Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to School with Gluten Free Snickerdoodles: Just Like School Lunch Ladies Used to Make

When I was in elementary school, I ate school lunch almost every day from 2nd grade until high school, at which time I discovered the drive thru with my friends. But even though my tastebuds have been sullied by those years of Taco Time burritos, I can distinctly remember the smells that would waft through the halls of Tolman Elementary that were the harbingers of the day's menu. I could tell you exactly what school lunch menu was being served simply by using my nose. Spaghetti? That's an easy one. Garlic and tomato sauce and soggy noodles. Sloppy Joes? Boo. Peanut butter and chocolate meant peanut butter bars for dessert. Of course, the aroma of fresh-baked rolls were a dead giveaway that it was some kind of gravied meat with mashed potatoes. But the killer one was the sweet cinnamon smell that accompanied the giant snickerdoodle cookies that the cooks somehow thought went with a healthy lunch. Not that I was complaining. For the last few years I've forgotten about snickerdoodles. It's just one of those cookies that fell by the wayside for me. Well, all of this back-to-school shopping with five children jogged my memories of the days at good old Tolman Elementary, so I set out to make some snickerdoodles in honor of my alma mater the other day. My first mistake? Assuming that snickerdoodles are simply sugar cookie dough rolled in sugar and cinnamon. Not so! They have a distinct flavor that comes from cream of tartar, which you must add, or they end up tasting wierd. Trust me, I tried it. Then, while flipping through my latest issue of Living Without, I came upon a recipe from a 12-year-old girl who won a state fair with this recipe, so I gave it a try. The verdict: Just like the cooks used to make.

Gluten Free Snickerdoodles
from the pages of Living Without Magazine

1 cup shortening or margarine (I used margarine)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups gluten free flour blend (I use Grandpa's Kitchen)
1 1/2 tsp xantham gum (Grandpa's Kitchen already adds this; omit if you use it)
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 T sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat together margarine, sugar, and eggs until creamy. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, soda, salt, and xantham gum, if using. Add to the creamy mixture a little at a time until mixed thoroughly. Chill dough briefly, for 10-15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together 2 T sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a small-sized scoop, scoop out walnut sized dough rounds and roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture until coated on all sides. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in oven until lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Watch carefully as cookies brown quickly.

My daughter said these cookies made the house smell like Christmas. I thought they made the house smell like multiplication tables, Elmer's glue, floor disinfectant and grass stains. Bring on the school year. I'm ready.

Happy eating!

1 comment:

  1. My son's favorite cookies!! He's now a 24-year old firefighter, but I'm sure the whole firehouse would be happy to get a batch of these -- they're all just big kids anyway :)
    Thanks for sharing your recipe.


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