Book of CookiesYesterday, I was in the mood to make some snickerdoodles (because I have a problem), but my usual recipe calls for softened butter.  Normally, that’s not an issue – throw a stick of butter on the counter, kill some time, come back and make cookies.  This time, though,  I was working in the relatively small window of naptime and didn’t want to lose any time waiting for butter to soften.

I decided to check into my awesome set of 1950s cookbooks and see if there was a recipe in there for snickerdoodles that didn’t call for butter.  And of course there was, because any 1950s homemaker worth her salt could crank out a batch of snickerdoodles, right?

As soon as I pulled the cookie sheet out of the oven, I knew my world would never be the same. These are the snickerdoodles of my dreams: the craggy tops, the spicy cinnamon flavor, the perfect not-too-soft-but-not-crisp texture.  The lesson here is this: if you want a cookie that taste like childhood, go with a recipe that your grandmother might have used.  You can’t go wrong.



slightly adapted from Good Housekeeping’s Book of Cookies, 1958.

Makes approximately 2 dozen

1 1/4 c. plus 2 T. unbleached all purpose flour
1 t. cream of tartar
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. shortening
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 T. sugar
1 t. cinnamon

Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside.  With mixer, cream together shortening, sugar, egg, and vanilla on medium speed until very light and fluffy.  With mixer on low, gradually mix in dry ingredients until dough comes together.  Put dough in refrigerator until dough is chilled enough to handle easily.

Preheat oven to 400.  Line two baking sheets with parchment. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Break off pieces of dough and form into walnut-sized balls (or use a cookie scoop), roll in cinnamon and sugar, and place on baking sheets.  Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until set.  There will be wide cracks on top of the cookies and the dough will look moist, but a quick touch with your finger should tell you if it’s set or not.  Remove immediately to wire racks to cool.