Dear Mr. Ruhlman, the email read. It was the very first one waiting for me this morning. And glancing quickly down and seeing a single word, my stomach turned.
I have been a fan since Ratio, the writer continued. It is my first stop on the cookbook train. I got Ruhlman’s Twenty for a gift and was over the moon, have read it cover to cover. And what’s more I have tried several of the recipes with success.
But seriously, the Snickerdoodles? One of the best cookies of all time and got my kids all worked up into a lather to make some tonight . . . but I have to say, yuck. Sugar bomb! We doubled the recipe because you can never have enough Snickerdoodles . . . 3 cups of sugar to 2 cups flour? Really? I thought it sounded funny. Please tell me there was a typo, the publisher slipped his wife’s recipe in . . . something!
I will remain a fan but will, sadly, turn to Betty Crocker next time for Snickerdoodles.
A double batch no less! Awards are meaningless. Awards are fun to get! Awards suggest definitive objectivity but are the height of subjectivity. Awards boost book sales. Awards don’t affect book sales one way or another. Whatever I happen to think about awards personally, here’s one thing I know for certain: They don’t change errors in a hardcover book. I’ve posted on this error before, but here it is again. Errors, they don’t go away. My mentor, Reynolds Price, wrote a book called just that, Permanent Errors. Some errors are not permanent. An editor noted an error in a story I was writing for the Times, fixed it, and Al Siegal looked up and said, “It’s not an error unless it makes into the paper.”
Some of you who have ordered signed first editions from me have received a book with a little note slipped into it noting that the snickerdoodle recipe has double the sugar it should have. Others have not. Happily, the entire first edition sold out and the new editions have the correct amount of sugar. The awesome Kindle edition (which is what I use), was fixed immediately. But there are still countless D.R.s out there who will try the snickerdoodle recipe in their first edition of Ruhlman’s Twenty and say out loud, “Seriously?”
What makes matters worse is that this recipe is based on one sent to me by the extraordinary Shuna Fish Lydon, so it hurts her a little, too (forever sorry, Shuna, my fault).
And what D.R. said is right! It is the perfect cookie—when you put the right amount of sugar in. Simple as can be, with crisp edges, crunchy exterior, and a slightly chewy interior, sweet and sweetly spiced. For an easy afternoon snack for the kids (these are great milk-dipping cookies), this is a quick fix. I do these in a bowl by hand but you can double the amounts and use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment if you have one. So here, with my great apologies to D.R., a proper recipe. Sorry to your kids as well.
Snickerdoodle Done Right
- 1/4 cup/55 grams butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup/100 grams firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup/100 grams granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup/140 grams all-purpose flour/plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup/50 grams granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C/gas 4.
- In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Using a stiff spatula, stir and paddle the ingredients until uniformly combined. Add the egg and whisk rapidly until it is combined into the butter mixture.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, the baking power, and a three-finger pinch of salt. Fold the flour mixture, in a few batches, into the butter mixture until completely incorporated.
- Scoop out tablespoons of the dough and arrange them about 3 inches/7.5 centimeters apart on a baking sheet/tray. If you want them uniform, cover the top of a glass with a damp towel, and press the covered opening of the glass down on to each cookie (which is what my mom always liked to do; there is something strangely satisfying about it).
- To make the Cinnamon Sugar: In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and cinnamon until the cinnamon is uniformly distributed.
- Sprinkle the cookies with the cinnamon sugar (save any leftovers for cinnamon toast!). Bake until the cookies are cooked through, and the edges are golden, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with more sugar if you wish.
Yield: about 12 medium-size cookies.
If you liked this post on snickerdoodles, check out these other links:
- My post on Cookulus, a baking app.
- Wasabimon, aka Stephanie Stiavetti, shares her recipe for French cannelés.
- The Decorated Cookie Blog has some creative ideas and recipes for cookies and other sweet treats.
- Food photographer Jim Scherer has a great portfolio of delicious desserts.
© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.