These past few weeks I’ve been pensive. I think more than I’d like to any given day, but this past month I have felt particularly heavy in thought. September always evokes much mood for me – apprehension about a the school year for our girls, a new routine/schedule to manage, and saying farewell to summer. While fall is a favorite season for many, it’s not for me. I prefer the brightness and warmth of summer, and my vata-nature always feels its best during those warm months. Plus, this time of year brings me to thinking about my father’s passing, and while at 41 my brain tells me it should no longer affect me, my heart tells me different. Our older daughters have been asking more about ‘Poppy Burton’ and how he died – and I am trying to sort how to answer it at their tender ages. For now, less is more. With other things going on with extended family, things feel uncertain and strange right now.
I have also been trying to determine where my work efforts are best directed. I am one person – no, one mama. With three daughters and a household to manage. I love to blog, to communicate – and of course to create my recipes. I have a stack of recipes needing edits, a backlog of food photos I want to blog and share, and several “ideas” I’d like to pursue. I need three of me to work all of this out! I don’t have any decisions made, but I need to determine where I put my efforts, to be able to continue my work.
All of this has my thoughts and emotions in overdrive. When I’m in these pensive times, I find comfort in simple things. Food is one of them. If I’m not sitting with a hot tea and some dark chocolate for a few moments of comfort, then I might be baking – because that also reminds of the good and simple things in life. Taking a handful of ingredients and turning them into something fragrant and sweet to flow through your home. To have a little goodie to give your kiddos, and see their smile when they take that first bite.
And cookies are one of my favorite things to create and bake. When I was testing this Snickerdoodle recipe for LTEV, our daughter kept calling them “Snifferdoodles”. I loved the name – and as you can see in the book, it stuck. Recently I transformed these Snifferdoodles into ice cream sandwiches for the girls (fine, for me - because if a piece of chocolate and tea doesn’t give me a comfort fix, ice cream surely will). So, I’m sharing this recipe with you today, because maybe you are also feeling some ‘fall blues’, or finding yourself absorbed in thought. Let’s hope that it takes just a couple of batches of cookies to figure things out.
Snifferdoodles wheat-free, soy-free (link to print/share recipe)
I had originally called these Maple Sugar Snickerdoodles. However, one day our middle daughter called them Snifferdoodles. I loved the name so much I had to go with it! They are delicious, and terrific for bringing to school or other parties, where allergies such as to peanuts, nuts, wheat, and even chocolate are always an issue.
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp spelt flour
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp oat flour
1⁄3 cup unrefined sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp (rounded) baking soda
¼ tsp cinnamon (see note for anise “biscochitos” adaptation)
1⁄4 tsp sea salt
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp organic neutral-tasting oil (ex: avocado, almond, etc)
2 tsp unrefined sugar (fine textured)
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients, sifting in the baking powder and baking soda, mixing well. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, vanilla, and oil. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir until just incor- porated. Place the mixture in the fridge for about 5 minutes. While the cookie mixture chills, mix the coating ingredients together in a separate small bowl. Remove the cookie mixture from the fridge, and take small spoonfuls of the batter (about 1⁄2 tablespoon each; see note) of the batter and roll in your hands to form balls. Place on the prepared (you will still need to coat them, so just place randomly on the lined pan until ready to move to that step). Continue until you have used all the batter. Roll each ball in the coating mixture, and then place back on the lined pan, this time spacing out the cookies evenly. Do not flatten them! Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven (if you bake for much longer, they will dry out), let cool on the pan for no more than a minute (again, to prevent drying), then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes 15-18 snifferdoodles.
If This Apron Could Talk:
I make these cookies a little smaller than most of the others. They are perfect for little hands when bite size. Because they are smaller, you should get a yield of between 18 to 25 cookies, and the baking time will be only 10 to 11 minutes. If you choose to make them a little larger, the yield should be 13 to 15 cookies; bake for 11 to 12 minutes.
You may have extra sugar mixture after coating the cookies. Don’t throw it away! Use it to sprinkle on ice cream, bagels, toast, yogurt, or cereal!
If the batter is a touch dry when mixing, use another 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon of oil and mix with another smidgen (about 1 teaspoon) of maple syrup. Depending on the brand of flour used and/or time of year, this is a good trick. Simply fold the oil and syrup into the batter, and repeat if needed. Just don’t overdo it—the batter should be thick and not too wet or oily, or the cookies will spread out flat and join when baking.
Make It More-ish!
After making these cookies, I learned about biscochitos, which are Mexican cookies flavored with anise and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. To make a biscochito instead of a Snifferdoodle, omit the 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon from the batter and replace it with 3⁄4 to 1 teaspoon of aniseeds, crushed just slightly between your fingers before mixing in (if you love that licorice flavor, use the full 1 teaspoon, or more)! The cookies will look the same, just taste different!
You can also make different shapes with the batter, if you first refrigerate it for 20 or more minutes to get firmer. Roll out about 1⁄4 inch thick and cut into shapes before dusting with the cinnamon sugar.
To make ice cream sandwiches: Let ice cream soften in the refrigerator. Once ice cream is softened enough to easily scoop/spread, get started. Spread a layer of ice cream on the flat (under) side of one cookie. Place the underside of another cookie on top, and lightly press together. After making 3-4 sandwiches, transfer to freezer immediately to set. Continue in batches, freeze until firm, and store in a sealed container.
Does baking or cooking bring you comfort as well? What do you most love to create or bake?