You know what I hate? Funks! Slumps, ruts, moods, bad days. However you spin it, I'm just not a fan. Based on the state of my twenty-four-year-old life right now, I understand why I'm so susceptible to these intense emotional stretches. Starting a new job, becoming a city dweller, solo apartment living, boy drama, loneliness, friends moving--all notable, important experiences, but when compounded on top of one another, they often lead me to beg the question "What the heck am I doing?"
In existential moments like these, I find that there is only one remedy for pulling me out of my head and bringing me back down to earth. Yes, activities like running, reading, and binge watching cute cat videos on Youtube all have their merits, but, for me, nothing hits the spot like baking cookies to the sounds of a specially curated mood boosting playlist (think equal parts early 2000's hip hop, Motown, easy listening indie, classic rock, and "bad" radio pop hits).
I don't know what it is about baking cookies relative to other types of baked goods that instills such calm in me. Maybe its the prospect of consuming excessive spoonfuls of raw dough. Or the simple act of of rolling, scooping, and shaping. Or the limitless styles, flavors, and techniques. Whatever the reason, or a combination there of, all I know is that after baking off a batch of cookies, life just feels a little less complicated. More often than not, I don't even tend to eat too much of the final product (I've always found the ritual more gratifying than the cookies themselves), except in the case of these cardamom currant snickerdoodles.
I discovered this recipe last year in the midst of Christmas baking season and given my minimal experience with snickerdoodles decided to give it a whirl. The process couldn't be easier and the final product is a fun riff on the cinnamon-spiked classic. The cardamom lends a gorgeous spice and warmth to the cookie, while the currants add just a slight pop of sweetness. Since the cookies only bake for about 8-9 minutes, they maintain a super doughy, almost fudgy texture that is insanely addicting. I use one tablespoon scoop to measure out the cookie dough into bite size rounds, but you could easily double that if you're more partial to a large, personal size snickerdoodle.
As my parents and friends keep reminding me, life is hard. Transitions are hard. Newness is hard. But with good cookies and good music around, things really do begin to feel much much sweeter.
Cardamom Currant Snickerdoodles
Adapted from Five and Spice (Food 52)
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (as fresh as possible)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried currants
3 tablespoons granulated sugar (for cookie coating)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (for cookie coating)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the sugars, flour, 1 tsp cardamom, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
Whisk the eggs into the melted butter, then stir in the vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients and the currants into the flour mixture, stirring just long enough for everything to come together into a dough.
Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cardamom for coating. Take out the chilled dough. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out balls of dough, roll in your palms until smooth, and then roll each ball in the sugar coating until covered. Place onto parchment lined cookie sheets with about 2 inches of space in between them.
Bake for 8-9 minutes until they turn golden and slightly cracked on the top. Transfer immediately to a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
Yield: A bit over 2 dozen