Northern Mummy

General thoughts and wittering about all sorts of things


on March 5, 2013

You might not expect a recipe post to be Jane Austen-related, but this one is.  Sort of, anyway.  Because since I’ve started watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries I’ve started to hear the word snickerdoodle all the time*.  Episode 48 bears the word as its title, and they’ve been referred to a few times since then.  And then I started hearing it in other places, too – The Big Bang Theory, for example – and in the end I decided I needed to know not only what they were (Jane refers to them as “cookies” in episode 47, so I had a bit of a clue), but what they tasted like.

To this end I hot-footed it to my go-to baking blog for American recipes, smitten kitchen.  It was here that I discovered the wonderful pumpkin muffins, amongst other delights, so I was confident that I’d find what I was looking for, and sure enough, there it was!  Now, I know this sounds ridiculous, especially when you click on the link and see the picture right there under the title, but I was using my phone and eager to get the recipe to add to my shopping list, and I actually managed not to look at any of the photos.  So I still had no idea what snickerdoodles looked like.  You’ll see why I’m telling you this in a minute.

The ingredients are fairly standard and I had them almost all in, but to the best of my knowledge I had never used cream of tartar in my life before, so Southern Daddy popped out to ASDA to procure me some.  Once he was back, I set off.

DoughI prepared the dough by creaming the butter and sugar, beating in the eggs one at a time and then adding the dry ingredients (I have to confess to having stopped sifting flour etc when it is destined to be beaten, after hearing Michel Roux and Mary Berry agreeing that it’s  an unnecessary hassle if you’re going to knock all the air back out of your carefully sifted mixture with a whisk).  I then took the tip of chilling the mixture in the fridge for an hour to make it easier to form into balls for the next stage.  Having read all the information about ice-cream scoops and their numbered sizes, and discovered a helpful Wikipedia page on the subject (who’d have guessed there were so many? – I’d really like to see a number 6!) I concluded that whether or not my ice-cream scoop was the right size, it was not the right kind, having no device for the easy removal of the contents, and I therefore decided to use a spoon.Photo 4

As directed, I took spoonfuls of the mixture and rolled them between my hands to form small balls, which I then rolled in the cinnamon sugar until they were well coated, and then arranged them on the tray.  I thought they resembled tiny little doughnuts, and as I slid them into the oven and set the timer I envisaged delicious little bites of crispy, sugary doughnut. (Yes, OK, I know they’re referred to as cookies, but loads of things are, of all shapes and sizes…)Photo 2










Imagine my shock when I opened the door 5 minutes later to rotate the tray and discovered my lovely little morsels had apparently MELTED!

Photo 6

(On that first occasion, which wasn’t the one I photographed, my balls of dough were also too big/not far enough apart/both and so had melded, as well as melted.  They were easily separated cooling, however, and tasted just as good).

Anyway a quick google during the snickerdoodles’ second 5-minute blast reassured me that this was, in fact, their intended shape, and we had devoured almost a whole tray of hot cookies approximately 15 minutes later.

They are gooood!  Especially if you’re someone who likes cinnamon, which until recently I thought was the entire population of the world, until I discovered that a friend of mine who visited yesterday whilst I was making them can’t stand it, and that it also makes her sneeze repeatedly.  Strange.  Fortunately for me she’s on a diet so I didn’t have to be concerned for long over the fact that I had nothing to feed her on.  But generally I feel that this quotation from Jerry Seinfeld is pretty spot on:

Cinnamon. It should be on tables in restaurants along with salt and pepper. Anytime someone says, “Ooh, this is so good – what’s in this?” the answer invariably comes back, “cinnamon.” Cinnamon. Again and again.

Initially they are very airy (“deceptively light”, as another friend – this time more pro-cinnamon – described them yesterday) and put me in mind of the cake/biscuit part of a Jaffa Cake (I remember hearing a lot about that cake vs biscuit VAT debate but never any definitive outcome).  After 24 hours in a tin they are just as delicious, just as more-ish, but slightly more sunken and chewy in a cookie-like way.

When I introduce people to them, the first response is usually “SnickerWHAT?” followed closely by “So they’re made out of Snickers, then?” (which is what I’d envisaged myself before I saw the recipe).  Try as I might, I can’t find a definitive etymology for the name – some people seem to think they’re German or Dutch in origin, from a word describing a snail, whereas others believe it’s a name from folk tales.  Still others just think it’s one of those silly words people make up to describe a new recipe.  But whatever their origins, most people seem to agree that they’re a favourite once you’ve tasted them.

The only thing is, I can’t seem to stop wondering about crispy little spheres of doughnut, coated in cinnamon and sugar – I might have to investigate that idea further…


*Not in a weird, need-to-see-a-psychiatrist sort of way – I just mean it seems to be mentioned quite a bit.

Thankful for…

Better weather – hurrah! Despite the frost this morning and the fact my feet are quite cold now, it seems spring might be on the way.

Our boiler, which broke down on Friday night, was able to be fixed very quickly and we now have information about getting a new one without a lot of expense.

I am really, really enjoying following the Confident Mom planner and her other tips and advice are working for me too.

Alice’s latest post on combating the judgemental, perfectionist side of ourselves which makes us feel perpetually inadequate, and also for the Better Voice itself.

My continued involvement in my daughters’ school.


2 responses to “SnickerWHAT?

  1. alicebuckley says:

    Ooh, I’m SUCH a sucker for cinnamon! And now I’m thinking of ways of making doughnuts with a cinnamon buttercream or something – that would be good, wouldn’t it?!

    I’ve never had a snickerdoodle, but I’m now very tempted. I love smitten kitchen – she’s just covered EVERYTHING in such a perfect way hasn’t she?

    Thanks so much for linking to the post – so encouraging and kind. x

    • northmum says:

      Yes – SK is pretty perfect, and I love the way she always says if she messed up the quantities or something, and it still worked out ok 🙂
      I strongly recommend having a go at snickerdoodles, although they’re a fairly labour-intensive bake, with all the rolling and rotating and what-have-you (especially if, like me, you realise you only have one tray’s worth of parchment left and have to re-use the same tray 5 times!) – but it pretty much guarantees you get the washing up done, because you don’t have chance to leave the kitchen!
      I’m not a huge buttercream fan (something happened to my tastes whilst I was dieting and I now find I no longer love things I used to… and I’ve noticed myself ordering toasted teacakes in cafés a lot more!) but a small blob of cinnamon buttercream would certainly not go amiss in a mini doughnut…

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