Recipe: Snickerdoodles

I first encountered the American author Jean Johnson online through her very steamy Harry Potter fanfiction. Yeah, I know. So sue me.

She and I happen to have the same birthday. I became one of her beta readers for her fanfiction, then for her fantasy/romance novels. Despite having a 9-hour time difference between us, we chatted online through my mornings and her late nights. We finally managed to meet for real a few years ago during the World Science Fiction Convention in London.

But back to our subject: to celebrate chapter 100 of one of her fanfictions, Jean included a recipe for her favourite biscuits, I mean, cookies: Snickerdoodles. These are nicely rounded, rather soft in the middle, and covered in crunchy spiced sugar.


Here is her recipe, translated to British English:


3 ¼ cups sifted plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
3 eggs, well beaten
1 cup hazel nuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
1 cup butter

½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 dash of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 180° C.
Thoroughly sift together flour, salt, bicarb of soda, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Set aside.

Melt the butter, add the sugar and mix. Beat the eggs into the butter-sugar mixture thoroughly. Stir into the flour until you get an homogeneous dough.

Mix together the remaining ½ cup sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon, and dash of nutmeg in a shallow dish.

With a teaspoon, take a walnut-sized lump of dough. Roll it between your hands  into a ball, and dredge in the sugar mixture. Cook 10 to 13 minutes on a greased baking tray (or non-stick baking parchment). Cool on a wire rack.



For lack of a pot

The weather yesterday was so wet and windy and dreary I thought I would make this Chetna Makan recipe. But things went against me: nor rhubarb left in the shop by the time I got there. So I decided I would improvise, and change the fruit compote to a mango, orange and raspberry medley.

I had the pudding bowl out, the compote made, when I discovered that I couldn’t for the life of me get my hands on my big soup pot. It’s hiding somewhere. Since the other pot was in use by one of my lodgers, I changed plans.

This morning, I made biscuits. Actually, I made cookies and biscotti, to speak in their original languages. But both recipes have something in common: the balls of dough are rolled in sugar before baking.

The cookies are snickerdoodles, delicately flavoured with cinnamon both in the dough and in the rolling sugar.


The biscotti are biscotti morbidi al limone, soft-centred lemon biscuits. For these, I adapted the recipe slightly, since I had used one small lemon, and found the flavour a bit light: I added some pure lemon oil to the dough, and it worked perfectly.

Tender lemon biscuits

Both batches went down a treat at work.

And now, I need to find this pot!