November 30, 2011

Holiday Cookie Week: Spiced Snickerdoodles with Big Girls, Small Kitchen {Tales from the Trenches}


This is the latest installment of my Tales from the Trenches Series. An ongoing series where friends and readers share their stories and recipes about the great food they fit into family life. We all have tips and tricks to share with each other: when we cook, what we cook and how we cook the delicious food we love to eat. If you are interested in contributing a story and recipe please feel free to contact me. Today my friend’s Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine, the talented bloggers behind Big Girls, Small Kitchen and Small Kitchen College are sharing one of their favorite holiday cookie recipes. Be sure to check out their first cookbook, In the Small Kitchen: 100 Recipes from Our Year of Cooking in the Real World, it was published in May and makes a fabulous holiday gift!

Holiday Cookie Week!:Don’t forget to enter to win my HUGE holiday cookie week baking package giveaway, details below!

Around this time last year, as our Thanksgiving fullness waned and our tummies grumbled in anticipation of holiday food, we had the opportunity to attend not one but two cookie swaps.

Full admission: we’re not sure we’d ever been to a cookie swap before those two invitations landed in our inbox, but the idea is pretty genius, and of course we caught right on. If it’s not obvious (it wasn’t to us!), here’s how it works: everyone in attendance makes enough cookies for everyone else in attendance to take at least one of each variety home. Participants put out their own cookies, fill up empty boxes, and leave with a far vaster assortment of cookies than they’d ever have had the patience to make themselves. Like a potluck, a format of which we’re very fond, since it cuts down so much on prep time and clean up. And a cookie swap is even more productive than our philosophy of BYOB to dinner parties, since normally by the end of those there isn’t anything to take home. All the wine’s been drunk.


So, as we said, this whole cookie swap thing was right up our alley.

We make cookies all year long–weekly, pretty much always, and sometimes daily. But holiday cookies do seem to up the ante.In 2009, we labored for hours over royal icing, dabbing it here and there, and decorating cookie stars, snowmen, and Christmas trees. This year, we decided to nix the icing due to time constraints, but we still wanted to make sure that the cookies weren’t the type you’d just eat on any old afternoon but the kind that screeched “it’s December!”

We got our act together, got baking, and came up with this delightful spiced twist on an American favorite: the snickerdoodle.

Spiced Snickerdoodles

A Holiday Spiced Snickerdoodle is a snickerdoodle that’s rolled in a mixture of gingerbread-ish spices as opposed to mere cinnamon. Though plain, there’s something about snickerdoodles that’s just old-fashioned and festive. If you’re only baking a few for your family, try making them larger-than-life—seven inches or so in diameter! If you’ll be baking batches and batches, stick with a smaller cookie. Everyone will adore biting into one of these. Like standing under the mistletoe, offering a Holiday Spiced Snickerdoodle may just land you with a kiss.

Rules for Holiday Cookie Week Giveaway:

1. Leave a comment sharing what holiday cookies you are baking this season.

2. Subscribe to The Naptime Chef newsletter (upper right hand corner) – I’ll check!

3. Become a fan of The Naptime Chef on Facebook

4. Extra Entry: Share the link to this post with your friends on Facebook and link to @TheNaptimeChef Facebook fanpage

5. Extra Entry: Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter and link to hashtag @TheNaptimeChef

6. Extra Entry: Follow me on Stumbleupon and stumble this entry by clicking the green thumbs up.

7. 6 Extra Entries: Share the post about this article from my Facebook fanpage to at least 10 friends to help The Naptime Chef get to 4,000 fans by New Years! (I can see who shares what, so I will note when you share!)

8. Contest will run from November 28th at 7:00am through Sunday, December 3rd at 7:00pm ET. Winner will be announced on Sunday December 4th at 7:00am. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours a new winner will be drawn. Winner be selected by


Holiday Spiced Snickerdoodles

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Snickerdoodle Recipe
Makes about 3 dozen cookies


2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup pure vegetable shortening
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves



Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line baking sheets with parchment.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter, shortening, and 1 ½ cups sugar with a handheld mixer, or a standing mixer if you have one, until light and fluffy, for about 2 minutes. Add eggs, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine.

In a small bowl, combine remaining ¼ cup sugar and the spices. Shape balls out of the dough–you want them to be about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Roll all the balls through the spice-sugar mixture. Place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 8 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after 4 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

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3 Responses to “Holiday Cookie Week: Spiced Snickerdoodles with Big Girls, Small Kitchen {Tales from the Trenches}”

  1. Eva Canitano says:

    Love your site!  Will be added this to our Christmas baking rotation!