These cookies started out life as walnut, coffee splodge cookies but when I realized I had no brown sugar in the house, I improvised. It's one of those mysteries in life because I could've sworn I had at least 2 packets of brown sugar but well... try as I may, I could not spot even one packet. The oven was on, time was ticking, so I gave up.
Leafing through "How to be a Domestic Goddess" by Nigella Lawson, I desperately sought for a recipe that used similar ingredients as the walnut, coffee cookies. The reason being is that I had already measured out the flour and had butter, sugar, baking powder etc all ready on the bench.
Lo and behold: snickerdoodles. I had no idea what they were but the important thing to me was that they required just the amount of flour that I'd measured out. Horray! I was saved.
I know that in pastry-making, 'blind baking' has a special meaning. Well, I'd like to use that term for what I did today because I was baking blind in the sense that I had no clue what I was aiming for. This lead to some moments of panic. To save you from the same trouble, I'll clarify some points...
Snickerdoodles aren't really biscuits. I rolled up balls of dough and placed them on the baking tray. I expected these balls to flatten out in the oven but they didn't. After a quick look through Google Images, I found that you can get the flat versions OR, you can get ball-shaped versions of snickerdoodles. I suppose mine is the ball-shaped version.
Nigella describes them as oven-baked donuts but less springy. I think they're a bit like doughy, spicy shortbread. Both descriptions are appealing and that does them justice because they are quite tasty.
Makes 32 (even though I halved this recipe and made 6)
- 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, nutmeg, baking powder and salt.
3. In another bowl, cream the butter with 1/3 of the sugar until light and pale.
4. Add the egg and vanilla extract to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until smooth.
5. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and combine to form a smooth dough.6. Combine the rest of the sugar and the cinnamon in a plate.7. Using your fingers, squeeze out pieces of dough and roll into walnut-sized balls. Cover in the cinnamon-sugar and arrange on the baking sheet.8. Bake for about 15min, when they are just turning golden brown. Leave on the baking sheet to rest for 1min before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
The snickerdoodles turned out great. There's some mathematical dilemma here because the original recipe states that it makes 32. I actually halved the recipe and I made 6. Strange? Maybe my 6 are super large but I don't know... they seem alright to me and are cooked throughout.
I think the texture is just lovely. A bit like shortbread but more doughy and with the spicy, sugary crust. The inside isn't too sweet which is perfect for those that can't handle intense, sickly sweetness.
Nigella suggests that they be eaten with spiced fruit and creme fraiche. That sounds a bit strange to me (though I do trust her picks) but my personal match would be a nice cup of coffee.