Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Light and Fluffly Snickerdoodle Cookie

I will be the first to admit I wasn't a fan of the snickerdoodle cookie. I always thought cinnamon and sugar were meant for cinnamon rolls or donuts from the apple cider mill, but for some reason, never a cookie! That is until I came across this wonderful recipe. I found it at The Ginger Cook. She was convincing and I had to make it.

This recipe yields such a delicious cookie, that I don't need any other snickerdoodle cookie recipe - ever. It was so quick and easy to make. The kids helped too. Just lovely!

  • 2¾ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Beat in the vanilla.
6. Gradually stir in the flour mixture, mix on low just until the flour is blended.
7. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a separate small bowl.
8. Scoop 1-inch balls of dough and roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat. If you find it difficult to work with the dough, refrigerate it for 15-30 minutes and then roll into balls.
9. Place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and bake for 9-10 minutes. I don't chill my cookie sheets in between baking, I just make sure they are not hot when I put the next batch on them.
10. Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Magnificent Zebra Cake

When I first saw this recipe on Farida's Azerbaijani Cookbook blog, I was intrigued and my first thought was "no way!" But it is possible. Really! The cake is not only delicious, but beautiful to look at. It is a perfect pairing with coffee or tea or wine, you decide.

The consistency is somewhere between pound cake and cake. The secret to making this cake is to just keep pouring the batter in the middle of the pan. After the batter is divided and one part made into chocolate batter, I use a 1/3 measuring cup for each batter and keep rotating.

You start in the middle, pour the first yellow batter, then pour the other chocolate batter on top of that in the middle. Keep repeating until all the batter is gone. I have found that using a 1/3 cup makes the zebra lines more pronounced.


4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups unbleached all-purpose
1/4 tsp salt (sea salt is best for baking)
1 tablespoon (equals 3 teaspoons) baking powder
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder

You’ll also need: mixing bowls, electric mixer, 9 inch non-stick round cake pan. I use a regular 9-inch cake pan outlined in parchment paper.

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Lightly grease the pan with oil. If you don’t have non-stick baking pan, grease whatever pan you have then line it with parchment paper (baking paper).
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Beat until the mixture is creamy and light in color. It will look like pancake batter. (I use the Kitchen Aid electric mixer.)
4. Add vanilla, milk and oil, and continue beating until well blended.
5. In a separate bowl, combine and mix flour and baking powder. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat just until the batter is smooth and the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Do not over beat to prevent air pockets from forming in the batter.
6. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions - comes to about 2 1/2 cups each portion. Keep one portion plain. Add cocoa powder into another and mix well.
7. The most important part is assembling the cake batter in a baking pan. Scoop 1/3-cup of plain batter into the middle of the baking pan. Then scoop 1/3-cup of cocoa batter and pour it in the center on top of the plain batter. Do not stop and wait until the previous batter spreads - keep going. Do not spread the batter or tilt the pan to distribute the mixture. It will spread by itself and fill the pan gradually. Continue alternating the batters until you finish them.
8. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes - 50 minutes. Do not open the oven door for at least the first 20 minutes or the cake will shrink and will not rise. To check if the cake is ready, insert a toothpick into the center. It should come out clean when ready. (I bake mine for 50 minutes, I check it after 40 minutes, but it is never done at that time.)

9. Remove from the oven. Cool for a few minutes, then invert the cake onto a cooking rack. If you did not use parchment paper, then you may want to run a knife around the cake in the pan before inverting the cake. Then, turn the cake back over and let cool. When the cake has cooled, you can sprinkle the top of the cake with powdered (confectioner’s) sugar or leave it plain.

Pour batter from the center, alternating between yellow and chocolate batter.

This is how it will look before baking.

 Just out of the oven.

 Cooling on a rack.

The cake after a few slices.