Happy Friday to you all! So excited to finally be getting a Famous Fridays post out to you today (it’s been over a month, sorry April!) and what a FF it is too! Today I am sharing one of my all time favorite baking cookbooks, BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts by the incredible Stella Parks and her recipe for the absolute, best, most scrumptious snickerdoodles I have ever consumed (and by consumed, I mean consumed, because these were just impossible to resist!!!) Let’s just stay at home and procrastibake, ok? Doesn’t that just sound heavenly?!!
And if we’re going to bake, let’s pick something from BraveTart because no matter what, you can’t go wrong. The book is just chock full of recipes for classic American comfort-food desserts, like Chocolate Chip Cookies, Brownies, Boston Cream Pie, Chocolate Layer Cake, homemade versions of ‘Nilla Wafers, Fig Newtons, Twinkies, Oreos, Pop Tarts and more, all with little twists so that they’re better than the ones you’ve made before. I am so not exaggerating that I want to just stay at home and bake the book!
And Stella gives all sorts of historical explanations for these iconic American desserts and also lots of helpful baking techniques as well as the science behind why those techniques work. The book is a fun read, not that I’m the sort of nerd who enjoys reading cookbooks, ahem. Well… anyway back to the desserts— there are so many of them that I love that I’ve had a hard time figuring out which one to feature here. Full disclaimer: the book came out about a year and half ago! Recently, I’ve been obsessed with her Graham Crackers—more on that next week-long story. But anyhoo, after I made these wondrous Snickerdoodles, I knew. I’ve made a lot of snickerdoodles in my life and guys, these are game-changing.
Unlike most snickerdoodle recipes these contain no cream of tartar or shortening. Instead, they get their pillowy softness, chewiness and that slight tang that is characteristic of these cookies from baking powder and a mixture of butter and coconut oil. It’s ingenious!
These also have a creaminess to them that I’ve never really found in a snickerdoodle before. It’s hard to really explain, you’ve just got to bake up a batch and try them for yourself.
These are also more intensely cinnamon than other snickerdoodles I’ve made before. That’s because you not only use the traditional ground cinnamon, you also grate a cinnamon stick into the sugar before rolling the dough balls into the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Then you also sprinkle the tops with more of that cinnamon-y sugar for tons of wonderful spicy flavor!
Really is there anything better than the smell of cinnamon-sugar baking? Heaven on earth, right?!!
And if that isn’t enough, the cookies are a cross between cakey softness and edge-of-brownie chewiness (without the chocolate, of course). They’re great on their own or with a steaming cup of hot tea! Also, such a plus, you can make them up to about a week before, get them all ready to bake and then just chill them in the fridge until you’re ready. Can life really get any better than that?!!
If you still haven’t figured out what to get your mom for Mother’s Day (and in true mom fashion, I’ll nag and say why are you leaving it to the last minute?) just bake up a batch of these classics, wrap them in a pretty tin and it’s a slam-dunk for favorite child status! Have a wonderful weekend and lots of love to all the moms out there!!xoxo
BraveTart’s Snickerdoodles-Famous Fridays
Makes about 13 large cookies or 2 dozen smaller cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes; Bake Time: 11-12 minutes
For the Cookies
2 1/3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature but not melty
1/2 cup refined or virgin coconut oil, solid but creamy, about 70ºF
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cold large egg
For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons grated cinnamon (from 1 cinnamon stick)
1. Make sure oven rack is centered and preheat to 400ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Sift the flour into a medium bowl.
3. Place the butter, coconut oil, sugar, salt, baking powder and vanilla in the large bowl of the electric mixer. Mix on low speed to moisten and then turn mixer to medium and beat for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as necessary during the process. Add in the egg and beat until the mixture is smooth. Then turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour, mixing to form a stiff dough.
4. Now, either roll about 13 large balls (1/4 cup size) or about 24 smaller (2 tablespoon size) balls of dough and set aside on a plate or tray.
5. To make the topping: mix the sugar, and both cinnamons in a small bowl together. Roll each ball of dough into the cinnamon sugar mixture until fully coated. Place on the lined sheets about 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball into a 1/2 disk and sprinkle the tops of all of the cookies with the remaining cinnamon sugar.
6. Bake one sheet at a time for 6 minutes. Then rotate the baking sheet and lower the temp to 350ºF. Let bake for another 5-6 minutes, until cookies are firm around the edges but still puffy in the middle. You don’t want to overbake or these will lose their chewiness. Let cookies cool on the sheet on a wire rack another 10 minutes or so to firm up before you transfer them to the rack to finish cooling.
7. Bring the temp back to 400ºF before baking the second sheet of cookies. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
8. You can definitely make the dough ahead of time, shape the cookies and then store them in an airtight container with wax paper between the layers. Take the cookies out and place them on the lined sheets for about an hour before you want to bake them, then follow the directions above.
Note: Recipe adapted from BraveTart by Stella Parks. I cut the 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg.