Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Cinnamon dreams

Not quite cake, not quite cookie, snickerdoodles fall somewhere inbetween in the baking lexicon. Lightly crisp on the outside, soft and tender-crumbed on the inside, they make another good accompaniment to a mid-morning cup of tea or coffee.

Have I mentioned that they're rolled in cinnamon sugar? And that there's a generous grating of nutmeg in the cake/cookie/whatever-it-is mix?

As a consequence, they smell heavenly when they're baking in the oven. Imagine the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting around the house, lifting the spirits, making everything feel snug and warm on a chilly autumn day. Consider it a form of aromatherapy with edible results.

And I defy anyone to eat just one snickerdoodle alone, particularly when they're still warm from the oven. It's simply not possible. I've already eaten three while typing this up...

from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

Makes around 21

You'll need:

250g plain flour
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
125g butter, at room temperature
100g plus 2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 180Cgas mark 4 and line or oil two baking trays.

2. Combine the flour, nutmeg, baking powder and salt, and set aside for a moment.

3. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the 100g of sugar until light in texture and pale in colour, then beat in the egg and vanilla.

4. Now stir in the dry ingredients until you have a smooth, coherent mixture.

5. Spoon out the remaining sugar and the cinnamon on to a plate. Then, with your fingers, squidge out pieces of dough and roll into walnut-sized* balls. Roll each ball in the cinnamon mixture and arrange on the prepared baking trays, two inches apart.

6. Bake for 15 minutes, by which time they should be turning golden brown. Take out of the oven and leave to rest on the baking trays for 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Cook's notes

For a chocolatey variation, replace 25g of the flour with cocoa powder.

Be careful with the baking time on this recipe. Snickerdoodles are supposed to be a teensy bit dry, making them good tea-break dunking material, but it's easy to go too far and dry them out completely.

Nigella suggests they'd be good with spicy poached plums and cream. I'm also thinking pears... Or crumbled over icecream... I wonder if you could adapt it into some kind of cobbler topping... Oh the possibilities!

They don't store well, so they would make a lovely treat to share with work colleagues or friends on the day of baking or within 24 hours at most.

*I don't know what kind of walnuts Nigella is used to but they must be tiny. She suggests that this recipe makes about 32 snickerdoodles, but I only managed to scrape 21 together at a push.

I've eaten another one to see me to the end of these notes. I don't think that Mr. B is going to get a look in.


Kieran said...

Looks a nice snack indeed!

hellojed said...

That looks and sounds delicious!

Jen said...

Hey Kieran. They're fab. Anything with cinnamon in it gets my vote :-)

Hi Hellojed. Covered in cinnamon, delicious, quick to make and cook... The only thing wrong with them is that they don't keep very long :-( So I'm obligated to eat as many as possible as quickly as I can :-)

kickpleat said...

wow, that looks great. i love cinnamon!!