The Holidays seem like a long time ago at this point, right? Yet, the garland hanging on my porch reminds me that not even a month has passed. For me, when I think about this last Christmas, one moment stands out more brightly than the rest. One evening, as we were all sitting around my in-laws living room, my brother-in-law started playing old videos. The first one was from the day that Kai was born. I had no idea this clip existed. My heart was in my throat as I strained to soak in every moment. JP is three years old again and skipping down the hallway to meet his new brother. I am laying in the hospital bed, having given birth but a few hours ago. We get to see the first time JP meets Kai. The next video was JP’s second birthday. We were all together and full of love and laughs. He made a little pile of bows as he slowly opened up the presents. It was such a gift to relive these moments and to see the confirmation of how far we’ve come. Though not all my memories of those moments are positive; I can rest assured that the love we have for our children is evident.
Another amazing gift this Christmas came in the form of cookbooks. Three (!!!!) new ones to be exact. I have been eager to jump in but have felt a little intimidated as well. So much talent and knowledge are inside these pages. I decided to start with BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts. I have been reading it through like a novel. It is so interesting! Stella Parks goes into detail about the history behind each recipe, as well as the science of why her version works. I also love how these recipes are classics that we all know so well but her ingredients and techniques update and elevate. Reading it made me realize how we as home bakers are making history. The food we make for our families will become part of the fabric of our country. I feel excited, energized and ready to make 2018 the tastiest year yet.
Snickerdoodle Bars (Snip Doodles)
Snickerdoodles are always a favorite around here, with their chewy centers and cinnamon flavor. According to Stella Parks (I have a feeling I’ll be saying that a lot now) the recipe for snickerdoodles originated as a simple cake called snip doodles. Already, I can see that these will be a family favorite. The addition of freshly grated cinnamon adds an extra flavorful topping to the cake.
- 2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (refined or virgin)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
Cinnamon Sugar topping:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons grated cinnamon (or to taste)
Preheat oven to 350°F and place the baking rack in the middle of the oven. Butter and flour a half sheet baking tray. Stella specifically says to spread the dough in a 15x11x1 inch layer on the tray. My tray was larger and I spread mine out on the whole thing. They were a little thin but no complaints. If you have a half sheet baking tray then you should be just fine.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, coconut oil. sugar, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and vanilla. Mix on low with a paddle attachment and then increase speed to medium. Beat until light and fluffy. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula after two minutes. Continue for two more minutes. Add the egg and mix until smooth.
Turn the mixer to low and add 1/3 of the flour. Mix until incorporated and then add 1/3 cup of the milk. Mix on low to incorporate and then repeat with the flour and milk two more times. Scrape to ensure dough is uniform and all the ingredients are mixed in and the batter is smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Coat with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Bake for 15 minutes. The cake will be firm to the touch and puffy. A toothpick with come out clean when inserted in the center. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then cut with a pizza cutter or knife. Once cool, store in an air tight container for 3-4 days.