This past weekend, Tim and I were really feeling the Christmas spirit! On Saturday, we went into San Francisco to check out the holiday displays at the Hyatt, Union Square, and Macy's (adorable kittens!) -- gorgeous sunny weather but cold enough that it really felt like winter. And, on Sunday we had a blast at church making Advent crafts in the morning and then baking Christmas cookies in the afternoon. Tim baked one of his family's favorites, snowballs. I don't think I've ever had them before, and they were amazing - pecan studded shortbread cookies, wrapped around Hershey's kisses and dusted with powdered sugar! I will definitely be taking this recipe back to bake with my family when I go to visit them.
I opted for snickerdoodles, because they're one of my favorites and I hadn't had any in a while. Martha Stewart's recipe was super simple but really delicious - soft, slightly chewy cookies with lots of cinnamon-sugar flavor coating the outsides. The main change I made to the recipe was to make the cookies smaller, since then you can eat more than one! These still make medium-sized cookies - you could use rounded teaspoons if you prefer even smaller cookies. Definitely try to use a high-quality cinnamon if you can -- I used Vietnamese cinnamon from Penzey's and I think it really added something special. What holiday cookies are you baking this year? Let me know in the comments!
Snickerdoodles (adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies: The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Share)
Makes about 2-1/2 dozen
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups plus 3 T sugar
2 large eggs
1 T ground cinnamon (preferably Vietnamese cinnamon)
1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2. Beat together the butter and 1-1/2 cups of the sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in the flour mixture.
3. Scrape the dough into a clean bowl, and chill about 30 minutes (longer is fine).
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment.
5. In a small dish, stir together the cinnamon and remaining 3 T sugar. Scoop the dough by the heaping tablespoon, roll into balls, and then roll into the cinnamon-sugar, making sure each ball is generously coated. Arrange on the baking sheets with plenty of space in between (I did 9 per insulated baking sheet). Press down on each ball gently with the bottom of a measuring cup or glass, to a little thicker than 1/4-inch thick.
6. Bake 8-12 minutes, until the tops are dry -- keep a close eye after 8 minutes or so as the cookies will go from wet on top to burned on the bottom pretty quickly. Let cool on wire racks.