Holiday baking. For some, the mention of these words invoke warm childhood memories in the kitchen or it makes you think of a fun tradition you currently do with your family. To others, it may make you break out in a cold sweat or you see baking as just an added stress to your long to-do list. If you find yourself identifying with the latter category, I hope this post provides you with an anxiety-free opportunity to make and enjoy a yummy recipe with your loved ones this holiday season. And if you already enjoy holiday baking, you're in for a treat... pun intended :-)
Aimee, a dear friend from Asheville, NC, is the best baker I know (seriously!), and she happily agreed to share one of her family's recipes with us today. For a while now I've been trying to convince Aimee that she needs to open up her own bakery. Maybe after trying this recipe, you guys can chime in with me to encourage her too! I am grateful for her friendship and I am excited to introduce you to her.
I can’t remember a Christmas without snickerdoodles! This recipe originated with my grandmother, but no one is sure if she inherited it from a friend or perfected it herself through trial and error. My mother would always make these each holiday season, and still does. Her and her siblings always looked forward to my grandmother making these at the holidays- it was their favorite cookies! And what was not to look forward to?! The smell of warm cinnamon, watching the timer count down until they came out of the oven, and that painstaking few minutes they had to cool before you gobbled them up like it was the last thing you’d ever eat!
When my sister and I were still little babes, we would make these cookies to leave by the tree for Santa. My favorite part of the baking process was rolling the dough into cinnamon sugar just before popping them into the oven. Now that I’m grown (and have a new little babe of my own!), I look back and realize my favorite part of making these cookies was spending time with my mother and sister. Those memories are precious and I can’t wait to start making them with my own daughter!
As we get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, take a little time to make some memories with your family baking these cookies. We all remember the activities and traditions our parents took time to introduce to us, and the warm feelings they bring us far more than the toy or new shoes we so badly wanted Santa to bring us.
From my family to yours, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.
Courtesy of: Aimee Houze
Yields: 5-6 dozen 2” Cookies
1 cup Vegetable Shortening, at room temperature
1 1⁄2 cups Sugar (raw & organic if possible)
2 Eggs, large at room temperature (organic if possible)
2 3⁄4 cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1⁄2 tsp Salt
Topping for rolling cookies in prior to baking
2 Tbl Sugar (raw & organic if possible)
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar until a homogenous paste forms. Add eggs, one at a time fully incorporating between eggs.
- Creaming method; do not skip this step. The cookie texture is achieved by taking the time to properly incorporate the fat into the sugar. Small air pockets form during this process allowing the cookie to properly rise in the oven.
- Adding eggs one at a time allows the mixture to remain homogenous. If added both at once, the mixture is likely to separate and will never come together properly.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
Mix with a whisk to ensure even distribution of all ingredients.
- Sifting dry ingredients together makes the flour lighter and easier to incorporate into the wet mixture.
Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients in 3-4 increments allowing to almost fully
incorporate between additions.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour before baking.
Remove dough from fridge and plastic wrap. Roll into balls the size of walnuts.
Roll dough balls into cinnamon sugar mixture. Place on parchment lined sheet pans and
bake at 350◦F for 8-10 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking.
- Snickerdoodles will be very pale brown underneath but will not show any signs of browning on face of cookie.
- Rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking allows the cookies to bake evenly.
Snickerdoodle dough can be made one day ahead of baking but no longer as the baking
soda will become inactive and the cookies will not rise properly.
*photography by Matt Lee of KingFoxPhotography