Monday, September 24, 2007

It's almost time to bust out the pumpkins!

Now that everyone is back home, we're starting to get back into a good routine and I'm looking forward to fall-time cooking and baking. When I was menu planning for this week, I was trying to think of what type of cookie we have not made for awhile. I went to the website and started scrolling through the cookie list and noticed the last time we made Snickerdoodles was back in December 2005!

We had to rectify that and I found a recipe in my little (ha!) hill of to-try piles that sounded good. The first thing I noticed was this recipe did not call for cream of tartar... I mentioned in my other post that I thought this was a key ingredient to snickerdoodles. I thought about messing around with the leavening agents, but decided to give the cookies a try as is.

The dough came together well and was not too firm or soft - it was slightly sticky, but not so much that you couldn't easily roll them into balls. When I started tossing the dough balls into the intoxicating sugar and cinnamon coating, I noticed they were getting a better covering if I gently rolled them around, rather than shaking the dish all over. If I tried to rush coating them, the dough seemed to get a light coating of cinnamon and did not pick up much of the crunchy sugar. The cookies had a fantastic texture and that classic crackled finish - they had crispy edges with a slight bend in the middle that alluded to their chewiness. They didn't have that light ethereal texture that the cream of tarter tends to give, but nonetheless, I could not tell that much difference and am happy to know that they can be successful without the cream of tarter.

It was pouring outside tonight while I was making dinner and as I was tearing a few leaves of fresh basil for this Tri-Colore Orzo dish, I was hoping that it was going to bring back one last flash of that bright summer aroma to this dreary and stormy evening. A pound of rice-shaped orzo pasta is the only thing that needs to be cooked in this recipe. Once tender, yet still retaining a slight bite, the pasta is spread on a large baking sheet and tossed with a couple tablespoons of olive oil to keep it from sticking as it cools as it is best served at room temperature. The orzo is then given a face lift by tossing in peppery arugula, salty feta cheese, rosy dried cherries and fresh basil. For a buttery crunch, a quarter cup of toasted pine nuts is also tossed in to the mix. You don't even need to whisk together the dressing for this dish - fresh lemon juice and olive oil are just drizzled over to develop the tangy and clean-tasting coating. If you are so inclined, feel free to replace the pungent feta with ricotta salata for a more smooth and mild flavor.


  1. I just made snickerdoodles and must admit that I love cream of tartar. I've even monkeyed around with using it in other cookies. I just love the texture (and I think) taste that it lends to the cookies.

  2. The feta cheese does it for me so no substitutions allowed in this recipe in my books. It seems that all is well in your new home and that you are back to cooking up a storm!

  3. You know I have never made snickerdoodles, but they sound simple yet delicious. Now I will have to give them a try!

  4. Claire - Yea, I know what you mean! It does add something special.

    Valli - we are keeping the new kitchen quite busy!

    Annie - You must!