A long long time ago, in a far away place called Starbucks, I ordered a snickerdoodle cookie. You can imagine my surprise when I bit into the over-sized morsel and didn’t find any Snickers. “What the hell is a snickerdoodle then?”
I now know that snickerdoodle means cinnamon, not Snickers. As to what the word snickerdoodle has to do with cinnamon I still have no idea, and apparently nobody else can decide either. But things with random, seemingly obscure names are typically fun, and in this case tasty.
My first exploration into this simple sugar and cinnamon combination was prompted by the James Beard awards. The James Beard Foundation recently held the award nominations in the dining room of the Oregon Culinary Institute (where I go to school). For the students this meant a cooking contest. No, I didn’t enter it, but I thought about it. I probably should have but I was a little intimidated being that I still haven’t set foot in an actual culinary classroom. Plus we could only make so many changes and I wanted to make it vegan, which would have required too many changes in total. Anyway, I came across a James Beard recipe for snickerdoodle cake. One word: scrumptious. It wasn’t necessarily photo-worthy however, so you’ll just have to make it yourself to see how it looks.
The snickerdoodle quickly found its way back into my oven just a couple weeks later. As some of you know, we have a cookie jar that has a perpetual problem of running out of cookies [insert husband]. Whenever the cookie situation gets dire I run to my cookie cook book and pick out something that looks good but, most importantly, doesn’t require any trips to the store (I hate last minute dashes to the grocery store). The Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodle was the chosen one. Some might think cayenne and cinnamon shouldn’t necessarily go together but they honestly worked extremely well together. These cookies had just the right amount of kick, and the texture was awesome too (and I even left most of the oil out).
I made cupcakes for the Bakesale for Japan fundraiser that was happening across the nation last Saturday, April 2nd. I had a bunch of ideas bouncing around in my head but I had been wanting to turn the snickerdoodle into a cupcake for quite some time. With French vanilla buttercream. And caramel in the middle. The French vanilla made it (which smelled just like birthday cake – I had no idea). The caramel, sadly, did not [insert laziness]. In my defense I made 4 batches of cupcakes that day, one twice because I screwed it up, so maybe I wasn’t necessarily lazy, just overly cupcaked.
Snickerdoodle Cupcakes (vegan)
Preheat the ole oven to 350. Line muffin pan with liners.
- 1 cup almond or soy milk
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Whisk the vinegar and milk together and set it aside to curdle.
- 1 & 1/4 cup organic unbleached flour (or a combo of wheat & unbleached)
- 2 T cornstarch
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 T cinnamon*
Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside.
- 1/3 cup canola oil (non-gmo)
- 3/4 cup organic sugar (or a combo of sugar and agave)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
Combine the wet ingredients, including the now curdled milk, in a large mixing bowl a and mix until well emulsified. Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated, but don’t over-mix. Fill liners about 2/3’s full.
- 1 tsp organic sugar
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Blend the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and sprinkle over each soon-to-be cupcake. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes rest for about 5 minutes after they’re done and then transfer to a cooling rack, or put them in the fridge if you feel the need to frost them ASAP.
French Vanilla Buttercream
- 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegan stick margarine (room temperature)
- 1/2 non-hydrogenated shortening
- 3 – 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup almond or soy milk
- 1 & 1/2 tsp French Vanilla extract
Cream the margarine and shortening together. It’s important to do this well or you’ll have chunks of pure fat sitting idly in your frosting. Add the milk, extract and 3 cups of the sugar and mix well. Add more sugar if needed to reach the desired consistency – if you’re piping the frosting on you want it to be a bit thick or it won’t hold its form.
Place the frosting in the fridge for 10 minutes or so before piping it onto the cupcakes to ensure it’s set enough to not get all sloppy after all your hard work. Make sure the cupcakes are totally cool before frosting them. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and place part of a cinnamon stick in the middle if you like.
* These were really good but I thought there might be just a tad too much cinnamon in them. Try reducing the cinnamon from 1/2 T to 1 tsp the first go round and see what you think.