snickerdoodles

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this past summer, I took some time to visit old friends who had moved to europe. it is wonderful, the way that time and distance can disappear when one reunites with a good friend. my first leg was berlin, a city I could see myself living in one day.

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view from the french cathedral, gendarmenmarkt

in berlin, evenings spent at hole-in-the-wall restaurants where the tables spilled into the streets turned into late nights spent sipping beers with good company and counting rats along the riverbank, or dancing, or chatting around sticky tables in smoke-filled dark bars. days were spent biking to flea markets, napping in the dry blazing heat at parks, stopping through coffee shops across the city, and marveling at the artifacts, paintings, and bullet hole-riddled walls of berlin’s museums. everything was closed on sundays, and the city seemed all the more alive for it.

I have to say that I failed to try any traditional german fare, instead enjoying the cuisine of their sizable immigrant population, from delicious south vietnamese fish to burning hot korean fried chicken wings to late-night doner kebabs.

since returning from europe, I have moved to washington, dc. to break in the oven (and bribe/befriend my new classmates), I decided to bake up a batch of cookies. apparently, snickerdoodles might come from an english butchering of a german word, schneckennudel, or “snail noodles”… or it might just be a nonsensical name invented by someone in new england. either way, in my mind, snickerdoodles are a quintessential american cookie, a food of comfort after weeks on the road.

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makes ~1 1/2 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
10 tbsp (138g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar + 2 tbsp (divided)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cinnamon
samantha seneviratne. snickerdoodles. new york times. 17 february 2017. accessed 23 august 2017.

1 heat oven to 375ºF. (I baked different batches at 350ºF, 375ºF, and 400ºF in my electric non-convection oven and the 375ºF worked best; if you have a convection oven, you may want to lower the temperature.)
2 in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
3 in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and 3/4 cup guar until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary. beat in the egg until creamy, then add the vanilla, again scraping down the sides. add the flower mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low until just combined. (don’t over beat, as your cookies will become too tough!)
4 place the dough in the fridge, covered, for 10-30 minutes.
5 in a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tbsp sugar and cinnamon. roll the dough into golf ball-sized balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
6 transfer the dough to parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets, at least 3 inches apart. bake the cookies unitil just set and dry in the center, 10-12 minutes. transfer each sheet to a rack to cool for 1-3 minutes, then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely.
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