Friday, 16 November 2012


Apparently, these are quite well known in the US. But I first came across them in my beloved introduction to baking that is Nigella Lawson's "How To Be A Domestic Goddess". After some research on the internet, it appears that the "proper" US snickerdoodle is something slightly different - something much more biscuity and flatter. However,  it's very own Wikipedia page page seems to concur with the Nigella version.

Many hands make light work?!
Anyhow, whatever, we make them regularly. My kids can be fussy and often prefer shop-bought commercial products (the little horrors - they will learn, in time!) but for some reason, they love these snickerdoodles. Which is odd enough, as they include nutmeg, which is not usually something that appeals massively to small children. Whatever, these are great - the girls love to help make them; rolling them between their palms and dipping in cinnamon sugar, a perfect occupation (Mum needs EAGLE EYES though, to stop too much dough going into their little mouths!). But when cooked, they have the bonus of being a brilliant biscuit/cakey hybrid thing. Small, the perfect size to have with a cuppa in the afternoon, they are also grown up (for that, read "less sweet") enough to be served with coffee after a dinner party.

So, the elder of the DinnerBabies (5½) is having a friend over for a playdate. I don't want to make cake - that's too grand, and anyhow, I want to make a fresh one in the morning for the weekend, so what to do to entertain the girls and be nice for the mums to have with a coffee before hometime? I had a brainwave and remembered the snickerdoodles. Perfect! There is also something evocative of Christmas about them, I think it's the nutmeg and cinnamon that make them slightly Germanic and therefore lends that Christmassy air (and Wikipedia tells me that the name is thought to come from the German "Schneckennudlen", describing a snail-like shape). Whatever, I like to eat them any time of the year.

I am sorry to report that only TWO solitary snickerdoodles survived the night, and as Friday is "treat day" in school, these were duly dispatched in lunchboxes this morning. But what better accolade can a cook have, than an empty plate?

So bake and enjoy - here's the recipe.

From Nigella Lawson's "How To Be A Domestic Goddess", page 58

  • 250g plain flour
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125g butter, at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar, plus 2 extra tablespoons for dipping
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 baking sheets, lined or greased
  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  1. Combine the flour, nutmeg, baking powder and salt, and set aside for a moment
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter with the 100g of sugar, until light in texture and pale in colour, then beat in the egg and vanilla
  3. Now stir in the dry ingredients until you have a smooth, coherent mixture
  4. Spoon out the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugae and the cinnamon onto a plate or shallow bowl
  5. Now, with your fingers, squidge out pieces of dough and roll between the palms of your hands into walnut-sized balls
  6. Roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and arrange on your prepared baking sheets
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes, by which time they should be turning golden brown
  8. Rake out of the oven and rest for about 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool
    makes about 32

Nigella also suggests a variaton that I haven't tried so far - replace 25g of the flour with cocoa to make what she calls "chocodoodles".

Anyhow, it's something new to try for your weekend.

Sarah xx

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