A couple of weeks ago, one of my upperclassmen sent out an email to us first years requesting either volunteers or baked goods donations for Camp Sunshine’s annual Fall Festival. An incredible organization, Camp Sunshine provides various recreational, educational, and support programs for children with cancer, as well as their families. I noted that the festival was set for two days after my next block exam and knew that I would probably not want to crawl up early that day, no matter how good the cause. Without further consideration, I offered to donate some sweets instead. It’d been a while since I last baked and nothing beats having people enjoy something I’ve made. He shot back a thank-you email, adding that he’d be in touch with me later with all of the details.
Fast forward a week later. In the midst of my frenzied studying the night before my exam, my phone beeped with new emails. Deciding it was time for a study break, I set down my pen to look at the emails. Smack dab in the middle was a mass email from my upperclassmen, thanking the couple of us that offered to donate goods for the Festival. Oh yes, and we were to bring our donations to the School of Medicine tomorrow morning. Brief panic bloomed as I mentally raced through what I had left to study and how I would be able to bake on top of it all.
Hmm…well, all right – no biggie. I got this. I had been considering making espresso brownies or mocha cupcakes for the occasion, but both of them would have been pretty time-consuming. Instead, I decided to bake up snickerdoodles. Not only would they be fast and easily transportable, the spiciness perfectly complimented the (rather late) arrival of fall in Atlanta. The cookies turned out absolutely divine – the blend of warm spices, the crispness of the edges, and the essential chewiness of the center – I wanted to keep the whole batch to myself. Alas, a lady should not go back on her promises.
Instead of rolling the cookies in the traditional blend of granulated sugar and ground cinnamon, I wanted to welcome fall with the addition of allspice, nutmeg, and dark brown sugar for extra spice and warmth.
Within an hour, I had these beautiful cookies packed up and ready for Camp Sunshine’s Fall Festival. I couldn’t restrain myself and ate two. Chances of any of them remaining by next morning – slim. I managed to restrain myself, though barely.
Chewy, Spicy Snickerdoodles – adapted from Emeril Live
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tbsp set aside
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp all-spice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix together and set aside.
3. In a separate large bowl, beat together the softened butter and 1 1/4 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix with a wooden spoon, just until well-combined.
5. Mix together the 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp dark brown sugar, and all of the spices in a small bowl with a fork. Roll heaping tbsps of dough into balls by hand, drop into the sugar and spice mixture, and coat completely.
6. Flatten the sugar-covered balls slightly, about 1/2 inch thick, and place on cookie sheets. Space evenly and allow room for the cookies to spread.
7. Bake until light-golden brown, about 10-12 minutes, when the cookies are crisp around the edges and still chewy in the center.
-Feel free to stick with the traditional mixture of just cinnamon and granulated sugar. On the other hand, be wildly creative! Try using pumpkin spice blends, using all dark brown sugar, or even some cocoa powder.
-Don’t overbake these cookies! Unless you prefer completely crunchy cookies, in which case, flatten them more and bake away.