Hey Mom, Do I Smell Cookies?

Is there a simple treat that’s loaded with childhood memories for you?

Snickerdoodles does it for me.

My mother wasn’t a baker, but she did make these cookies and the other day when I wanted to make cookies but was out of chocolate chips, I thought of them. Only my picky middle child turned up her nose. (too cinnamony)  Everyone else had three, at least–so I’m glad I took the picture before they got home!

The recipe I used was from Joy of Cooking. No doubt Betty Crocker or a quick online search would turn up similar versions.  I just happen to like Joy for the basics and the little commentaries they give about the recipes.

photoApparently, snickerdoodles are German, a corruption of schneckenudeln, which means something like crinkled noodles.

They’re a very simple cookie. The only thing that differs from basic sugar cookies is the cream of tartar that gives the dough a bit of bite.

The key to making them special lies in the cinnamon.  I use Penzey’s  Vietnamese cinnamon, which has a high (6%) oil content. The milder Chinese cinnamon is more traditional, but the smell from the Vietnamese cinnamon is fabulous.

Penzey’s Spices also offers a double strength vanilla so excellent that, once you’ve  tried it, you’ll never, ever go back to grocery store brands again. I love browsing the Penzeys spice shops because they have open samples of everything and the staff is knowledgeable.  Their catalog is also worth a glance, if you love to cook with quality-sourced ingredients.

Back to my Mom. Yeah, since she wasn’t a baker, it was kind of an occasion when she decided to do it.  So she’d invite one or two friends over. One friend loved raw dough.  A lot. My Mom, though, liked the cookies hot out of the oven and so did her other friend. Usually, by the time my brother and I got home, all that remained was the tantalizing smell of cinnamon lingering in the air.

Come to think of it, one reason I really enjoyed making these cookies for my kids yesterday is that I actually got to eat some.

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