This month, in honor of the holidays, we’ve asked our Culinary Arts and Pastry & Baking Arts instructors to share their favorite festive recipes. Last week, Chef Kathryn Gordon shared an Australian holiday treat: mince tartelettes. Today, Chef Scott McMillen, one of our core Pastry & Baking Arts instructors, gets nostalgic about a classic American cookie.
My mom would make snickerdoodles once, and only once, each year. Every Christmas Eve we would leave a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa. The crisp outside and soft interior highlight the sweet holiday spiciness that sticks in my memory. She used the recipe from her Betty Crocker Cookbook – one of the old ones with the recipe pages in a kind of loose leaf binder. Here, I adapt that recipe, substituting light brown sugar for a third of the granulated sugar, which makes the cookie chewier. Unsalted butter replaces the butter/shortening combination from the original recipe, and I use baking powder instead of baking soda and cream of tartar. A touch of freshly ground nutmeg also adds some extra flavor.
- 2 3/4 cups flour (345g)
- 2 tsp baking powder (9g)
- 1/2 tsp salt (3g)
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter (225g)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar (110g)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 g)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon (8g)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Beat the butter and sugars until light, airy and uniformly blended.
- Add the eggs one at a time, waiting for each to be fully incorporated before the next addition. Scrape the bowl between additions.
- Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg and stir it into the butter mixture until the dough just pulls together. Do not continue to mix past this point or the cookies will be tough. The dough can be refrigerated for up to a week at this point.
- Combine the additional 1/4 cup of sugar and tablespoon of cinnamon in a bowl.
- Form the dough into about 40 one inch round balls. Roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar until completely and thickly coated.
- Space them two inches apart on a greased or parchment lined cookie tray and bake for 8 minutes, or until the cookies’ surface starts to crack. (Bake for 10 minutes if you want a crisper cookie.)