24 September 2013

Vegan Viands #13: Vegan Snickerdoodles

When I sat down to write this post, my first thought was about the origin of the name "snickerdoodles." I love words (even though my professional life has nothing to do with words), so any time I can learn about a new word, I get a little bit excited.* Although I do not allow my students to EVER cite from Wikipedia, I do admit that I go there from time to time to get a little bit of background on a topic. According to the Wiki article on snickerdoodles, the word is either a bastardization of the name of a German pastry or simply a New England "whimsical" name for a cookie. Either way, they are delicious.

Snickerdoodles are actually one of Shana's favorite types of cookies. I don't make them that often, so when I offer to do so, she jumps at the chance to eat them. I'm not sure why I got the bug to make snickerdoodles this time around. Maybe it's the cinnamon tickling my nose and eliciting a wonderful feeling of nostalgia that alternates between suffused elation and a feeling both tender and bittersweet. I always feel this way during autumn. Maybe it's that we just spent a wonderful weekend celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary and I wanted to maintain that feeling of connection a little bit into the week. Maybe I just felt I was rushing the season too much if I made my pumpkin cookies. Or maybe it's just that I haven't made snickerdoodles in a really long time. Regardless, they sure were delicious!


Vegan Snickerdoodles
Ingredients
1 c. (2 sticks) vegan butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. white sugar
2 "eggs"
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 3/4 flour
2 T. white sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions
Preheat oven to 400.
1. Cream the butter and 1 1/2 c. sugar together until they are light and fluffy.
2. Add the "eggs" and cream again.
3. Add the baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt, start mixer on low. Slowly add the flour until it is all incorporated.
4. Mix together the 2 T. sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
5. Roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts, then roll each ball in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
Here's my hand for size reference
6. Place 2" apart on a cookie sheet (no greasing necessary) and bake for 8-10 minutes (they will still look soft and squishy in the middle).
7. Let cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a cooling rack.

Helpful Hints
  • You're supposed to sift the flour for this recipe. I never do, but if you have the patience, go for it!
  • The dough for snickerdoodles is rather unremarkable (in my opinion). What makes them delicious is the cinnamon/sugar coating and their softness. Speaking of cinnamon, you know that not all cinnamon is created equally, right? For this recipe, I use the best cinnamon I have, which is Penzey's Vietnamese Cinnamon. Just read the description at that link. Yum!
  • When I roll the dough, I use essentially a "wet hand/dry hand" method. In other words, one hand is in charge of rolling balls of dough, but that hand will never touch the cinnamon/sugar mixture. The other hand is in charge of coating the dough balls with cinnamon/sugar, but will never touch the dough. Since the dough is sticky, I find this minimizes transfer of dough into the cinnamon and cinnamon into the dough.
  • I'm not sure I've ever mentioned it before, but when I bake cookies, I use a silicone baking mat on top of a special cookie sheet with holes in it. I never have to grease a cookie sheet. I also use a silicone baking mat for anything that needs essentially a flat cooking surface and that I think will be sticky. It's a good investment if you make cookies regularly. 

*For example, I cannot tell you how fascinated I was by this article about how the punctuation mark "/ " became verbalized and then a conjunction. Language in action!

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