It’s finally the holiday season, y’all! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this time of year. I’m that girl that wants to put up the decorations and Christmas tree as soon as the Thanksgiving food coma passes! There is just so much to love–decorating, joy, Christmas music, giving presents, and, of course, the food. As of this post’s publishing, we are exactly 3 weeks away from Christmas. So, you know what that means? It’s time for a countdown! And here at Serve With Rice, we’re gonna do that with some great recipes, ideas, and some grand holiday themes. I’ll be (attempting) to post three posts a week following along with my holiday-countdown themes. This week: Cookies for Santa. And today’s cookie: Snickerdoodles.
WARNING: TURN CHILDREN AWAY FROM SCREEN. (Just kidding–but really, don’t ruin the magic). Now, I’ll be honest: my parents didn’t put a whole lot of effort into the whole Santa thing. At least, I don’t remember much. When I was really young, we did the mall visit, which was promptly photographed and turned into an ornament. I also remember writing letters and putting them in my stocking. But I don’t really remember having a dramatic realization that (again, look away, kids!) Santa wasn’t real. In fact, I don’t even recall my siblings having them.
We kind of always knew that my parents got us the gifts. I mean, they would ask what we wanted and then we would get those exact gifts each year. Many times, they’d even take us shopping with them when they bought said gifts. I mean, if you’re not going to do the whole Santa brings your gifts thing, then there’s not much mystery to the guy. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. I don’t feel sad or broken that my parents didn’t play into the fantasy. Nor am I bitter that I didn’t get the “normal” childhood experience. I’m merely going off on this semi-related tangent to say that we didn’t do the Santa thing, which means we also didn’t do the cookies for Santa thing.
And yet, I do believe in keeping that mystery alive for the kids. I believe that one of the most special things about this time of year is just that–believing. Kids believe in Santa, and adults get to keep that belief alive for them. When you’re an adult, it’s easy to get bogged down in the everyday crap that can beat that kind of pure belief out of you. So, this time of year helps us feel like anything is possible–like when we were kids who believed in Santa. Christmas magic, y’all. (Can you tell I love this time of year??)
Anyways, back to food. One of the things we do for Santa is to put out a plate of cookies and milk while he works hard at putting our gifts under the tree! So, along that same vein: I am posting a whole bunch of cookie recipes this week that you can make with the kiddos for Santa Clause. No kids? No desire to bake for Santa? That’s fine: just make them for family or friends coming for a visit. Cookies are also a great and easy gift to give friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc.
Which brings me here: Last year my mom asked me to bake a batch of cookies to give to her coworkers during their last meeting before the holidays. I love to bake cookies! We bought a cookie jar a while back, and my dad immediately said, get baking, Alyssa! Needless to say, we always had cookies in that jar. So, I decided to make three kinds of cookies for mom’s coworkers–pistachio, chocolate chip and hazelnut cookies, and snickerdoodles.
Oh, did I mention that snickerdoodles happen to be my dad’s favorite? My mom doesn’t love sweets like dad and I do, but even she likes this recipe. It’s because it’s not too sweet. In fact, one of my favorite things about my snickerdoodles is that it actually is a little saltier than your regular cookie. The saltiness helps to balance out all of the sugar–both in the cookie dough and the sugary coating you roll the dough in. It gives it an extra pop on top of all that sweet.
Snickerdoodles are super easy to make. In fact, that’s the greatest thing about baking cookies in general: they’re all pretty easy to make. And baking them is a pretty standard procedure. These are no different. You start off with the dough: cream together the butter, sugar, and vegetable shortening. Mix in your eggs, one at a time. You’ll start to see the dough spreading and getting wetter. That’s what you want! Then slowly mix your flour mixture (all of the dry, powdery stuff) in batches, mixing well after each addition. You should start to see the wetness stiffen up to resemble more of a doughy texture. You want enough malleability to handle the dough.
Snickerdoodles are also a classic cookie favorite. They’re especially great around this time of year because of their sugary outside. After the dough is formed, roll small pieces in your hands. Then roll that ball into the sugar mixture (sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg). Place that ball on your baking sheet and bake away! Once it bakes, the sugar mixture spreads into the small crevices of the now-flat cookie. So you’ll get a bite of flavor with each little taste. Now, most snickerdoodles are only dipped in sugar and cinnamon. I added the nutmeg to make it a little more Christmas-y and to incorporate more winter flavors. It’s a strong flavor so you don’t want a lot of it. Once they’re done, let them cool off on a wire rack. Warning: it will fall to pieces if you don’t let them cool down before eating. Patience is a virtue, kids.
I love these snickerdodles! Like I said, they’re super easy to make. If you’re trying to get into baking, these are one of those recipes to try out. They’re also really fun to do with kids because of all of the hands-on stuff. I’d imagine kids would enjoy rolling the dough in their hands and then in the sugar mixture. I know they’d love to eat the cookies once they’re baked! But the real question is: how will Santa feel about these snickerdoodle cookies?! If you see him this holiday season, be sure to ask him for me!
Look out: Cookies for Santa continues on WEDNESDAY 12/6!
What are your favorite cookies to bake with kids? Or just for your crazy parents/roommates?
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup butter at room temp
- 2-3 large eggs
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a stand mixer, cream together the sugar, butter, and vegetable shortening. They should look like little crystallized balls. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing to incorporate fully after each addition.
In a separate large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together. Slowly add the mixture to the stand mixer in batches. Mix thoroughly to incorporate before adding more of the flour mixture. You want a doughy texture, more wet than dry.
In a small bowl, mix together the remaining sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Using a cookie scoop or small spoon, scoop out the dough. Roll it in a ball and then coat with the cinnamon-sugar mixture on all sides. Place on a baking sheet at least two inches apart.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and let it cool on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes before eating. Serve for Santa!