12 May, 2009

Domestic Goddess behaviour: snickerdoodles anyone?

Nigella Lawson gets a lot of stick these days. I can just imagine what the Spitting Image puppet would have looked like, were it still showing. I like her. Always have. Ever since some time in the early 90s when she saved my first turkey from being undercooked (my mother's suggestion was an hour or so for an enormous bird) or overcooked (my then-boyfriend's mother thought 6 hours was more likely). I found an article in Vogue - ah the days when I read Vogue ... - and she put me right. I will admit that I don't watch her on television. It's just all a bit too luscious for me. But I do read her books and would recommend some if not all. In particular, I like the ones NOT based on TV series. They seem to most reflect her personality and allow her a free rein in the writing. How to Eat, Domestic Goddess and Feast are all substantial useful recipe books. How to Eat is probably the best. Beautifully and opinionatedly written, no pictures which I think is a good sign and chock full of good recipes, good suggestions and stuff that works. Feast I like because it feeds into my love of providing food for friends and family. It is about celebrating life and life's events. And lastly there's Domestic Goddess which is basically cakes, cakes and more cakes. I have occasional issues with the book - temperatures always seem a bit high, cooking times a little long, and quantities odd. For some reason, the mixture never makes as many biscuits or whatever as she says. Perhaps I'm even greedier than she claims to be and so make everything too big.

Which brings me to today's cookies. These were meant to be cinnamon buns but we had a milk shortage so I made snickerdoodles instead. Never made them before. I got 27 out of the mixture rather than Nigella's 32. They are slightly but not unpleasantly dry cinnamon cookies which are great to dunk in coffee or tea or indeed milk which is what the children are doing.


250g plain flour
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
125g butter, at room temperature
100g plus 2 tbsp caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 baking sheets, lined or greased

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ gas mark 4.

Combine the flour, nutmeg, baking powder and salt, and set aside for a moment. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the 100g of sugar until light in texture and pale in colour, then beat in the egg and vanilla. Now stir in the dry ingredients until you have a smooth, coherent mixture. Spoon out the remaining sugar and the cinnamon onto a plate. Then, with your fingers, squidge out pieces of dough and roll between the palms of your hands into walnut-sized balls. Roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and arrange on your baking sheets.

Bake for about 15 minutes, by which time they should be turning golden-brown. Take out of the oven and leave to rest on the baking sheets for 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 25-30ish - guess it depends on your walnuts.


just Gai said...

I too love Nigella; to read, to watch and to cook. She's my kind of woman; curvy, greedy and unafraid to be herself. The trio of books you mention (How to Eat, How to be a Domestic Goddess and Feast) form the backbone of my kitchen library, along with my battered Good Housekeeping cookbook and a couple of Nigel Slater's works.

I've never made snickerdoodles but have always loved the name. Could be my next project?

Eliane said...

We just finished off the last of them with vanilla ice cream - delicious.

Garden Girl said...

Added to those three, my other favourite is 'Nigella Bites'. You know it's well loved because it's pretty grubby, with splashes of this and that on it.

My favourite Domestic Goddess recipe is the Easy Almond Cake... YUM! Don't bother trying to soften and blend the marzipan too much though. It's better with globs of melty-gooey almondy goodness in it.

But also, I agree about not liking watching her on TV. Surely she's putting it on a bit?

Suzanne@ Panteg Alpacas said...

I thought they were good too - and since I ate the most I should know !

Soilman said...

'How to Eat' is a marvellous book. The recipe for crab and saffron tart is to die for...

Anonymous said...

Wooooah. Nigella has taken over our household! We've got the books (all excepting How to Eat - like you've got to be pretty dumb or affluant or both to buy a book with that title.) courtesy of the womenfolk in our household. So I decided to watch a whole episode. Verdict: presentation is the victor over content. Of course we'd all like to rub up close with her voluptuousness, but that's not cookery. Like Delia she has a very astute team around her that advise on playing to her strengths, (both of them) but, hey there are some people who advocate good home cooked food based on it's own merit, not on those of the presentor's. Can I recommend Herbs Spices and Flavouringd by Tom Stobbard?

Amanda said...

I have the same issue with some of Nigella's recipes. I did find a whole page of corrections on her website for some of the recipes (the flapjack one in particular was completely out, as I recall). I never get as many items as she says you should, but as I also have that problem with Delia Smith's recipes, I just assumed that it was me being greedy!

Anonymous said...

We made these today and I'm hooked. How can something so simple taste so divine?!