Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter Baking

          Snickerdoodles and Sweet Dreams Cookies


After a long hiatus, our blog has finally resumed. Sydney came home from Berkeley a week before Christmas after enduring a grueling week of finals.
She didn't have much time to rest, though. The following day, we had our annual Christmas get-together with our friends. Our Christmas custom for the past couple years has been to give each other baked goods instead of material items as presents. Naturally, we seized this opportunity to make a blog entry about it.
Sydney and I decided to make two different kinds of cookies to give. I chose the classic Snickerdoodles, while Sydney elected to bake "Sweet Dreams," which is a tasty cookie with a chewy mix of walnuts, chocolate chips and wonderful spices. Sydney got her recipe from our wonderful grandma, while I followed a recipe off Presidential Cookies, a cookbook about every president's favorite cookies (something that our grandma also gave us). The recipe that I followed for the Snickerdoodles was Grover Cleveland's favorite cookie.

I chose Snickerdoodles because they are relatively easy to make and they turned out nicely when I made them a few years ago.
The process for making the Snickerdoodles is fairly smooth and simple. There are three basic steps: First, I prepare the dough with butter, eggs, sugar, and flour. Then, I put it in the fridge to chill it. After that's done, they are rolled into balls, covered with cinnamon sugar and popped into the oven for around 8 minutes. Snickerdoodles are very rewarding to make because they are as yummy as they are pretty to look at!

Snickerdoodles from the Presidential Cookies cookbook
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Beat eggs and gradually add sugar.  Stir in butter and mix well, then add vanilla.  In a different bowl, sift flour with salt and baking soda.  Add this mixture to the egg mixture and mix thoroughly.  Chill dough for about 2 hours.  In a small bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar.  Form cookie dough into 1-inch rounds.  Toll balls into the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Place coated balls on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown.  Makes 3-4 dozen.

Syd's Sweet Dreams are up next.

Sweet Dreams Cookies!
Hey, it's Syd! As Ryo said, it's been hard to keep up the blog during the semester. We're sorry for the long break, but since we're now on vacation (or at least I still am), hopefully we'll be able to post a few entries.
When Ryo had cleared the counter of everything snickerdoodley, I made some of our grandma's Sweet Dreams cookies, loved by anyone with any sense. The recipe is as follows:

1 cup unsalted butter
1 ½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg room temperature
1 t vanilla
2 cups unbleached all purpouse flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
½ t salt
1 12 oz package semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup powdered sugar
Cream butter using an electric mixer. Beat in brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Blend into butter mixture. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts. Refrigerate until firm (can be prepared 1 day ahead). Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease baking sheets. Break off small pieces of dough; roll between palms into 1 inch rounds. Dredge rounds in powdered sugar. Arrange rounds on prepared sheets spacing 2 inches apart. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on sheets. Transfer to racks and cool. Store in airtight container. Makes about 6 dozen.

I actually didn't use an electric mixer, as the recipe suggests, and they turned out great.  I prefer to avoid the mixers unless it's absolutely necessary.  It's just so much more fun to mix by hand.
Anyway, Sweet Dreams cookies are really a perfect winter/holiday cookie because of the pleasant blend of spices. Try them out! You really won't regret it unless you end up eating the whole batch yourself.

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