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Perfect Snickerdoodles.

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For the last few years, an ambitious group of people from church have gotten together and baked what feels like a thousand dozens cookies to put together fancy Christmas cookie trays for the elderly people in our church.
The best way to spread Christmas cheer might be singing loud for all to hear (yes, I just watched Elf)… but a plate of several dozen home-baked-with-love Christmas cookies does just the same. Their faces literally light up.
Of course, to gather the number of cookies we need, this usually means a week of solid baking. It’s like a relay race, but in the kitchen. It’s frantic and epic and legendary and we nearly always run out of flour and gain at least three pounds, but in the end… it’s worth it. So worth it.

Our dining room table last weekend. Between the three of us we baked about 35 dozen cookies.

35 dozen.

And what you don’t see is all the cookies piled on our kitchen counters.

Not to mention the chocolate fudge, frosted sugar cookies, double chocolate sprinkle cookies, Oreo truffles, and Scottish shortbread.
Before I take a much needed nap, there’s one recipe I have to share with you. To me, snickerdoodles are just fancy sugar cookies, rolled in cinnamon and sugar. But since making a batch of these in November, they’ve been requested not once, but three separate times. I’ve never seen a plate of cookies clear out so fast and honestly, I’m baffled.
The only thing I can figure out is that unlike a lot of snickerdoodle recipes, this recipe calls for both granulated and powdered sugar. They come out plump and crispy and soft- but not too soft- on the inside. In other words… they’re kind of perfect. Enjoy!
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup salad oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar & 1 tablespoon cinnamon for rolling cookies in
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Beat together butter, salad oil, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and eggs. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Slowly beat flour mixture into the butter mixture.
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, then roll each in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place balls 3 to 4 inches apart on baking sheet. With a flat-bottomed glass dipped in cinnamon-sugar, flatten each ball to about 1/4-inch.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned. Cool and then serve.
Source: Sunset, 1998.

On average, two restaurants a week closed in the year to the end of March, including casual dining chains, as well as upmarket and independent establishments, according to the latest data from analysts CGA and corporate advisory firm AlixPartners. Graeme Smith, the managing director of AlixPartners, said he expected restaurant numbers to continue to drop throughout the year as large chains in particular slim down. There have already been high-profile closures by burger chain Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, the Prezzo Group and Sir Terence Conran’s Albion restaurants, but more large chains and independents are expected to suffer. “It’s easy to say this is a crisis in casual dining,” said Peter Martin at CGA. “This is a crisis happening for everyone.” Restaurants are suffering because the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote has made ingredients more expensive while staff costs have risen, partly due to increases in the minimum wage. Economic uncertainty has stalled growth in the sector just as competition has increased after a surge in openings partly fuelled by private equity investment.

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