For anyone who wants to go from zero to snickerdoodle in about 20 minutes — for any reason — this recipe is a boon. And it will be no standard snickerdoodle: This is a fancy bakery-style puddle of a cookie, with a rich belly and a sparkly chew at every edge.
But for me and my ilk (aka parents of very small children), this recipe is nothing short of a miracle. Because I've learned I can make it with my 3-year-old by my side, from stirring to baking to blowing on cookies warm from the oven, all without ever losing her (or my) attention.
(Notably, this was true even on the video shoot day you see above, after our childcare plan fell through. So this is a cookie that brings joy from start to finish, even with stopping and starting and mom forgetting her lines.)
The force behind this recipe's ease and charm is Jessie Sheehan, champion of no-fuss baking and author of the new cookbook, "Snackable Bakes." In the years since Jessie changed careers — from actress to lawyer to joining the crew at Baked — she's learned to whittle away the steps that recipes don't need, with a skeptical eye on any secret slow-downs.
There are no lengthy chill times, no excess bowls to wash. "This book is not about resting cookie dough," Jessie told me over the phone, despite the benefits bakers know hydrating cookie dough can bring. (Jessie's uncommon additions of brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla to the dough deepen the flavor so we don't miss the rest.)
She doesn't even make us wait for butter to cool after melting, a step often casually tucked into ingredient lists that can eat up precious minutes, especially when your free time looks like MacGruber's.
Jessie loves the speed of baking with melted butter, and when it needs to be cooled before mixing — so the dough isn't warm enough that the cookies ooze into one another in the oven, for example — she melts and cools the butter at the same time.
That is, she doesn't completely melt it, and, as she whisks, the lingering clumps of cool butter automatically cool it down — much like tempering chocolate. In this recipe, the butter is further cooled by a few tablespoons of shortening (a high-melting-point ingredient that helps the cookies keep their shape in the oven and resist going stale), and then an egg cold from the fridge. The dough remains chill and needs no long rest in the fridge to behave.
The dough is, however, soft enough that you don't even need to roll it into balls. More minutes back! You plunk it directly from the cookie scoop, then nudge it through cinnamon sugar, and it yields exactly the same rounded shape a type-A rolled ball does.
Jessie has one final trick to help these cookies look and taste like they're straight out of a pastry case — a swift, optional smash with a spatula, right after they come out of the oven. The move is much like Sarah Kieffer's famed pan-banging technique, with more schadenfreude. "I have this crazy aversion to puffy cookies and when I see them I'm not happy," Jessie told me. Puffy implies cakey, and Jessie doesn't want cakey.
What she wants is dense, chewy, and rich — and it's what we all get, in less time than we thought we had to spare.
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