“Baking cookies is comforting, and cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food. . . .”--Sandra Lee
Years ago, back in the days of the VHS tape cassettes, when my daughter, Maddie, was quite young, she had her fair share of age-appropriate videos. These were special treats as her TV time was limited. John, my husband, and I are both educators, and we strongly believed then–and still do–that screen time should be limited, especially before the age of five years. Therefore, these videos were not watched daily, but rather saved for “special times,” such as holidays, sick days, and weekends.
One of her favorites was Barney: Night Before Christmas. It was 57 minutes of so much saccharine sweetness that John and I felt cavities forming, if not in our teeth, then in our minds! It used to drive us crazy with its terrible acting and poorly written script. Regardless, Maddie loved it, and she especially enjoyed singing along with the Barney closing jingle. I can still recall the way in which she would plead for her Dad and I to join her in singing it’s catchy refrain, followed by a group hug.
One line from this video, ultimately became–and still remains–a running joke in our family. Let me set the stage for you. Magically, a flawlessly dressed and styled girl wakes up to find snow has fallen just in time for Christmas Eve. Poof! Out of nowhere, a perfectly coiffed mom, garbed in stereotypical Christmas attire, emerges to hug her daughter at the window. As Mother and daughter turn away from the window, in walks the doting Dad carrying boxes of Christmas decorations,“just in time for Christmas Eve too!” Suddenly, Dad feigns hunger like Santa, so Mom suggests that she should bake cookies.
“Ooo–snickerdoodles?” says Dad, rubbing his hands together.
“Chocolate chip?” asks Daughter in a sing-song voice.
Mom smiles methodically in assent, as both parents make their way through the Christmas greeting card house and disappear behind a swinging door to presumably bake cookies. Twenty or so minutes later, both parents will reappear, no worse for the wear, carrying a large Christmas basket filled with piles of Instagram worthy cookies–had social media been around then.
The days of Maddie’s Barney obsession are long past; however, if I state that I am going to bake cookies, John, and/or Maddie, will both mimic the lines from the video. John especially loves to say, “Ooo–snickerdoodles?” and dramatically rub his hands together as if teaching a primary science lesson on friction. As inside family jokes go, it never gets old!
Therefore, this past Christmas week, I decided to be ironic and make those Barney dreams come true! I researched and cobbled together my own version of gluten-free snickerdoodle cookies! As an added twist, John inadvertently played the role of doting dad by scavenging stores for cream of tartar, the secret ingredient to these magical cookies, since it was out-of-stock at the store I most often frequent.
My family and I recommend giving these cookies a try. At first glance, they may seem quintessentially Barney–simple and sweet. Unlike Barney, however, the cookies are not overly-sweet. Instead, they are soft, pliable, and slightly complex in flavor due to the combined tang of the cream of tartar and the spice of the cinnamon. Nonetheless, when you bake this recipe, don’t be surprised to discover that your home has been transformed into an idyllic world filled with singing dinosaurs, cued laughter, and a lovey-dovey theme song that won’t leave your head . . . “I love you, you love me . . . .
In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line anytime. Let me know your thoughts and/or suggestions. I always enjoy engaging with readers.
From my home to yours, I wish you sweet baking experiences!
Gluten-free Snickerdoodles (with vegan option)
Ingredients for topping:
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Ingredients for cookies:
1 cup softened butter (You can substitute vegan butter for this if desired.)
1 ½ cup sugar
2 large eggs (You can substitute with *flegg.)
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose, gluten free flour
2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
If using flegg, mix first, and set aside.
Mix sugar and cinnamon together, and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Mix in egg, vinegar, and vanilla, scraping down sides as needed, until creamed well.
Add in cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt until well blended.
Mix in flour, a cup at a time, until dough forms.
Using tablespoon, or cookie scoop, scoop out small amount of dough, and roll into balls
Roll each ball in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on the prepared cookie sheet.
If you prefer a flatter, crisper cookie, flatten each dough ball with a spoon, otherwise for fluffier, more soft cookies, leave as is.
Bake 8-12 minutes, depending upon how soft you prefer your cookies.
Allow cookies to cool 2-4 minutes on pan before removing to a cooling rack.
Store cookies in an airtight container.
*flegg=egg substitute: Per egg, mix 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water. Set in refrigerator 15-20 prior to mixing dough