Potluck on a Budget: Snickerdoodles

Five years ago, when we first started this project, our friends asked if they could have us over a lot and feed us. They were really worried that we wouldn’t get enough to eat. We told them no, because that goes against the idea of the project. This basically meant that we really didn’t see our friends that month, which also didn’t seem right. So the following year we decided that we could see friends, but we could only eat with them if we brought something to share. Enter the snickerdoodle. Cheap, easy, delicious, and always popular, at last year’s rules (‘paying’ for everything but spices) snickerdoodles cost $0.03 per two inch cookie, or $1.24 for a batch of three dozen. They’re great cookies, and we generally have two each after dinner every night – which helps to make the whole month a bit easier.

My first batch of snickerdoodles did not turn out well. I used the recipe in the Joy of Cooking, which had never steered me wrong. Since it’s never failed me since, I think that there was an error with their snickerdoodle recipe, because I had to make a lot of changes.


Ingredients (makes about 36 2 inch cookies):
2 3/4 cups flower
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened butter*
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs

1 tbl sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 375F

1. Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until creamed. Add the eggs and beat until well combined.
3. Stir in the flour mixture. If dough is very crumbly – which happens in winter when it’s so dry, melt a tiny pat of butter (like 1/4 tbl) and pour over the dough, then mix together. This should help bring the dough together.
4. Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Shape the dough into balls (an inch will get you a two inch cookie), then roll in the cinnamon sugar.
5. Arrange the cookies at least two inches apart on the cookie sheet. I leave mine in balls and they stay a little puffed up. You’re free to flatten if you like.
6. Bake one sheet at time for 8-10 minutes – until the cookies are golden brown at the edges. A shorter cooking time tends to lead to a softer cookie. Let stand on the cookie sheet for about a minute, then move to a rack for cooling. Enjoy!

* Butter is essential – cream of tartar is flavorful, but the butter is part of the flavor as well. If you don’t have time to soften the butter, put it in the microwave on the defrost setting for 10 seconds – flipping over after 5 seconds.

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