Cookies are adaptable.
My usual M.O. is to make small cookies–you know, so you can take two and call me in the morning without too much guilt. But a houseful of teenagers may dictate saucer-sized cookies. You love oatmeal cookies but the thought of raisins makes you feel like you rode the Thunderbolt one too many times? Dried cranberries to the rescue; or chopped dates, or snipped apricots… You get the idea.
One of my favorite adaptable recipes is for snickerdoodles, those spicy, slightly old-fashioned, crunchy-along-the-rim-but-soft-in-the-middle treats that feel like a hug from your grandmother. My mother’s version when I was growing up included not just cinnamon, but a touch of ground clove, so obviously, they’re my favorite. But there are lots of other versions out there that I would be a fool to forego.
One such: Chai Snickerdoodles. I know, right? All the warm spice of a chai tea but in cookie form. Perfect for a blustery November afternoon.
CHAI SNICKERDOODLES RECIPE
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamomand allspice. Measure out a 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture in a shallow bowl and set aside.
3. With a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and remaining spiced sugar until smooth and whipped, about 3 minutes.Beat in eggs and vanilla.
4. Sift the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper; using the paper as a funnel, gradually add to the butter-sugar mixture and combine well without overmixing. Sifting is importanthere, as you really want the cream of tartar and baking soda to be evenly distributed amongst the dry ingredients before you beat them into the butter.
5. Using a #40 cookie scoop, portion dough into small balls and roll them in the reserved sugar mixture. Place 2 in. apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges begin to brown and set, but center remains soft. To ensure crunchy edges, cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Store, covered, at room temperature.
What makes these little gems so adaptable is the spice mixture. If you haven’t already overdosed on all things Pumpkin Spice by now, try subbing 1.5 tablespoons of your favorite PS mixture for the cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and allspice above.(I recommend making your own PS: 1 part cloves, 2 parts ginger, 2 parts nutmeg, 4 parts cinnamon).
Or how about this: skip the cinnamon, cardamom and allspice but add a heaping teaspoon of cracked black pepper, and you’re on your way to gingerbread or pfeffernusse. Or if you’re a purist, bump up to all cinnamon (although I’m telling you, a ¼ teaspoon of clove makes a world of difference…) .
Recipe and story by Doug Florey, aka Dr. Cookie/ Styling by Anna Calabrese / Photography by Dave Bryce
Try these Doctor Cookie recipes as well.