You know how they say that many of the best recipes are born of accidents, like food unintentionally falling in the the fryer, or substituting the wrong ingredient by mistake? This isn't one of those recipes.
This recipe came about because my brain had a tantrum. I enjoyed a nice girls night with my friends last week. Dinner was a combination of what happened to be in our fridges, and it came together nicely. The girls had some vanilla ice cream and snickerdoodles for dessert. I declined. I'm not a huge dessert person, so it seems odd that those cookies stuck in my head. I've been thinking about snickerdoodles ever since. No wonder advertising is so successful, if the sight of my friends enjoying cookies could make this no-dessert-thank-you-girl crave snickerdoodles. Humpf!
Because it is juniper month at Wild Things, I decided to coat my snickerdoodles with juniper sugar rather than the usual cinnamon sugar. These cookies turned out to have all of the exterior crunch and internal chewiness you'd expect of a snickerdoodle, but they are subtly gin-tastic. I don't usually use recipes, but since snickerdoodles are a cookie with very specific characteristics, I decided to adapt the recipe of my friend Jen, of Use Real Butter.
Juniper Snickerdoodles8 oz. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs, room temp
1 tsp gin (optional but yummy)
2 3/4 c. flour or gluten-free flour blend*
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
15 -20 juniper berries
1. Cream together the butter and sugar, then mix in the eggs and gin. Continue to stir until the mixture is fluffy.
2. Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt, then stir until the ingredients pull together into a soft dough.
3. Using a mortar and pestle (or a mini food processor), grind the juniper berries with a small portion of the remaining two tablespoons of sugar. Once the juniper berries appear to be completely ground, stir into what's left of that two tablespoons of sugar.
4. Roll 1" balls of cookie dough in the juniper sugar, then evenly space them on a baking sheet, leaving room for the cookies to spread a bit. Gently press down each cookie with the bottom of a drinking glass. Don't smush them to death, just give them a bit of a head start at flattening.
5. Bake the juniper snickerdoodles at 350 degrees (F) for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges start to turn golden.
6. Cool on a rack. And if you are patient enough (don't look at me!), store the cookies in a tin for a day, and they will develop an even nicer gin-like juniper flavor.
* I eyeballed a combination of sorghum flour, rice flour, arrowroot, and a big pinch of xanthan gum.
Wild Things, and you are invited to share your favorite recipes using juniper. Just send them to email@example.com before the end of the month.