Showing posts with label Snickerdoodles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Snickerdoodles. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Celebrity Chef In the House!

Today we are thrilled to have the winner of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Very Merry Cookie Challenge, my friend (yes, Ruthy, I have more than one), Andrea Hicks.

<Cheers and applause>

Andrea is one fantabulous cook. It's been proven that Sunday School attendance is higher when she brings the refreshments. I'm just sayin'.

This year, Andrea delved into the world of contest by entering the annual Fort Worth Star-Telegram contest. Not only did she take the grand prize, the panel of eight professional bakers unanimously voted her Chai Snickerdoodles the winner!

Andrea, we’re so excited to have you in the cafĂ© today. Scoot yourself on up to counter and tell us how you came up with your winning recipe?
Hey Mindy! My mom had a Christmas cookie exchange every year, and the snickerdoodle recipe was one of my favorites. It was the first cookie I learned to bake by myself. It got tweaked a bit when I ran out of white sugar and ended up with half white and half brown. I made them for my friends every year in high school as a Christmas gift. When I decided to enter the contest, I looked for a way to make the recipe stand out. My usual go-to recipes include chocolate in some form (or many forms), but the contest details said they got a lot of chocolate entries. Snickerdoodles are my daughter’s favorite, and it’s a good base dough to play with. Then my son brought home a bag of cinnamon chips from work (he works at Kroger), and they were sitting in the pantry, so I thought I'd try adding those to the mix. I tried a couple of different things to roll them in. I really wanted to make Starbucks Via mixes work somehow, but that one is still in the development stage. I like chai tea, and tried it on a few, and it really tasted good. Family members make good guinea pigs. 

What went through your mind when you found out all eight judges had unanimously voted your cookie number one?

I was crazy excited!!! I think I drove my husband and kids crazy bouncing around the house saying, "Guess what? I won!!" about every half-hour.

What did they have to say when they found out you’d won?

My husband just kept (keeps) saying how proud he is of me. The kids were both excited as well. My son bragged about the cookies at work, and asked me to bake them for his Christmas party. I have a good family!

So where do you go from here? Are there any more contests on the horizon?

I was actually searching online for a contest this weekend, might enter it in the Taste of Home cookie contest. I haven't entered a lot of contests in the past, just one in Indiana where I got a second place prize in a chocolate cookie contest. Beyond that, who knows? 

Ah yes, I can see it now…. Soon you’ll be competing on the Food Network.
Well, Andrea, let's whip up a batch up your winning cookies so everyone can have a taste.
Here's what you're going to need:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening (the butter/shortening combination makes for a softer cookie. If you prefer your cookies crispy, use all butter)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar (Mindy note: I used dark brown because it's what I had on hand)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Hershey's cinnamon chips
  • 4 tablespoons Oregon Chai Tea Latte Mix (or equivalent)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix butter and sugars until creamy; mix in eggs.
Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt, and stir into creamed mixture. Stir in cinnamon chips. These are new from Hershey and they are, indeed, tasty little morsels.
Scoop dough into 1-inch balls and roll in chai mix to coat. Place on cookie sheets about two inches apart. Bake 7-9 minutes. Cool slightly on pan until firm before transferring to cooling rack.
Oh my, do these babies make the house smell yummy while they're baking. One bite and you'll know why they're winners.

Andrea, I'm so glad you dropped by to share these with us. They're definitely going into my baking/holiday repertoire. Now the whole world can enjoy chai snickerdoodles.
Merry Christmas, y'all!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

OOOPS! Let's Do Snickerdoodle Saturday!

You know, I thought of this yesterday, that I didn't have anything locked and loaded.

And then forgot!  Oh my stars, it's 10:30 and the Cafe was DARK....

No coffee. No pastries.


Beth's making coffee for us right now. I've got the makings of Banana Cream pie for tonight... Umm... you can't eat it yet but feel free to think about eating it. The delicate blend of delicious sweet and fruity flavors balanced by flaky crust.


Coffee's ready. Feel free to jump in and make me feel less stupid.

If that's possible.

Oh, sigh.

So, to make up for my ineptness or ineptitude (your choice/word choice) I'm going to show you a Ruthy-trick.

THIS IS NOT A TRICK I SHARE, SO:  SHHHHH..........................

From one basic batch of Snickerdoodle dough, I make three distinct cookies. So you start with my variation of a simple Snickerdoodle dough which produces a GREAT cookie. No lie.

3 Cups sugar
1 cup stick butter, (softened)
1 cup Crisco
4 large eggs
5 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg

(Betty's recipe calls for cream of tartar. Cream of tartar makes your cookies crisp. We like chewy cookies, so I leave it out. If you want crisp cookies, add in 4 teaspoons cream of tartar. I do not for the life of me know why you would choose to do this, but hey:  it's a free world, right?)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix sugar, butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl on medium speed. Add in flour, baking soda and salt. Cookies should bake only until the edges are slightly golden... 7-9 minutes depending on your oven. Darker cookies will be crisper and not as people-friendly.

Easy, right?  And it stays easy.

Using about 1/3 of the dough:

Shape dough into balls. For traditional snickerdoodles, roll balls in a mix of cinnamon and sugar. (If you don't keep a bowl of cinnamon and sugar in the cupboard for toast and bagels and little children, this is a good time to start. Or, just add teaspoons of cinnamon to a 1/4 cup of sugar and mix. Roll balls in this and place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.)

Traditional Snickerdoodles
Grab another 1/3 of the dough:

Do the exact same thing only no cinnamon. When cookies come out of oven, poke 6 or 7 M&M's into the soft surface of the cookies. Baked M&M's aren't as pretty as freshly poked M&M's. Really. Trust me on this. You M&M's stay perky if you poke them into the really warm cookie.

These are M&M version. The kids wanted these "glazed" too, but it isn't necessary. Really. But it didn't hurt anything, either.  I'm just sayin'...
Grab the last 1/3 of your dough:

Repeat, using no cinnamon. Roll the cookies into balls and bake. THEN:

Using a pastry brush, glaze still warm cookies with a thin glaze. Glaze is made with 1 cup powdered sugar (also known as confectioner's sugar and 10X sugar) and enough milk to make a thin frosting, the consistency of paint. Swab the cookies with a quick sweep of frosting, then sprinkle them with jimmies or sprinkles or non-pareils or something festive.

These little babies are a favorite around here. The hint of nutmeg in the cookie is a great balance to the thin frosting and sprinkles. And this frosting dries firm so you can pack and ship these, but only if you REALLY, REALLY like the person. Like A LOT.

So, okay, I messed up, but you guys are kinda getting used to that, right?  I love hangin' with forgivin' folk.  ;)