Thursday, November 10, 2011

All-Butter Snickerdoodles (12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies - Week 7)

It's almost mid- November, and even though I won't be whipping out my Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving, I think it's finally acceptable to start bringing the Red-and-Green to our weekly Christmas Cookie party. Don't you agree?

To mark the occasion, I'm sharing a staple of holiday cookie trays everywhere - the Snickerdoodle! I'm pretty excited about this week because I just love Snickerdoodles. I mean, who doesn't like a good old-fashioned, wholesome spice cookie?

Unfortunately, everyone's favorite cinnamon-and-sugar-dusted-cookie-with-the-crazy-name isn't always so wholesome. Most recipes call for equal measures of shortening and butter - that's what helps the cookies keep their perfectly rounded shape and gives them their pillowy texture. Sadly, shortening is on the 'Naughty' list these days, so to make these cookies healthier (if you can call something with more butter healthier!) and to give them a richer flavor, I baked up an all-butter version.

The recipe is based on a Cooks Illustrated cookie and, given the copious amount of research that goes into each of their recipes, I felt awful about changing it...but sometimes a girl needs to just follow her heart. And my heart wanted all-butter, shortening-free Snickerdoodles. I actually ended up shipping these cookies off to my Grandma (they're her favorites - and at 93 years old, she knows what she likes!) but not before I tasted a few...for quality control purposes, of course.

To make my cookies extra-festive, I dyed my sugar red and green. I'm sure the addition of food coloring negates any of the health benefits I accrued from omitting the shortening, but life is about balance, right?

All-Butter Snickerdoodles

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, unsalted and slightly softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 Tablespoons sugar, for rolling
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon, for rolling

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicone liner. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until fluffy and well mixed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, beating until mixture is smooth and well-combined. Add the dry ingredients incrementally and stir until just combined.

Mix the additional sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl or on a steep-sided plate. Form the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat completely. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. (Tip: To make the rolling process easier and less messy, return dough, tightly covered with plastic wrap, to the refrigerator between batches.)

Bake until the edges of the cookies just begin to set, about 8-10 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool briefly on the baking sheet before transferring to a clean countertop or wire rack to cool.

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  1. I loved that you dyed your sugar red and green,that is a fabulous idea! I love snickerdoodles.

  2. So pretty and festive! Perfect for a Christmas cookie platter, too!

  3. Snickerdoodles are such a classic and I love how you dressed them up for Christmas.

  4. That looks so good! Ilove the colours too.

  5. I love Cook's Illustrated and default to them for a lot these days! These snickerdoodles sound great and yeah, it's totally ok to bring red and green to this Christmas party!

  6. I love snickerdoodles and these red and green ones DO NOT disappoint!! New follower here. Would love it you would stop by and share this at my linky party :)

    Also, PRETTY PLEASE check out Random Acts of Kindness Week going on right now!! Would love to see you be a part of it!

  7. I love snickerdoodles, but was never sure if they qualified as a "Christmas" cookie :) Dying the sugar solves that problem. Great idea!! Also, I've always made mine with only butter. I once saw a cooking show in which they made cookies with solid butter and then with melted butter. It seems counter-intuitive, but the cookies made with solid butter were much flatter than those made with melted butter. I now melt the butter for my snickerdoodles and, sure enough, I get a much more "pillowy" texture.

  8. We just love Snickerdoodles here at the cottage. This is a great recipe, and I love the red and green for Christmas. My very best wishes to you and your family for a blessed Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you again real soon!
    Miz Helen

  9. mmmm!I think snickerdoodle is probably my favorite cookie! I use butter only too. But also swap lots of the sugar with honey. I love them that way. Thank you for sharing your recipe.
    Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie this week! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!