Poor Randy

April 4, 2011

One of the great joys of having children is reading childrens’ books.  When we found out I was pregnant with Graham, we each bought our favorite from our childhood to start our baby’s collection.  Randy bought Where the Wild Things Are and I bought Madeline.  Having two boys, we have read the former much more often than the latter.

In addition to all the ones I know and love from my childhood, we have been introduced to so many new classics.  There is Knuffle Bunny (by the same author as Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! – another favorite), How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, Too Many Toys, and so many others.  Some of them are pure sweetness, others make me laugh.  One in particular, Bad Kitty, is hilarious.  A cat-owning family runs out of cat food and using the alphabet, describes all the healthy food that they bought for the kitty (asparagus, beets, cauliflower, dill).  Then, again using the alphabet, it goes through all the terrible things the cat does in anger (ate my homework, bit Grandma, clawed the curtains, devoured my new book).  Lo and behold, the family buys the right kind of food (an assortment of anchovies, buffalo burrito, chicken cheesecake, a donkey named Dave), and Bad Kitty does all kind of nice things (apologized to Grandma, bought me new toys, cleaned her cat box, drove me to school).  It is well illustrated and really funny.

We also have Poor Puppy by the same author.  All Poor Puppy wants to do is play with Bad Kitty who won’t have anything to do with him, so he dreams of around the world adventures and games he will someday play with his feline pal (quoits in Qatar for example).  Throughout the book the phrase “poor puppy” is repeated many time.  Poor poor poor puppy.

Why on Earth am I talking about this book and showing your photos of Snickerdoodles and the cookie jar from my childhood?  Randy has been in a “poor Randy” phase for the past couple of days.  This happens sometimes when I am really busy with cooking.  Just this past weekend, I catered two parties and taught two brunch classes.  In 48 hours.  Poor Randy says things like, “You cook for all these other people, why not for me?” or – my favorite – “Why are there no cookies in the cookie jar?  You used to always have cookies in the cookie jar.”  Poor Randy.  Poor poor poor Randy.

So in between the loading and unloading of my car, the set-up and take down of two parties, and the clean-up and destruction of my kitchen, I made these cookies.  Snickerdoodles were always a favorite in my house growing up.  I’m not sure how something that looks so unassuming can taste so good but they do.  My sister-in-law gave us some last weekend and they were perfect.  Soft, cakey, not too sweet, and lots of cinnamon.  She found this gem on All Recipes and this is now my go-to for Snickerdoodles.  I tinkered with the method a bit and with the baking time and temp, but otherwise, I give all credit to Mrs. Sigg – whoever she may be.

One Year Ago: Swiss Chard Tart with Goat Cheese, Currants, and Pine Nuts
Two Years Ago: Spicy Sweet Potatoes with Lime

Mrs. Sigg’s Snickerdoodles
Adapted from All Recipes
Makes about 48

I didn’t feel like forming 48 cookies, so I made mine much larger and got about 24.

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup vegetable shortening
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2¾ cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Beat the eggs in one at a time, scraping down the bowl as necessary.  Add the vanilla and beat one minute.  Add the flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt and mix until combined well.

Mix the two tablespoons of sugar with the 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.  Using a tablespoon (or a soup spoon) scrape out bits of dough and roll into balls.  Roll the balls in the sugar mixture and place on a baking sheet at least 2 inches apart.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard.  Remove immediately from baking sheets and cool on a rack.


  1. One of these days I’ve got to make snickerdoodles – well, a successful version. I love your cookie jar and I never let not having kids stop me from reading kids books. Last night I just read The Phantom Tollbooth for the first time ever – definitely a good boy book!

    Comment by kickpleat — April 4, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

  2. Reading this makes me smile. Poor husbands :) We have a large collection of children books. I loved reading to them when they were small. Now I am saving the books for when they have their own.

    Comment by Helene — April 4, 2011 @ 11:20 pm

  3. Awww Randy is jealous! Cute! At least he knows how to work his jealousy to get the most out of it. Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookies. Cinnamon, sugar, and butter are just addictive when paired together.

    I love Madeline. Definitely one of my favorite childhood books!

    Comment by Joanne — April 4, 2011 @ 11:47 pm

  4. I have been reading your blog regularly for over a year now, and, despite your moving posts on motherhood, your children and vegetarianism, this is what has finally compelled me to comment: snickerdoodles (and childrens’ books). The ultimate recipe, I think, comes from Shuna Lydon, via simplyrecipes.com. The cornstarch seems to be the key in that well written recipe. Those snickerdoodles have the perfect texture, crisp edges and chewy interior, and look just as you would expect a snickerdoodle to look had it come from one of those trendy, yet homey bakeries that keep popping up.

    As for books, Madeline is not a favorite of mine, although my 2 and 4 year olds both love it. It sort of creeps me out, actually, at least the version we have: Madeline’s Rescue, where Madeline is rescued from “certain death” (drowning in the Seine) by a dog who is later kicked out of the orphanage by the inspectors. Poor little orphan girls standing at attention next to their institutional beds, while the fancily dressed inspectors (with names like Lord Cucuface) inspect. And trying to explain to my 4 yo the concept of an orphanage freaks us both out. My favorites tend to be the sillier books, like the Morris the Moose and Strega Nona series.

    Thank you for keeping such a thoughtful blog with reliable, worthwhile recipes.

    Comment by Jennifer — April 5, 2011 @ 5:07 am

  5. Our new favorite book is Bumpus Jumpus Dinosaurumpus by Tony Mitton – we love most of his books. And I’ll have to give those snickerdoodles a try. I made your apple cake on Saturday for my poor man and we both love it. (the boy decided not to eat it because it had apples in it – sigh)

    Comment by Charlotte — April 5, 2011 @ 5:20 am

  6. I love the book Zen Shorts — it is beautifully illustrated and very sweet. Runny Babbit, by Shel Silverstein is a fun one to read aloud.

    Comment by Anna — April 5, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

  7. I have no idea how you did all that in 48 hours. You are clearly a rock star, and I mean that!!

    Comment by elizabeth / sophisticated pie — April 6, 2011 @ 5:02 am

  8. I love David Melling’s books, a girlfriend of mine (I am Ducth, so is she)is married to an American and they have little boy. So I gave dad “Just like my Dad” and gave her “Net als mijn mama” (guess what that means!). The pictures are cute in both languages :-)

    Any suggestions for a substitute for cream of tartar? I have baking soda and baking powder but no CoT.

    Comment by Inka — April 6, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  9. I know these days as Poor Ed days!

    “Why are you taking that to work? You haven’t baked for me in ages.”

    “Why do you always bake things with nuts in them, I like chocolate better.”

    Funny about WTWTA – I just bought this book 10 minutes ago for a new baby boy!

    Comment by Hilary — April 6, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

  10. Randy will now be happy:D

    Comment by bellini — April 6, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

  11. You are a superwoman! Doing all that you do + make delicious cookies! Wish I had your energy!

    Comment by Suzanne — April 7, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  12. I have made these cookies twice now in almost as many days. The first time I made larger cookies because I didn’t feel like shaping 48 cookies. Well, the cookies disappeared so fast I should have just been patient and made 48 :) I made them again this weekend at DH’s request. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

    Comment by Kathy — April 11, 2011 @ 2:20 am

  13. I LOVE the cookie jar you have on your blog.
    can you tell me where you bought it?
    and I WILL be making your cookies.. they look so good.
    its a rainy saturday and its a perfect afternoon to make some!

    Comment by anna — April 22, 2012 @ 12:00 am

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