Category Archives: Dessert

Inside-Out Snickerdoodles

Put the cinnamon inside and avoid the rolling!

I kinda like Snickerdoodles, because I like cinnamon, but I’m not really crazy about the burst of sugar and cinnamon on the tongue as soon as you take a bite. So I just added the cinnamon to the basic dough and left out the additional sugar used to coat the cookies. The end result is a crackled cinnamon cookie with a kind of a sandy, chewy texture.

You could do this with any Snickerdoodle recipe, such as this one I made a few years ago, which by the way has pretty much the same ingredients, but more flour. The older one is from my Betty Crocker cookbook, and this newer one is from America’s Test Kitchen (paywall). ATK makes it sound like they thought up the cream of tartar, but it was also in my old Betty Crocker recipe, so maybe they just meant that they agreed with all the other recipes that use it. Both recipes also suggest using a combination of butter and solid shortening. In the past I just used all butter, but today, I went with the suggestion of both.

Here’s the ATK video of Snickerdoodles, followed by photos of my own cookies with the cinnamon inside:

Here are my cookies. I used a 1/4 cup scoop for my cookies, about twice the size of the ATK cookies, so they were larger than normal, some of them spreading out into the next cookie, even with only 6 per sheet. If you make large ones, they will need to bake for up to 6 minutes longer than the recipe suggests:

Inside-Out Snickerdoodles

  • Servings: 1.5 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preheat oven to 375º and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. I got 1 1/2 dozen large cookies from this recipe, but you could get 3 dozen smaller cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) softened butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions

  1. Whisk dry ingredients, including cinnamon, in bowl and set aside.
  2. In stand mixer or large bowl with portable mixer, beat together butter, shortening, and sugar until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  4. Carefully mix in dry ingredients until there are no dry pockets of dough.
  5. Scoop out dough with cookie scoop of desired size and place on parchment lined cookie sheets.
  6. Bake smaller cookies at 375º for 8-12 minutes; larger cookies for up to 18 minutes. No need to over-brown the cookies. They will set upon cooling. I let mine cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before trying to lift them onto the cooling rack.

Still Eating, If Not Writing

What’s been for dinner lately:

Sheet pan pizza with prosciutto, Parmesan, and white sauce. The crust is from America’s Test Kitchen’s “Pizza al Taglio with Arugula and Mozzarella,” but I baked it with a Parmesan/garlic white sauce, fresh mozzarella, baby spinach, and prosciutto. [There’s a paywall on this site.]

Beef stir fry. This is just a version of the one I make on the grill in the summer, with more veggies. I used some steamed frozen broccoli to avoid the longer cooking that fresh broccoli requires.

Rigatoni and butternut squash casserole with pancetta and Parmesan. Just like the one I’ve made before with bacon, but I find the pancetta to be milder and less overpowering than the bacon.

Boston Cream Pie—made this for my husband’s birthday. Specifically the Wicked Good Boston Cream Pie from America’s Test Kitchen. One word of caution: The written recipe omits the most important line from the video. When making the pastry cream, you don’t stop when bubbles break the surface; you continue whisking until the whisk leaves a trail in the bottom of the pan, sort of like when making jam. Otherwise the pastry cream will be runny. It’s a delightful cake. [There’s a paywall on this site.]

Apple Pie for Thanksgiving

It’s way past Thanksgiving, but I did save the pics from baking the apple pie—Whew!

I decided that I was kind of tired of the traditional pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. We weren’t having turkey, either, so tradition was kind of out the window.

As I know from many years of making apple pie, there are pitfalls:

  1. Sometimes the apples aren’t done by the time the crust is done.
  2. The filling can shrink away from the top crust as the apples cook within it. When you cut into such a pie, you think you’ve been cheated out of some filling.
  3. Sometimes the apples are too sweet or too tart because you don’t get to test the filling before it goes into the pie and make adjustments.

So this year, I cooked the filling first. In hindsight, it seems like a no-brainer. The best part of cooking the filling in advance is that you can do it the day before making the pie. You can also make the crust a day ahead so that the day of baking is just assembly and baking. I ended up making the whole pie the day before Thanksgiving so I could just eat on the big day. 👍

I found this terrific recipe for a Classic Apple Pie with Precooked Apple Filling. It also has what looks like a good crust that you might want to try, even though I opted for a different one. I used a combination of Granny Smith and Macintosh apples to cover both the tart and sweet flavors. I can’t imagine ever making another apple pie without a precooked filling.

For the crust I used the Foolproof All-Butter Dough from Cook’s Illustrated—it’s not the one with vodka. (There may be a paywall that prevents you from reading the recipe if you are not a member.) It’s a nice dough that almost resembles a puff pastry, with many flaky, tender layers, as you may be able to see in the photos. If you look closely at the slits in the baked pie, you can see the layers in the crust. We thought it was the most tender crust we ever had:

I can’t believe I didn’t take any photos of the pie after it was sliced!

Another Contender for Grandma’s Cookies—Buttermilk Cookies

I shared my post for Serinakaker with the only two people left who might remember my grandma’s cookies, my brother and cousin. One remembered and one kinda didn’t, but my cousin has her mother’s recipe box that includes three new possibilities for the cookies, two of them variations of a buttermilk cookie. One of those two is labeled as Mums, giving it priority. The one that uses sweet milk is identical to the one labeled Mums, with an addition of cream of tartar.

I’ve made the one labeled as Irma’s three times now (some are in the freezer), twice with butter and once with vegetable shortening, which the recipe calls for, but which I was reluctant to use for taste reasons. I had been thinking, even when making the serinakaker, that butter might have been a luxury in my grandmother’s house. I’m guessing that by shortening, the recipes mean something like Crisco®, but it could just as easily have meant margarine, which, like butter, has some water in it—that does affect texture, as well as taste.

These cookies are softer than serinakaker, rising to a dome shape after being rolled into balls, but I found the texture to be a little more fine and uniform than I remember her cookies. I played around with the amounts of flour and found the lesser amount suggested (“try 5 or 6 cups”) to be more flavorful, especially without butter. With butter the dough is very sticky and you need a lot of flour in order to shape it. With shortening, the dough is quite easy to handle.

If you’re wondering whether there is a corresponding Norwegian cookie, I did find Kringla, which uses buttermilk. It is rolled into rope pieces and then formed into a pretzel or knot shape for baking. The cookies I made with Crisco could easily have been shaped that way. Some kringla recipes use both buttermilk and sour or sweet cream. You will find kringla claimed by both Norwegians and Swedes, not surprisingly.

But, who knows where my grandmother’s cookies originated? Her mother was a Gillingham and her grandmother was a Shreffler, conjuring up all sorts of other culinary possibilities. In the end, maybe they simply came out of a magazine or popular cookbook. You’ll notice that all three recipes on the cards are just called Cookies with reference to the relatives and friends who claim them.

When I make them again, and I will, but not until a holiday, I’m definitely going to try a knotted shape. That way you can distinguish them from the serinakaker, which I will also be making again. For now, I’m a little bit over cookies for a while. In the photos below, the first one shows cookies that had been scooped or rolled into balls, with no other shaping or topping. The second photo shows the same cookie, but with fork marks and decorating sugar. The third photo shows the fine texture of these cookies.

Here’s the recipe, as I made it:

Buttermilk or Sour Milk Cookies

  • Servings: about 4 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preheat oven to 350°; line cookie sheets with parchment paper, if desired.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening (or butter for more flavor)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup  buttermilk or soured milk (to one cup of sweet milk, stir in one tablespoon of white vinegar and let sit until it curdles)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  •  5-6 cups all purpose flour

Preparation

  1. Mix by hand or in a stand mixer. I used a stand mixer.
  2. Mix sugar and shortening until well combined, then beat in eggs.
  3. Slowly mix in soured milk and vanilla until well combined.
  4. Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt, then add to liquid mixture, mixing until smooth.
  5. If you used butter, wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, so you can handle it. Otherwise, you should be able to shape the dough immediately, with or without floured hands.
  6. Roll the dough into large walnut sized balls and place on cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake as is or do some shaping with a floured fork and decorating sugar.
  7. Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes. I think they’re better cooled, especially the next day, but that’s my preference for all cookies.

This cookie would make a good vehicle for frosting, if you’re into that sort of thing