friday feast: snickerdoodlin’ around

HO HO HO!

If Thanksgiving is about pie, then Christmas is definitely about cookies. Even though I don’t bake half as many cookies each holiday season as I used to, I still like thinking about all the scrumptious possibilities: raspberry linzer, chocolate crackles, orange spritz, jam thumbprints, neopolitans, molasses spice, Russian teacakes, gingerbread teddies.

*sugar reverie*

Though I don’t mind eating a few cupcakes and more than a few slices of pie, cookies have always reigned supreme as something I most enjoy baking and sharing with friends and family throughout the year.

The other day I was trying to remember the very first cookies I ever made. This can be quite an undertaking when you have to dial back to the Dark Ages, sifting through the hundreds of batches you cranked out as a high school and college student, English teacher, newlywed, friendly neighbor, and old fogey mellowed-with-age food enthusiast.🙂

My mother was more a cook than a baker. I had one aunt who made good cakes, another, good pies, and probably the best cookie-baking aunt was Aunty Esther (I’ve blogged about her famous butter cookies before). But hers were not the first cookies I ever made.

No, I think the first were probably Snickerdoodles. I fondly remember my half-sister Sylvia visiting from California when I was 8 or 9, and one afternoon she made them with me and my brother. We’d never heard of them before, but who could resist such a giggle-inducing name? It was fun watching butter, shortening, flour, sugar, eggs and cinnamon turn into something SO good.

I can’t say I’ve made many Snickerdoodles since then, because the standard recipe calls for half-butter and half-vegetable shortening (I prefer to avoid trans fats). BUT. I did finally find an all-butter recipe via Brown-Eyed Baker that is p-e-r-f-e-c-t-i-o-n.

It calls for an added teaspoon of vanilla and a conscientious chilling of the dough and cookie sheets to prevent too much spreading while the cookies bake.

They’re a little crackly on top, crisp around the edges, and chewy in the middle as all good Snickerdoodles should be. They may not look as fancy on a cookie tray as some of the frosted, sprinkled, dipped, and shaped sugar cookies you see this time of year, but when it comes to a thoroughly satisfying, old-fashioned treat with the power to create a brand new lasting memory, these can’t be beat. When I bite into their buttery goodness, I am 9 years old again.🙂

As much as I love my Snickerdoodles, I’m happy to share them with you today, even if you’re sitting next to me at an airport and try to steal a few without asking. ‘Tis the season of giving, after all.

Today’s poem is a good reminder of how we are sometimes too quick to assume the worst, too quick to judge. Human nature or the world we live in?

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THE COOKIE THIEF

by Valerie Cox

A woman was waiting at an airport one night
With several long hours before her flight.
She hunted a book in the airport shop,
Bought a bag of cookies, and found a place to drop.
Though engrossed in her book, she happened to see when
The man beside her, as bold as could be,
Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between,
Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.
She munched cookies and watched the clock
While this gutsy thief diminished her stock.
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by,
Thinking, “If I weren’t so nice, I’d blacken his eye.”
With each cookie she took, he took one, too.
When only one was left, she wondered what he’d do.
With a smile on his face and a nervous laugh,
He took the last cookie and broke it in half.
He offered her half as he ate the other.
She snatched it from him and thought,
“Oh brother! This guy has some nerve, and he’s also rude –
Why he didn’t even try to show gratitude!”
She didn’t know when she’d been so galled
And sighed with relief when her flight was called.
She gathered belongings to head for the gate,
Refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.
When she boarded the plane, she sank in her seat
Then sought her book, which was almost complete.
As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise.
There was her bag of cookies in front of her eyes.
“If mine are here,” she moaned with despair,
“Then the others were his, and he tried to share!”
Too late to apologize she realized with grief
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.

 *   *   *

Lots of food for thought here. If you were in that woman’s place, would you have said something to the man eating (what you thought were) your cookies? Do you remember the last time you failed to give someone the benefit of the doubt?

I’m usually surprised (even suspicious) on those rare occasions when a stranger might smile or say hello in a public place. But it could be the area where I live — people are rushed, stressed and pretty intense. That’s why I try to remind myself to take every opportunity to be cordial, patient and kind if at all possible. Cashiers and restaurant servers seem especially appreciative when you smile and ask how they’re doing. We all have the power to make someone’s day with a quick nod, acknowledging their presence.🙂

Getting back to cookies, do you remember the first ones you ever made or ate?

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poetryfriday180Tantalizing Tabatha is hosting today’s Roundup at The Opposite of Indifference. Take her some cookies — I don’t think she’ll mind if you steal a few posts from her poetry platter. Nibble, nosh, and digest them well.

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wkendcookingiconThis post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Put on your Santa caps and holiday bibs and join the fun!🙂

 

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“For somehow, not only at Christmas, but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you.” ~ John Greenleaf Whittier

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Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

61 thoughts on “friday feast: snickerdoodlin’ around

  1. I also have to look far back, but I’m pretty sure Snickerdoodles were my first. I think the recipe was in the Girl Scout handbook or something. My mom wasn’t a cook, but I thought I could bake those. They’re still a favorite (I think I’ve always used butter) and for Christmas I pop a dried cherry in the middle when they’re done.

    That poem did make me smile and smile. I’m afraid I’m still going for the black eye, not the lesson, though. Maybe I’ll catch up.

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    1. You’re a feisty one, with your eye blackening, Jeannine.🙂 Good to know Snickerdoodles were your first cookies, too. Love your idea of the dried cherries during the holidays.

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  2. Snickerdoodles were my first cookies, too. We made them in girl scouts and I brought home a bag of cookies and the recipe. I’m pretty sure I got my non-baking mother to make them with me at home. Soon after that I became the resident family baker (not a role usually assumed by the youngest kid, but my sister and brother had no interest.)

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    1. Oh, hello resident family baker! I guess those Girl Scout snickerdoodles were pretty popular back in the day. I loved being a Brownie, but after we flew up to Girl Scouts, our leader moved away, so that ended my Scouts career (switched to Camp Fire Girls, but no cookies to speak of).

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  3. I don’t think I ever had a snickerdoodle until my Mom started making them for the grandkids. Lately, with two wheat-allergic people in my family, she’s tried them with rice flour. I have to say–yum! The texture is fine, and there’s an extra sort of nutty flavor.

    I am pretty sure the first cookies I ever made were Tollhouse Chocolate Chip.

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    1. Happy to hear they turn out good with rice flour. Lots of folks are gluten sensitive these days.

      Yum, Tollhouse cookies — I think they’re the most popular cookie in America?

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  4. I remember Snickerdoodles as The Cookie we made in Home Ec in junior high. I loved them so much I asked the teacher for the recipe, and the card is still in my recipe box at home. Thanks, Mrs. Munoz! (I don’t recall if it’s all butter or not. Will check!) Growing up my dad was the Cookie Man who baked on Sunday nights and kept 3 containers of different kinds of cookies in the freezer. For Christmas, we’d bake all kinds of cookies and give away trays full of treats. Thanks for this post that brought back so many good memories, Jama!

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  5. I have a soft spot for snickerdoodles, too. I really need to find a gluten-free recipe for them! Maybe I’ll take a leaf from Becky’s book and just try them with rice flour.

    (And I’d say “cordial, patient and kind” is exactly what you are.)

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  6. I think snickerdoodles were the first too, Jama. I still love them, & the surprise they they open & crackle! The poem is a super lesson in assumptions. You’re so right about friendliness. I often ask my grocery clerks how their days are going, & receive such smiles. It’s just nice to be asked, isn’t it? Thanks for a yummy post. Maybe I’ll introduce my granddaughter to snickerdoodles this year?

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    1. Yes, you definitely should — have you made cookies with her before? Just wondering what her “first cookie” baking memory would be.

      People definitely appreciate being asked!

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  7. Thank you for the pleasure of joining you in that sugar reverie, Jama! I confess I have never made Snickerdoodles and did not even know what they were until I moved to Florida. But now my kids sure like them! One of my best cookie-making memories was our annual 3-day marathon at Christmas time: day 1, make the dough and refrigerate; day 2, cut and bake (snitching raw dough whenever possible); day 3, frost and decorate. They were sugar cookies with a splash of anise, frosted with buttercream, and then lovingly decorated except for the last dozen or so, when we had had enough creativity and just wanted to eat them already.😉

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  8. Toll house cookies, almost certainly. But we didn’t put nuts in ours, because I don’t like walnuts. So they were really chocolate-chip cookies. And Mom taught us to sneak chocolate chips out of the bag while we worked!

    At Christmas we used to make butter cookies with frosting; later we made them with just sprinkles. My parents preferred the cookies plain, but at that age I viewed butter cookies just as a vehicle for frosting.😉

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    1. I’m the same way — like my chocolate chip cookies without nuts (even though I don’t mind eating walnuts in other things). For some reason I didn’t get into frosted cookies as much (except a wee bit of icing on gingerbread men). Maybe I didn’t taste enough good homemade frosting to get into it.

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  9. What a great post. That poem is hilarious! As the oldest of a bunch of kids, mom was only too happy to let me bake cookies whenever I wanted to. I think my first were Toll House Cookies – the recipe on the Chipits package. Mom used to tell of when I was around nine I think, for some reason she wasn’t around, and I made cookies and lit the gas (propane) oven by myself.

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  10. Oh, such yummy food for thought today here, Jama. (Actually, the subject of judging/pre-judging has been on my mind today, with some self-reflection and little nudges to myself to try NOT to do it!) Thanks for sharing Valerie Cox’s terrific poem/story.

    First cookie ever made? Probably a very simple sugar cookie via Mom’s recipe; real butter. And stories of her growing up stirred in as well. Mmmm….!

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    1. Valerie’s poem was a good reminder for me as well. I do think the way society is set up we are programmed to be on guard at all times, and we are more reluctant to trust in the goodness of human nature. Sad but true.

      Can’t beat real butter in homemade cookies. Sounds like you have some wonderful childhood cookie memories.🙂

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  11. Too funny. Before reading the post, when I just saw the title, I thought to myself, “Were snickerdoodles the first cookies I ever made?” I don’t think so. It was undoubtedly THCs as my brother always called them and maybe ginger snaps. But the snickerdoodles came close behind.

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  12. Loved that poem! Too funny. And I have no clue what my first cookies were — I started baking cookies in 6th or 7th grade. They were likely chocolate chip or maybe sugar cookies. But I love snickerdoodles and be happy to share mine with you anytime!

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  13. Although I have many happy memories of baking cookies, both as a child and then with my own children and nieces, I don’t think I remember the first cookies I ever baked. Spritz? Chocolate chip? Does it matter? Baking cookies has always been a tradition at my house.

    Thanks for sharing “The Cookie Thief.” I feel like I know this poem, but I agree, it’s an important reminder not to make assumptions and to acknowledge others as we go about our busy days. Happy baking!

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    1. Glad to hear cookie baking is an ongoing tradition with your family. Likely your first cookies turned out good — or you’d probably remember them🙂.

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  14. I love the poem. Yes, I try very hard to remember that I have no idea what’s going on in someone’s life. The first time my sister and I made cookies, we put in more sugar instead of flour, and we added food coloring, so in the end it was more like candy and it was impossible to get off the pan!

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  15. My mother made Snickerdoodles and they were so good. I tried baking them once as a young woman and they didn’t turn out right — I suspect I tried substituting butter for shortening without benefit of your tip.

    Love the poem. Since we had a shooting tragedy in our community, I’ve worked at being warm and pleasant to everyone I encounter — and it’s enriched my life! I have such fun interactions with cashiers and restaurant servers, and, occasionally, random people on the street.

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    1. Sorry to hear about the shooting tragedy. Sounds like it’s brought your community closer.

      Hope you give the all butter snickerdoodles a try sometime!

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  16. I love the cinnamon-y, buttery-ness of snickerdoodles! Love the poem, too. I’m lucky to live in a small town, so I chat with the grocery store cashiers and even fellow customers all the time. It really is a wonderful thing.

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    1. Wow, I hadn’t seen that! Wonder if maybe Valerie Cox based her poem on Adams’s story? I think she’s an Irish journalist (couldn’t find much info about her, unfortunately). Adams makes an interesting point about what kept him from saying anything — the British reserve. Now I’m thinking that a brash American would have spoken up without hesitation.🙂

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  17. First, I love this poem. Second, is it sacrilegious to say I don’t like snickerdoodles? For some reason, they just don’t appeal to me. Perhaps they aren’t sweet enough. Or maybe it’s the lack of chocolate…. Yes, it’s definitely the chocolate!

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  18. Lovely post, start to finish. Thank you for reminding us to be cordial. Even when I just overhear kind words at a store or restaurant, it makes my day better.
    Hmmm…first cookies I ever made were probably chocolate chip and I still cannot resist ’em. But snickerdoodles are definite comfort food!

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