I have amazing family. Immediate, extended and the one I married into are all full of supportive wonderful people. I have needed a lot of ears for listening, a shoulder or two to cry on, and some patient hands in the kitchen to help me in the last 7 months. I know I am not an easy house guest to have over anymore. I always try to bring as much food as I can with me, but family members have still gone out of their way to make food I can eat. It is a very difficult task, especially because our list of safe foods keeps getting smaller, and I appreciate it more than they will ever know. Sometimes I see food as a struggle and a chore, often when I am out of food ideas or just tired of making almost every single thing I eat. Having someone else take that out of my hands, even just for one meal or snack is a such a treat. The recipe I am sharing today is from one of those occasions.
Around Christmastime I had been busy making butter filled cookies and candies for the cookie trays I give away. I hadn’t really taken the time to make myself any safe treats and by the time our family Christmas eve party came, I was really wishing I had made myself something. My older sister, who makes amazing snickerdoodles, showed up with a box of snickerdoodles she had made that were dairy and soy free. She had replaced the butter in her recipe with Earth Balance Coconut spread. It was such a great present. I know she went to a lot of work to find the coconut spread and make the cookies (she has two kids to look after as well). The cookies were sweet, soft and didn’t taste like coconut at all to me. Just yummy snickerdoodleness. I dove into those cookies headfirst. I think I had four or five cookies that night and continued to eat most of the batch over the next two days. I think my sister noticed I was eating them like a starving madwoman or she is just extra awesome because she keeps making them for me almost every time I see her.
My sister gave me her recipe for snickerdoodles and I’ve tried it a few times, trying to replicate her cookies which are always so soft, they way I love them. I think the trick to them is to underbake them. When I cooked them until they looked totally set they were good but too crispy after a day or two for my liking. The cinnamon-sugar rolling mixture in the recipe includes two types of cinnamon. She has found that her favorite, the Vietnamese cinnamon, is a bit too strong if you use two teaspoons so she uses another cinnamon blend from Penzeys to balance it out. If you don’t have these spices, just make sure to use two teaspoons of good cinnamon, not an old jar that has been in your pantry too long. Lastly, if you can’t get your hands on the Earth Balance coconut spread, look for their Dairy and Soy Free spread. I’ve used that and had good results. I’ve not tried using just Spectrum shortening for the fat but that might be a workable option if you can’t find Earth Balance.
My Sister’s Snickerdoodles
1 cup of butter alternative like Earth Balance Coconut Spread
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon Penzeys cinnamon blend
1 teaspoon Penzeys Vietnamese cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1.5 cups of sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each and then add the vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter/egg/sugar mixture and mix. In a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons of white sugar and the 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Form dough into small balls (mine are each about 1 tablespoon of dough) and roll them one or two at a time in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Place dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 5-9 minutes, depending on your oven and how soft you like them. I cook mine for 5 1/2 minutes. They will crisp up as they cool and go great with a cup of coffee!