My husband and I spent the fall of 1992 house hunting in the Chicago area as his job took us from our Boston hometown to the flatlands and cornfields of the Midwest. On our third and last house hunting trip (try finding the right house in 3 tries or less), our realtor took us out to St. Charles, IL, for a first-time look at the area. The three of us were sitting in a downtown restaurant having coffee, and Roger and I were feeling decidedly discouraged. Was this the area where we wanted to live and raise our three young children? Would we ever find the right house?
Suddenly as we sat there, we heard noise and commotion and looked out the window to see the St. Charles High School homecoming parade complete with floats carrying bales of hay, scarecrows, pumpkins, and high school students decked out in school regalia. Our realtor explained that the homecoming celebration would last all week and culminate in the annual Scarecrow Festival. The festival was a fun event where individuals as well as groups competed to build the best scarecrow exhibit which included several different categories such as children’s, whimsical, and even mechanical. Watching the parade perked both Roger and me up, and it helped sell us on St. Charles where we envisioned bringing our young children up. (In 2011, Family Circle magazine rated St. Charles as the No. 1 city in America to raise a family, so we made a very wise decision!)
Last weekend, it was Scarecrow Festival time once again; and, even though our children are all now young adults and living on their own, Roger and I decided to take advantage of a beautiful sunny afternoon and enjoy the exhibits. In the 21 years of attending the festival, we have seen a lot of funny and creative exhibits which reflect the times—from a Michael Jordan scarecrow soaring through the air to stuff the basketball to this year’s crop of exhibits featuring Despicable Me minions. When we are both retired and head back to Boston, the Scarecrow Festival will remain a very fond memory of our years living in St. Charles.
If you look closely, you’ll see that the bodies of the minions are made up of hundreds and hundreds of corn kernels!
When we got home from the festival, I was in the mood to bake something and decided on a recipe called “Fat & Fluffy Snickerdoodles.” The first time I ever had a snickerdoodle was about 35 years ago. I’d had plenty of cinnamon cookies before but had never eaten one with the distinctive snickerdoodle crisp and chewy texture, crackly top, and cinnamon-sugar coating. I immediately became a fan.
Having said that, this is not your traditional snickerdoodle recipe. It does not call for cream of tartar which is what gives snickerdoodles their well-known texture. That omission turns the regular snickerdoodle into a fat and fluffy cinnamon sugar cookie. The taste is quite similar, but the texture is quite different to the point that I have taken the liberty of renaming the recipe. The cookies reminded me of a fluffy cinnamon pillow—deliciously edible, of course—and there you have it.
One year ago: Pumpkin Blondies with Cinnamon Chips
Two years ago: Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake
Cinnamon Pillow Cookies aka Fat & Fluffy Snickerdoodles
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tbl. milk
- 1/4 cup sugar + 1 tsp. cinnamon for rolling
Preheat oven to 375.
Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well until combine, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix until dough comes together. Add in milk. If dough is still crumbly, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In a bowl combine remaining sugar and cinnamon. Remove dough from fridge and roll into big 1 1/2 inch balls. Dip in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on baking sheet. Lightly press down on dough to flatten it. Bake at 375o F for 9 to 10 minutes. Makes 20-22 cookies.
Source: A recipe from How Sweet It is