest and beat until everything is well combined. Now mix some sugar and the cinnamon together for rolling the cookies in and they’re ready for shaping.

I used my handy dandy scoop again! Seriously, I love this thing! But if you don’t have one, roll one tablespoon of the batter into a ball at a time. I found that this makes exactly three dozen cookies.

Even if you use a scoop, you still want to roll the cookies a bit. This will help prevent too much spreading.

Roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, making sure to get them completely coated.

I like to give them plenty of room to grow. They’re going to bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Mmmmm! Fresh from the oven! I probably could have done six to a sheet, but I have further plans for these, so I wanted to make sure they didn’t touch each other while baking.

And that’s it! These are really easy to make. And really fast! But I like mine a certain way, remember? So let me introduce our guest star…

Ice cream! I wanted to try to replicate those little milkshakes from school, which weren’t very chocolatey, so I am going to use chocolate and vanilla mixed together. I love these half and half packages of ice cream! Genius, I tell you! Genius! Obviously, you could do one flavor straight up, if you want to. And the possibilities are endless!

I put six big scoops of the half and half ice cream in a bowl and let it sit on the counter to soften for about 20 minutes, then I mixed it together and put it in the freezer until about 5 minutes before I needed it again. If you don’t have half vanilla, half chocolate available in one container like this, just do 3 scoops of each flavor instead. When you take it out of the freezer, give it a few good stirs to loosen it up a bit. You’ll need to follow these steps even if you aren’t mixing flavors together, so that the ice cream is more like soft serve. Otherwise, you can’t do this…

Oh! These are gonna be good! I can tell!

I was right. They’re wonderful! Enjoy!

Makes 3 dozen

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 3 tablespoons for coating
2 eggs
1 tablespoon cinnamon for coating

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment or spray with cooking spray

In a large bowl, combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together butter and shortening. Beat in 1 1/2 cups of the sugar until well combined. Scrape your bowl bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each until well combined. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until just combined then add the remaining flour mixture. Continue beating until everything is incorporated.

Combine 3 tablespoons sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon for the coating.

With 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, roll into balls and throughly coat with cinnamon-sugar. Place the balls on prepared cookie sheets, leaving plenty of room between each one.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are just browning and centers are still puffy.

Transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 6 sandwiches

12 snickerdoodle cookies
6 scoops ice cream, flavor of your choice

Allow ice cream to stand on countertop for about 20 minutes to soften. Stir the softened ice cream together to make a filling. Place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to firm up slightly.

Remove ice cream from freezer and stir to loosen. Place 1-2 tablespoons ice cream filling on the bottom of a snickerdoodle. Place another cookie on top, bottom towards the ice cream, and gently press down to push the filling to the edges. Place finished sandwiches in the freezer until ready to serve.

Recipe by Darla

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