Baking with Ben: Snickerdoodle Cookies

Reaching for more

Pretty much since he was born I’ve been wanting to cook with my friend Sara’s son Ben. With his third birthday just around the corner, we decided he was finally ready. No, we weren’t going to teach him how to cook an egg, which he said he wanted to do last week. (He actually told Sara he wanted to be a “cooker” and when Sara asked what he wanted to cook he said eggs.) Instead we started with a kid-friendly cookie: snickerdoodles.

Teaching Ben

The original plan was for Ben to help with the entire recipe, including making the cookie dough. However, he took forever to wake up from his nap so we decided to go ahead and make it without him. In retrospect, this was a wise move as the reality is that Ben has the attention span of the three-year-old he is.

Ben making cookies

But he did help with the best part of the process: rolling the dough into balls and then into the cinnamon-sugar mixture. He really enjoyed this, although he did take a break about halfway through to get his “doggy” from upstairs. And when it came time to eat the cookies, Ben was incredibly proud of himself.

Ben likes it

This was a great cookie to make with a kid – it’s virtually impossible to mess up, it’s quick, uses just one bowl, and it’s really fun. Not to mention the cookies were delicious, so much so that my own mother requested the recipe, which was adapted from Betty Crocker herself.

Snickerdoodles (made about 40 cookies)

1/2 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract*

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large bowl beat the butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar and mix until well-combined, then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt and beat until all the ingredients have been incorporated.

Combine 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon in a small bowl.

Roll the dough into 1 to 1 1/4 inch balls then press lightly to form thick disks. Roll the disks in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then place them two inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.

Baked eight to ten minutes or until the cookies have set. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for ten minutes. Note that the cookies will rise in the oven but deflate as they cool.

* Vanilla wasn’t in Betty’s recipe but I thought it was a nice touch.

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