There are three things I will never, ever in a million years share with the world:
1)Any of Jeff’s secrets (except the funny ones)
2)What I looked like between the ages of 10 and 13
3)My snickerdoodle cookie recipe
Today I’m about to make a liar of myself. I’m going to share one of those three sacred things with you, dear reader. Because when you really get down to it, how important is it to maintain arbitrary secrecy? Especially when the secret is SO GOOD that you don’t just want – you need – to share it with the whole world, regardless of what your husband may think. A secret that festers in the very core of your being, then in a great burst it scrabbles to get out, pulling in your throat and aching in your typing fingers. A secret that will emerge to the world, and you are just a helpless vehicle.
But there are also secrets that are sort of…semi-secrets. Family only secrets. You know you can’t release them to the world, but you also can’t keep them bottled up inside. They’re the secrets that paradoxically become stronger when shared among members of a group. Secrets that you must pay tribute to every time they cross your mind. Secrets which cannot be wholly contained, nor can they be completely released.
This is the type of secret which I’m about to share with you, and only you. Because you laugh with me (and at me) when I put on my intrigued bubushka face. You encourage me and cry with me and help me and inspire me and make me happy and sometimes you drive me nuts. You love my brain-dead dog. We really are like family, aren’t we?
So lean in close, I’ve got a secret to tell you…
One time, when Jeff was a kid, he…
Naw, just kidding. It’s the snickerdoodles.
Now here’s where I take off my modesty hat and put on my “I am a fucking badass” cape. I ROCK THE SNICKERDOODLES. If there’s one thing I’m known for, it’s being an annoying redhead. If there are two things I’m known for, it’s being an annoying redhead who knits. If there are THREE things I’m known for, though, it’s being an annoying redhead who knits and rocks the snickerdoodles.
They’re sorta my “thing”, you see. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be allowed to attend the annual Monson family get-together if I didn’t arrive bearing a giant tub o’ goodness. I get whiny pleading emails from co-workers about these things. When I go to Kansas City, I’ll sneak a covered plate of them into the garage and set them on my dad’s car, for him to discover and devour the next day. I MADE THREE BATCHES OF THESE FOR MY WEDDING.
So yeah, I know my snickerdoodles. And though I really really wish that I could send each and every one of you your own magical box of cinnamon-y deliciousness, that’s just not feasible. So I’m offering the next best thing.
Just promise me something, ok? Let’s keep it in the family 😉
Doesn’t look all that impressive or unique or secretive, does it? No, they won’t. Not for a while yet. But bear with me…you’re about to make magic.
Hmm…nothing magical about that…
…nope, nothing magical there either.
Maybe if we…
I think we’re getting somewhere!
Oh, yeah. That’s the stuff.
Now what if we…
And then we…
(You’ll know they’re done when the tops are *just* starting to crack.)
But wait! There’s more!
And, I’m spent.
1/2 c (1 stick) butter
1/2 c shortening
1 1/2 c sugar
*scant* 2 3/4 c flour
2t cream of tartar
cinnamon-sugar mix (mine is about 35/65 but you can go less cinnamon-y if you want. Or more.)
Preheat oven to 400*. Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, sugar, and eggs. Mix in flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt (depending on how dry/humid it is, I sometimes go as high as 3c of flour or as low as 2 1/2c. You’ve just gotta get a feel for it). In small bowl, mix cinnamon and other sugar. Roll dough into ~1″ balls; roll in cinnamon-sugar. Bake on ungreased baking sheet for 7 minutes, or until cookies are *just* starting to crack on top. Cool briefly before transferring to wire rack. Cookies should sink as they cool (that’s what makes them so gooeychewy – they’re slightly under-cooked in the center); if they don’t you’ve either added too much flour or overbaked.
1)Texture is really important on these – they’ve gotta be spot on. I’ve found that the dough is just right when, as you roll, a bit of dough gradually builds up on your palms. Dough shouldn’t be sticky, but it also shouldn’t be crumbly at all.
2)Don’t overbake! I mean it! Nothing is worse than a crumbly snickerdoodle. NOTHING. Except maybe Hitler.
3)With these cookies, you can take over the world (guess that’s what Hitler was lacking). And by “take over the world” I mean, “make your friends and family immensely satisfied.” Same thing.
Well, that’s it. Once the secret’s out, it can never go back in. I hope you enjoy*!
PS>This was also the inaugural batch of snickerdoodles on my fancydancy new mixer! I can’t wait to use it for my August baking – I’ll be able to get ’em all in two double batches! 🙂 **
PPS>And now that I’ve told you, I must kill you. Wait, did I leave that part out? Oops.
*but if you’re a crazyperson who for some reason *doesn’t* like these (and if you are, you can just stop reading my blog now), feel free to mail any remaining to my dad.
**That is, if I’m invited back. I know a couple of my aunts and cousins read this occasionally; they’ll probably take over the snickerdoodle duties and never be invited to any family function ever again.