Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Meeting the new neighbors...and Snickerdoodles.

Like I said in some of my previous posts...J has been traveling quite a bit for work this month.  On the first of his work trips this month, I thought I would be productive and make myself a little to do list.  One of the most difficult and hated chores around our house is washing the couch cushions.  Like, removing the external couch cushion cover, washing it, and putting it back on.  It's just damn near impossible.  Anyway, after fighting at length with the couch cushions and getting them in the washer, I decided it was time to take the recycling out.  Wearing J's bathrobe.  Slightly sweaty from the couch cushion project.  At noon.

We hadn't been in the house very long just yet...maybe two weeks...and had not yet thought to hide a spare key.  The side door to our house locks automatically if it's set a certain way...and of course it was set to lock automatically while I was outside in J's bathrobe and some gold gladiator sandals.  Of COURSE.  So I look at the dogs, looking at me, through the door...go around back hoping that I left the back door unlocked (knowing this would not be the case).  Of course it was locked.  All of the doors were.  I was locked out...no phone, no car keys, and J was on a plane to Las Vegas for work.  We hadn't met our next door neighbors quite yet, but I realized it was my only option!

I knocked on the door, still slightly sweaty, still wearing a bathrobe and gladiator sandals.  "Hi, I'm your new neighbor...I'm so sorry, but I've locked myself out and I was hoping to use your phone."  The older gentleman who answered the door was so sweet and ushered me inside.  He and his wife were making turkey and brie sandwiches after a long bike ride.  His wife came out and said "Oh, bless your heart!  What a way to meet the neighbors!"  I explained that my husband was on a plane and I needed to call a locksmith.  They got me a glass of mango tea and told me about their worldy travels...they love to vacation in Italy and all over the world.  They have been married for 47 years, since they were 17 and 19 years old.  After chatting with them for over an hour, the locksmith finally showed up.  My neighbor insisted on staying with me until I was safely inside the house.

A situation that is now humorous, and at the time so extremely embarrassing, could have been so much worse...but thanks to my wonderful neighbors it was truly not so bad.  I honestly could not think of a better place to wait for the locksmith and I was so incredibly grateful for their hospitality.

To show my gratitude, I decided I would bake them cookies the following weekend.  I wanted to do a new recipe and we had everything to make snickerdoodles...so I went for it.  They were seriously amazing!  They were some of the best snickerdoodles I have ever had, and I have had plenty of snickerdoodles.  The recipe I used is below (from Smitten Kitchen).


Makes three dozen 3 to 4-inch cookies.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 400°, with one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third of oven.  Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.

Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Add eggs, and beat to combine.  Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine.  I always chill my cookie dough for an hour or two before scooping it onto the trays.  If you leave it in the fridge for awhile it's easier to work with and the cookies stay puffier.

Once dough has chilled, in a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Use a small ice-cream scoop to form balls of the dough, and roll in cinnamon sugar.  Place about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.  Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after five minutes.  Enjoy!

Since this recipe makes 3 dozen cookies, J and I ended up with 2 dozen.  I feel like anything less than a dozen cookies for a neighbor is not enough, but anything more is too much.  They stayed yummy in the fridge for over a week!

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