Alice Medrich’s Snicker Doodles

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We’ve been having fun in our winter home-away-from-home spot in the beautiful and very snowy Berkshires this week. When I say “fun,” I do not include the ill-advised attempt I made to drive up an especially steep and unplowed road in Stockbridge during a freak storm one afternoon. I suppose I should’ve heeded the SUV that was curiously “parked” in the middle of a 4-foot snow bank at the bottom of the hill I was attempting to scale. Fortunately, in spite of not having any clear idea of where the edges of the road were or much of a clue in general, I somehow managed to get myself back down the hill and facing the appropriate direction, through a combination of driving in reverse, spinning and a significant amount of pleading with the Universe. It was almost enough to make me lose sight of how breathtakingly gorgeous the falling snow was.

The snow was absolutely beautiful. This was the view from the Norman Rockwell Museum.

This week’s cinnamon offering is from another oft-neglected cookbook I own: Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich. (What can I say? I’m overly practical when it comes to baking. If I find a recipe that works well, I tend to stick with it and cease experimenting any further.) This is a terrifically comprehensive book, with chapters broken down into the chewy, gooey, crispy, crunchy, or melt-in-your-mouth categories listed in the title, as well as sections on chunky and flaky cookies. The snickerdoodles are in the crunchy portion, and they are as promised. You can find the recipe here, at the Toronto Star’s site (please note that there’s a small error in their version: per Medrich’s book, the cinnamon sugar for rolling the cookies should be 1 tablespoon sugar to 1 teaspoon cinnamon).

In case you are unfamiliar with them, snickerdoodles are an old-fashioned sort of sugar cookie. As mentioned above, the cookies are rolled in cinnamon sugar before they are baked, but they have an additional ingredient which makes them rather unique: cream of tartar. This in combination with the baking soda in the recipe lends a distinctive taste which many describe as a “tang.” I’ve noticed with other snickerdoodle recipes that if they contain too much cream of tartar, this comes off as a kind of fuzzy feeling in one’s mouth, which I don’t enjoy at all.  Alice Medrich’s recipe apparently contains just the right amount of cream of tartar for me as I don’t experience that fuzzy mouth sensation when I eat these. If the idea of possible unusual mouth sensations doesn’t appeal to you, there are some nontraditional snickerdoodle recipes which do not contain the cream of tartar-baking soda combo, but instead use baking powder as the leavener.

You can read more about snickerdoodles here:

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