The summer I was nine years old our family embarked on a cross country driving trip. We were mixing touring the United States with meeting our mother and father’s extended families. Piling into the the large, brown Pontiac station wagon along with the ensuing daily “discussion” over who would get to sit in the rear-facing back seats became the routine. The anticipation of getting to St Louis, where our mother’s cousin and her family lived, was growing by the day. Following the introductions, a bit of awkwardness developed as we attempted to become acquainted. A snack of snickerdoodles and a drink was offered. We were unfamiliar with snickerdoodles but soon learned they are delicious cinnamon sugar cookies. There is nothing quite like cookies to put a slightly awkward crowd at ease. That afternoon, we shared stories and jokes getting to know each other better while nibbling snickerdoodles. Our delight with the cookies during our visit prompted our mother to request the recipe. The snickerdoodle has now made it’s place in my recipe box and it has become a regular on the annual Christmas cookie platter. The sweetness of the cinnamon and sugar along with a slight tartness from the cream of tartar mix together to create a perfectly delectable blend of flavors.
1 cup shortening (I use butter)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cinnamon sugar: to make cinnamon sugar, mix 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (or to taste) with a quarter cup of granulated sugar.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add to the shortening mixture, beating well. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Tear off walnut-size pieces of dough and roll each into a ball. Roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place on an ungreased baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Cookies can be pressed with a fork in a criss-cross pattern if you want. Bake until the cookies are light brown and firm on top, 10 to 15 minutes.
Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish. Store in an airtight container.