Brown Butter Snickerdoodles and Snickerdoodle Cheesecake




It might be slightly cheating to include a cheesecake in my "week of cake" lineup this week.  However, it does have the word cake in it, so therefore it counts as cake, in my opinion.

Snickerdoodles are the cookies I remember making most frequently as a kid - second only to chocolate chip - and for as long as I can remember, I've used the snickerdoodle recipe from my orange, ragged-edged Betty Crocker cookbook.  To be honest, it's pretty much the only recipe I've used from there, but I like how the book looks on the shelf, even if I don't use it often.












Those cookies were thin and very flat, crisp but with the perfect chewiness, with that signature coating of cinnamon and sugar.  Always one of my favorites.  I even love the word snickerdoodle.

I've known that the recipe needed updating - particularly for high altitude - to yield a softer, rounder cookie.  And so I wrote up a new recipe, with all the classic elements but with a few of my own, too, like browned butter, brown sugar, buttermilk and a pinch of nutmeg.

I filed the recipe away on my computer with all the others that are waiting their turn to be baked, until one night Jamie started talking about cheesecake.  I thought of the snickerdoodle recipe and asked him what he thought of a snickerdoodle cheesecake with a cookie crust and cookie crumble on top, to which he asked, "will it be ready tonight?".











All good things take time, and so it wasn't until the weekend that I made the cheesecake, starting by mixing up the cookie dough Friday night and then baking the cookies the next morning.

With the cookies baked, I crumbled some of them to make the crust, and then worked on the filling.  If you've followed my last few cheesecake posts, you'll know that I've developed a love for the "unbaked" cheesecake, which is lighter, more mousse-like, and by far, much faster to make.

I lined the pan with some whole cookies before spreading the filling inside and topping it with the cookie crumble, and then it just needed a little time to chill before it was ready.

It was delightfully light and fluffy, with all those wonderful snickerdoodle flavors in the crust, filling and topping.  It tasted like the beginning of fall.











Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
printable

·         1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
·         1/3 cup granulated sugar
·         1/3 cup light brown sugar
·         1 egg
·         1 teaspoon vanilla
·         1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
·         1 teaspoon cream of tartar
·         1/2 (scant) teaspoon baking soda
·         1/2 teaspoon salt
·         2 tablespoons buttermilk
·         For coating the cookies: combine 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg


In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Continue to cook the butter, swirling occasionally, until nutty brown solids form.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the browned butter with the granulated and brown sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.  Add by spoonfuls to the mixing bowl, just until combined, then add enough buttermilk to moisten the dough.  Cover and chill the dough overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375.  Roll the chilled dough into balls, then coat in the sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg mixture.  Place balls 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat, and press cookies gently to flatten them slightly.

Bake for 8 - 8 ½ minutes, until the edges look set and the cookies are slightly cracked.  Immediately remove cookies from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.

Yields about 2 ½ dozen

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen





Snickerdoodle Cheesecake

Crust:
·         ¾ cup crushed snickerdoodles (about 6-8 cookies)
·         ¼ cup crushed graham crackers
·         3-4 tablespoons melted butter
·         10 whole snickerdoodles

Filling:
·         1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
·         1 envelope unflavored gelatin
·         ½ cup dark brown sugar
·         1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
·         ½ cup sour cream
·         1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
·         1 teaspoon cinnamon
·         ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Topping:
·         ½ cup roughly chopped snickerdoodles
·         1 tablespoon brown sugar
·         ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
·         ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
·         ¼ teaspoon coarse salt


For the crust:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine crushed cookies, graham crackers, and melted butter. Transfer crumbs to an 8 or 9-inch spring form pan (lined with parchment paper around the sides only) and press crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan about halfway up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely in the refrigerator while you get the filling ready.  Place the whole cookies around the sides of the pan

For the filling:
Pour 1/4 cup heavy cream into microwave-safe measuring cup. Add gelatin and whisk to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes; it will be thick and clumpy.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds to completely dissolve the gelatin.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the remaining 1 1/4 cups heavy cream and brown sugar at medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla bean paste, cinnamon and nutmeg until smooth and creamy.  Add cream cheese mixture to the whipped cream mixture and beat for several minutes until smooth and combined.  Add the gelatin mixture and beat for another minute until smooth and combined.

Spoon the filling over the crust and spread it out to the edge against the cookies lining the sides of the pan, and smooth out the top.

For the topping:
In a bowl, combine the chopped snickerdoodles, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, and sprinkle over the top of the cheesecake.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours before cutting and serving.

Yields 10 servings.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen