SMS: Snickerdoodles and Operation Baking GALS

Snickerdoodles

A batch of snickerdoodles brought to a staff meeting began my illustrious career as the workplace baker at the YMCA Childcare center. One taste of the sweet, spicy golden cookies, and the other teachers were hooked- they were impressed by my apparent flair for baking, and from that day on, I was the go-to girl for birthday cakes and all other special occasion treats. I was more than happy to undertake that role, but I always found it funny that what convinced them of my talent was one of the simplest goodies ever to emerge from my kitchen.

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A sugar cookie dressed up with a dusting of cinnamon, the snickerdoodle is composed of mere pantry ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs, and flour, and has a much fancier name than makeup. Older recipes for this classic utilize a combination of cream of tartar and baking soda as a leavening agent, which give the resulting cookie its characteristic tang, whereas more current recipes call for baking powder instead. I’ve made them both ways, and in my opinion, you can’t go wrong. Snickerdoodles are deliciously addictive and it’s hard to eat just one!

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Though the etymology is debatable, the name “snickerdoodle” has been traced back to the German word “schneckennudeln.” “Schnecke” means “snail” in German, and according to “Slumps, Grunts and Snickerdoodles: What Colonial American Ate and Why” by Lila Perl, a “shnecke” was also a German name for a cinnamon pinwheel that resembles snails. The development of the name probably reflects the cookie’s history, which dates back to Nineteenth century New England, when cookies were given odd and whimsical names like Graham Jakes, Jolly Boys, Tangle Breeches, and Kinkawoodles. No matter how they were dubbed with such a quirky moniker, most would agree that “snickerdoodles” is as fun to say as they are to eat.

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In a stroke of serendipity, Spike of Spike Bakes selected snickerdoodles as this week’s pick for SMS. I had consulted The Sweet Melissa Baking Book for that very recipe recently when I was assembling my package for Operation Baking GALS. You may have noticed the special icon on the right column of my site that designates my participation in this amazing charitable organization. Operation Baking GALS is a group of volunteer bakers from all across the country who come together each month to collectively send homemade goodies to troops currently deployed overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a fantastic way to show our support and give these brave men and women a little piece of home.

After my first three rounds of baking, I was inspired to take on a leadership role by organizing a bonus team with a unique mission. Team Oven Loving for the Recovering was born to serve the courageous soldiers who are recuperating from injury at the Army Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. My heart ached for the pain (both physical and emotional) they face every day, but I knew that the wonderful Baking GALS volunteers could help lift their spirits by sending along their thoughtful and delicious care packages. By working with Command Master Chief Wendy Fischer and head Baking GAL Lyndsay Leybold, we developed a plan and a partnership, and I have been proud to lead this extraordinary team for the last 4 rounds of baking. Our packages are incorporated into a special Friday night program, where the soldiers and their families come together to share a delicious home-style meal, ending with cookies and treats galore. I recently received a letter from the Command Master Chief expressing their deep appreciation for our generous contribution, but in truth, it has been my honor and privilege to bake for these admirable soldiers and their families. Operation Baking GALS and Team Oven Loving for the Recovering hold a permanent place in my heart, and I am looking forward to continuing my work with this exceptional organization. If you’re interested in more information or getting involved, please feel free to get in touch with me either right here in the comments section of my blog or via email at joy.d.saunders@gmail.com. And for a little inspiration, here’s a look at the 20+ dozen cookies I’ve sent so far! 🙂

Baking GALS collage 1Baking GALS collage 2Baking GALS collage 3Baking GALS collage 4Baking GALS collage 5 revised

Thanks again, Spike, for selecting the delectable snickerdoodles– I’m sure they were a hit with the soldiers! Head on over to Spike Bakes for the recipe if you’d like to give them a try!

Joy Heart 2

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28 responses

  1. Wow thats a ton of good looking cookies! What a great thing you have done for our soldiers and their families! I know they appreciate it!
    I agree you can’t go wrong with snickerdoodles. They are so good and easy to make. Yours look wonderful!

  2. Wow I’m glad that someone else does something for the soldiers as well. Often times, I put on a service project with the club that I’m in baking cookies for the soldiers deployed. The organization that I bake with is the Soldiers’ Angels’ Bakers. Although the program that I’m in already requires a lot, I was wondering if you could give me some information about the Operation GALS. Thanks!

  3. Hi Joy! Your cookies look terrific! Looks like you’ve got a great coating of the cinnamon-sugar mixture!

    How nice of you to bake such wonderful treats for the soldiers. I’m sure it’s greatly appreciated!

  4. I really loved reading your post. My grandmother used to call me “snickerdoodle,” so I have had a soft spot in my heart for the term (and the cookies). I also loved reading about your work with the Baking Gals. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  5. What lovely cookies, and how wonderful of you to send these to soldiers. I would love to know more about yours GALS team. I’m familiar with operation Baking GALS but the logistics of sending the cookies overseas has always sort of intimidated me.

  6. Joy, your doodles look delicious!!! I’m sure they were devoured in a flash, Team Oven Lovin’ sounds like a great cause! And thank you as always for the lovely historical nuggets!! Now.. where can I find recipes for Graham Jakes, Jolly Boys, Tangle Breeches and Kinkawoodles??! What brilliant names, they’re definitely going on my to-do list!! (even if they turn out to be plain ol’ sugar cookies or something..!) x

  7. WOW! I’m so impressed with all of the cookies you’ve sent overseas – so great of you to do that! I loved these cookies and I’m sure I’ll be making them fairly often! 🙂 Have a great week, Joy!

  8. Good lord that’s a lot of cookies! I’ve seen the icon on a couple of sites and I think its a wonderful operation. I would love to find out more about it.

    And your snickerdoodles look wonderful- I love the cracks and crevices. They look like little cinnamon glaciers floating on top your cookies.

  9. Well, well! Your snickerdoodles look delicious!! I remember when I was a kid and I thought snickerdoodles were snickers bars in cookie form. You can imagine my sad puppy dog eyes when I found out they were just cinnamon-y sugar cookies. My little heart was broken. But not anymore. These are dangerous cookies!! I’m glad they are all gone! I pawned them off on co-workers as well 🙂

    Whew, I just made the brownie buttons last night. You can read all about it on my blog lol. It’s wayyy too much to write.

    I enjoy hearing from you! I hope you are doing fabulously!

  10. Hi Joy!
    I love the pictures on your website. You make everything look so delicious. This blogging thing has made me realize I need a new camera. : )
    Thanks for checking out my blog.
    Stephanie

  11. Congratulations on being such a great part of OBG! I’ve been unable to participate for a while, but I feel that my excuses are just that…excuses! I think your team for the recovering soldiers is a wonderful idea and I’m inspired to join you next round! I will be checking in at the OBG site for more info. Congrats again on a wonderful reason for baking some terrific cookies.

  12. Hi Joy,

    As your prime tester, I can tell you that the treats are always even better than they look, and they look FANTASTIC. It gives me such pleasure to help you to send off your baked goods to those serving our country. (By packing up the boxes). I think your organization of Team Oven Loving for the Recovering, was remarkable, and I am so glad that it has been so well received. I know how hard you worked to get it off the ground. Bravo!!

    Can’t forget to mention how much I loved the snickerdoodles… I wanted more of them to stay at home. They were so light and flavorful, and you know how much I love cinnamon!!

    Can’t wait to keep tasting!
    Love,
    Mommy

  13. Joy-
    What an excellent post! I LOVE snickerdoodles! It really is funny how such a simple cookie tastes SOO freaking good 🙂
    You should be so proud of yourself for all that you have done for our organization! You had a great idea AND you followed through with it and made it happen!! I am so glad that you joined baking gals and I value the friendship we have built from it!
    Keep up the great work my friend! I appreciate it and I know our military men and women do to!
    ~Lynds 🙂

  14. I am thrilled to become a part of your team. Are baked items the only thing we send or can we also include any other things that the soldiers might need or want? Should we send letters as well?

    I can’t wait to start.

    – Annette

  15. Hi, I emailed you this earlier in the week, and I haven’t received a response. I figured that you could see this comment and get back to me?

    I joined the group for the East coast a couple of weeks ago. It says that we need to ship by next Monday, but I haven’t gotten the address. I was wondering if I missed the email with the details on where to ship the goodies to. Also, do we use the same APO box since this is in the US vs. overseas? Thanks!

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