Christmas Day is nearly upon us! This year we have tried hard to personalize our Christmas giving with treats made here at the farm. Our friends and family will be enjoying some of the canned and dried goods we put up during the summer joined in baskets with baked goods and home crafts. Each basket is unique based on what we know about the person receiving it. Neal’s mother loves orange marmalade while our friend Kellie hates pickles. Equestrian friends will find horse themed home crafts in their baskets while other friends will find crafts that fit their passions. We hope that these baskets are not only enjoyed by their recipients, but also bring a little bit of our home into theirs. It warms my heart to be able to share with others the blessings we have received throughout the year even if they aren’t in the form of the more common store bought gifts.
One thing found in all the baskets is a jar of cookies! Nothing fancy and not even holiday cookies by definition. Just good old fashion, made from scratch, classic favorites. One of those is the Snickerdoodle. A favorite since I was a child and new one for Neal. My recipe was copied from a worn out index card in my mother’s recipe box. I was fairly certain it was the very one found in the Betty Crocker Cooky Book. When I found a copy in the Scotland County Memorial Library I was able to confirm that was the case. I have loved the Betty Crocker Cooky Book since I was a child. I remember carefully turning each page making sure to not rip the delicate pages. The pictures were so colorful and expertly laid out. It made each cookie look even more delicious. As an adult I still love the book, but for different reasons. I have found the recipes to be timeless and fitting for the traditionally stocked family kitchen. Rarely do any of the recipes call for ingredients that I can’t easily find either already stocked on my shelves or carried at the local grocery store.
The recipe as found in the book is…
1 cup shortening (part butter or margarine – I do 1/2 shortening and 1/2 butter)
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix shortening, 1 1/2 cup sugar, and eggs thoroughly in large mixing bowl. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting. Blend flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt together in medium bowl. Stir into the shortening mixture. Mix 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp cinnamon in small bowl. Shape dough into 1″ balls. Roll balls in the sugar/cinnamon mixture to cover. Place 2″ apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. These cookies puff up at first, then flatten out.
I use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer to bring this dough together and it makes for fast and easy work.
I also use duck eggs for all my baking instead of chicken eggs. Chicken eggs are something we sell quite a bit of here on the farm and during the winter months the chickens do not lay as often so sales drop during this time of year. I try to reserve as many of my chicken eggs for my regular customers as I can by making the duck eggs my personal go-to in the kitchen. Duck eggs are richer in protein than chicken eggs and for that reason are preferred by many bakers though I personally haven’t noticed such a big difference in my bake goods that I have preference. They do make much richer custard pies though and will never make another one without them. Duck eggs are a bit larger so I do have to watch that my recipes do not have too much moisture due to the larger eggs. This recipe was right on the edge and I could probably have added a tad bit more flour without issue, but I did not and it worked out just fine.
One thing I have learned while baking this year is that I have been making drop cookies and ball cookies entirely too large for much of my adult life! I’ve always had to cook my cookies longer than recipes said and often was not happy with the results. One day I was honest with myself about how well I was really following these recipes and realized my idea of a teaspoon drop or 1″ ball was closer to a tablespoon drop or 3″ ball. This season I tried hard to keep my cookies a much more reasonable size and it sure made baking them much easier and I was much happier with the results.
Here are my new and improved Snickerdoodle balls made as a much more conscientious baker. I baked mine for exactly 9 minutes and then allowed them to cool on a baking rack before I put them in the jars for our gift baskets.
If you’ve never baked cookies from scratch, perhaps always having used the pre-made dough available in the grocery store, I highly recommend giving it a try. It is super easy. Even if you don’t have a stand mixer you can mix everything by hand just fine. I think you’ll like the finished product much more not to mention the pride in knowing the love and work you’ve put into it yourself.
Happy Homesteading and God Bless,