Old recipes are a constant source of delight for me, always have been. Some of my favourite comfy-time reading has been from books with titles like “The Prairie Homesteaders Kitchen” and of course, Australia’s national treasure of a cookbook, “Green & Gold Cookbook”. What kitchen, back in the day, didn’t have a copy of this paperback gem? It’s almost 100 years old now – I like it better than the big bucks coffee table cookbooks, it has a real sense of history and authenticity.
In the Green and Gold book there’s a biscuit/cookie recipe that shares DNA with an old-school American recipe.
These sugar cookies, rolled in cinnamon sugar are the crunchiest, easiest-to-make, most delicious little gems ever! In the US, they’re known as Snickerdoodles, Green and Gold’s recipe contributor called them Spinster’s Buttons. Both brilliant names, love it!
I’ve taken the recipe, tweaked it just the tiniest little bit and pimped it big time for Easter.
I am an Aussie, oi,oi,oi, but sorry, I just cannot resist calling these Snickerdoodles – who doesn’t want to have to keep saying that word?
Spinster’s Buttons can be like the formal, grown-up name, Snickerdoodle can be it’s fuzzy-wuzzy pet name – Spinster’s Buttons! Pick up that towel and clean your room! Oh, Snickerdoodle, Mummy loves you, come here for a cuddle…
3/4 cup of caster sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
150g butter cut up into little cubes
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla paste or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda
You will also need around 1/2 – 3/4 of a cup of cinnamon sugar to roll the cookie dough in. I used a 3 parts sugar to 1 part ground cinnamon ratio. I also decided to use coarser, light golden coloured Demerara sugar for extra crunch.
Preheat your oven to 180C and line your flat baking trays/cookie sheet with non-stick baking paper.
Purists might hate me but I put the flour, salt, cinnamon, bicarb, baking powder and butter into the stand mixer bowl and let my whisk attachment do the work…If you prefer, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it forms a streusel/breadcrumb looking mixture.
Now add the eggs and vanilla and give it a good mix until it all comes together.
Take a piece of dough about as big as a walnut (or whatever size you like) roll it into a ball and then plop it into your cinnamon sugar and toss it about to cover.
Place onto your baking sheet and press down a bit with a fork.
You will need to leave plenty of space between each cookies – they spread out and flatten during baking. I usually only manage to cook around 6-8 at a time.
Bake until golden brown, take out of the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes. They will be very soft when you first take them out. Too soft to touch or move. They harden up as they cool.
Remove to a wire rack with a palette knife or spatula.
These will last for at least a week – they are the perfect standby, go-to cookie/biscuit for the cookie jar.
I was making Easter gifts, so some of mine got themselves a glam makeover. All I did was drizzle over some melted, dark chocolate and stud with a few dried cranberries. Lovely combination, they taste better than ever.