Snickerdoodle Cookies

IMG_1190 Snickerdoodle cookies – Exhibit A, chillin’ on the window sill before going into my tummy.

A little thanks to my Dad on Father’s Day…

scan0001 Dad… circa 1973.

When I was about six or seven years old, I wrote to Santa and asked for a Barbie car.  My neighbor had one, and I enviously watched her play with it.  For years, before and after that Christmas, my wish list was pretty predictable:

1.  Books
2.  Paper
3.  Pens and Pencils

That year, however, office supplies paled in comparison to that hot pink, top down plastic car.  I put it as #1 on my list, carefully sealed the envelope, and gave it to my parents to mail to the North Pole.  

On Christmas morning, I stood before the tree and quickly surveyed the gifts.  Spying a rectangular, shoe-box shaped package, my heart skipped.  Bingo!  My sister and I opened our presents, and I purposefully avoided that box, savoring what would be my grandest prize.  Even at that age, I liked to save the best for last.  When I finally got to it, I ripped open the wrapping and excitedly peeked inside, only to feel confusion.  I put the wrapping paper aside and lifted the box closer.  I looked at my parents who smiled and looked back expectantly, and I said out loud, puzzled:  A blue Nerf football?”

I think my Dad was ahead of his time.  Only in the most progressive circles have I been able to discuss why a gender binary is problematic.  I’m not sure Dad would frame it that way, but this much is clear: he wasn’t interested in pigeon-holing me or my sisters by our gender.  While he never denied us dolls and dress-up time, he also introduced us to things most parents don’t get for their little girls: train sets, remote control toy cars, video games, footballs….  We never thought of “that’s for boys” as a reason to not do something.  Dad taught us how to throw a football, and we practiced and played until we could throw perfect spirals like he did.  At the same time, we could be princesses whenever the notion overtook us.  Princesses, albeit, who wouldn’t blink an eye to wrestle you to the ground if we had to.  

My Dad has always been one of my greatest allies.  He encourages me to do what makes me happy, to work hard, and never be afraid of failing.  When I didn't understand something, or didn't agree with him, we would talk about it.  His answer was never: "Because I said so."  My dad has always found little ways to make me feel special.  Sometimes, Dad would wake me up earlier than usual on a school day and take me out for a daddy-daughter breakfast, just him and me.  It put me on top of the world.  Once, after a particularly long period of grueling study for exams, Dad put me in the car and made me promise to keep my eyes shut.  When we arrived at our secret destination, I opened my eyes and happily discovered we were at an ice cream parlor.

When I couldn't sleep, I sometimes snuck downstairs to where my Dad was watching TV.  The only light on would be the one emitting from the television.  I'd hide on the stairs until I had the courage to pipe up, "Daddy, I can't sleep."  Usually, I was sent straight back upstairs to bed.  Once in awhile though, I got lucky.  Dad would pause, wave me over, and I'd scamper to the couch to claim the coveted seat next to him.  He'd hand me the bag of potato chips, and I would want to hold on to that moment forever.  Just me and my Dad.  The rest of the world asleep.  The TV softly playing.  Delicious, salty potato chips in my hands.

Around Christmas, for several years, Dad took my sisters and me downtown to the Holiday Carousel.  After bundling us up, he would take us to a cafe and we’d each be allowed to order whatever our little hearts desired.  On top of a hot cocoa, I always asked for a snickerdoodle cookie.  Treats in hand, we’d walk around and enjoy all of the festive decorations. 

This Father’s Day, as a nod to my Dad, I decided to finally try my hand at snickerdoodle cookies.  I was put off by the cream of tartar ingredient I saw in most recipes.  I have an aversion to cooking or baking with anything that doesn’t seem simple.  I searched high and low and finally found a few recipes that didn’t ask for cream of tartar.  I found one recipe that called for lard and had every intention of using it, but found that the lard the grocery store carried wasn’t real lard… it was some strange, chemical cocktail.  Nix.  I used butter instead, and whole milk.  

Strangely, I wasn’t enamored with these cookies, fresh out of the oven.  I was hoping for a little more chewiness, and wanted more cinnamon.  I had four taste testers – three thought they were perfect as they were, and one agreed with me.  In my opinion, these cookies were even better the next day after I’d stored them in a container with two slices of an apple.  They had that delicious, chewy texture I was going for.  Still, I’d love some more cinnamon in the next batch.

Love you, Dad – Happy Father’s Day!

cookies and ramen(L –R) Batter … butter and sugar, creamed … butter, sugar and sour milk

cookies and ramen1 Happy little balls of dough, coated with sugar and cinnamon – yippee!

cookies and ramen2 
My little army of snickerdoodles, all ready for the oven!

I don’t have a "cooling rack" and don't need one.  To make your own cooling rack, use chopsticks, shisk-ka-bob skewers, or an extra rack from the oven (take it out before turning the oven on).  Improvise!  A good cook doesn’t need fancy equipment, just a little ingenuity.  ^_^

This recipe is adapted from King Arthur’s Flour Baker’s Companion.  It makes 32 cookies.

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  1. i'm curious, why dont you like cream of tartar?

    snickerdoodles are probably one of my favorite cookies. next to the classic oatmeal raisin, yay!

    p.s. your father is very handsome. no wonder, all his daughters are gorgeous.

  2. hmm... my decision to avoid cream of tartar isn't based on anything scientific. i have just never used it to cook or bake anything, and it seemed like a poor use of money to buy it and use it for one recipe alone. to utilize it fully, i'd have to look for more recipes that called for cream of tartar. now that i think about it, that could be a fun challenge... but then this journey wouldn't be "simple" anymore, in my book. and i'm a simple cook. :)

  3. Okay: chopsticks + plate = cooling rack: my new favorite idea.