Makes 2 dozen cookies
Photo by Vanessa Rees
Of course cookies are always fun to eat, but their crunchy, sugary tops make snickerdoodles even more so. Maybe I should work for the snickerdoodle industry? Since the Mexican Hot Chocolate ones were such a hit, I’ve been experimenting with different varieties for my next cookbook, and these are a favorite; an enticing spin on classic cinnamon snickerdoodles, livened up with chai spices: ginger, cardamom and a hint of cloves. It’s the perfect cookie to welcome in Autumn!
Over the summer I spent a few weeks in Brooklyn shooting dozens of photos for the book, with faboo photographer Vanessa Rees and my buddy Terry, plus an assortment of other helpers (so many dishes!) It was a great time, spilling fabrics all over the floor to get the exact right napkin, arranging sprigs of cilantro just so, and wrapping noodles around forks. So I wanna’ share a little bit of the process here. This video tracks the life of a food photo; from picking out the background, to the lighting, to props, there is so much that goes into each shot before it gets to the page. Here you can see that we tried several different arrangements (Should the cookies be on the baking sheet? Parchment? Maybe a plate? With tea?) before settling on the final composition.
I can’t wait to return to Brooklyn this winter for round 2. But for now…cookies!
~ Since we’re not weighing the flour, the consistency of dough can vary. If your dough seems excessively sticky (like, it’s difficult to roll into balls that hold their shape and it’s sticking to your hands), then an extra tablespoon of flour or two gently kneaded into the batter oughtta’ fix it.
~ If you are the type to make cookies on a weekly (daily?) basis, it might be worth it to invest in a cookie disher. It’s basically a smaller ice cream scoop, but it ensures that the cookies come out uniformly sized.
~ For a lower fat cookie, replace 1/4 cup of the oil with 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce. The cookie will come out a bit softer and puffier, but still amazingly delish!
~For people who said that they had problems with sticky dough, try washing your hands and make sure they’re very clean and a bit damp. That will help insure that the dough doesn’t stick.
For the topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For the cookies:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix the topping ingredients together on a dinner plate. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together oil, sugar, syrup, and milk. Mix for at least a minute, until it resembles applesauce. Then mix in vanilla.
Sift in remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them. Once all ingredients are added mix until you’ve got a pliable dough. Get in there with your hands to mix, it’s the easiest way to get the dough to come together.
With clean, moist hands, roll dough into walnut sized balls. Pat into the sugar topping to flatten into roughly 2 inch discs. Transfer to baking sheet, sugar side up, at least 2 inches apart (they do spread a little). This should be easy as the the bottom of the cookies should just stick to your fingers so you can just flip them over onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, they should be a bit browned on the bottoms. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.