This weekend I was in the mood for baking. I wanted a fairly traditional cookie that most would enjoy, but something other than chocolate chip – been there, done that! I suddenly got a craving for snickerdoodles, and started doing some searching around. It turns out that Mrs. Sigg’s Snickerdoodles are quite the popular treat. For those of you know that know me, I’m never one to stick completely to tradition, so I welcome the opportunity to add a little extra spice or flavor where I can. Luckily, I found a variation on this exact recipe from Baking Bites. Nicole, brilliant baker that she is, jazzed up the traditional snickerdoodle with ginger, cloves, cardammom, and allspice for a chai-inspired treat. I love chai, and especially love anything with the zippy spiciness from cloves and ginger. I didn’t have cardammom, however, so I just used some extra cinnamon. It seems that I am always substituting cinnamon for cardammom, so maybe it’s time to finally buy some. We’ll see if I remember next time I’m out shopping.
In reading the reviews from AllRecipes, I found that some of the readers recommended creaming the butter and sugar by hand. What?! I’ve heard it’s important to not overmix cookies, but I always thought that referred just to the stage of adding the dry ingredients to the fat, sugar, and eggs. I’ve always creamed my butter and sugar using an electric mixer, beating it to a light, fluffly consistency. Was I doing something wrong? I did a little hunting and found some useful information from Baking 911. It turns out that the ideal way to do this is to beat your butter and/or shortening to soften it, and the sugar in slowly – not all at once. The proper effect can be achieved by hand or machine, so I chose to use my KA mixer. I also learned another neat trick – instead of waiting for butter to soften, you can grate it and then go right ahead and start creaming.
I think paying that little bit of extra attention was worthwhile, as the texture of these cookies turned out wonderfully. I was also really please with the uniformity of the batch- all the cookies turned out great looking and acheived the right amount of spreading. Usually I have at least a few non-comformers who insist on spreading to their own rhythm. And the flavor? That was delicious too. I really enjoy the little-something-extra from the ginger and cloves, and have been savoring these cookies nightly with a cup of herbal tea.
Here is the original recipe from BakingBites. Note: I ommitted the cardamom and used extra cinnamon, and I used half butter and half shortening, per the original recipe from Mrs. Sigg. I also followed the advice from Baking 911 and creamed my butter a bit alone first to fully soften, and then added the sugar in a couple additions. I baked for 8 minutes, following the original instructions and reviews for the Mrs. Sigg recipe on Allrecipes.
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup butter, soft
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.In a large bowl, combine sugar and spices; remove 1/2 cup of this mixture and place in a medium-sized, shallow dish or bowl (like a soup plate).
Add butter to bowl and cream with sugar mixture until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract.In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda. Add to sugar mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in reserved sugar-spice mixture. Place on baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between balls to allow for spreading. Bake for about 12 minutes, until edges are firm to the touch, but not quite browned. Cool for 3-5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 4 dozen.