DIY Valentine’s Day Gift: Secret Message Snickerdoodles!

So, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and if you’re anything like me, you’ve either procrastinated finding a gift for way too long, or you’re flat broke (same) or both! I’ve found a quick and easy, super personalised DIY project that you can use to create a last minute Valentine’s gift for that special someone in your life.

So, what is this wonderful gift, you may ask? Snickerdoodles! But not just any snickerdoodles, these cookies have a secret message hidden inside, where you can confess your love to your other half. Snickerdoodles aren’t that well known in South Africa, but the cinnamon sugar flavours are reminiscent of pannekoek on a rainy winter’s day, and most people I’ve made these for love them immediately!

See how we made these below.

What you’ll need

For the cookies:

225g room temperature butter
150g granulated sugar (normal white sugar)
100g light brown sugar
350 g flour
1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
1tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp cinnamon (I love cinnamon, so I always add an extra pinch, but you can adjust it to your personal taste)

For the cinnamon sugar mixture:

50g granulated sugar
1 ½ tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

For the messages:

Parchment paper
Food safe pen/ ink

Let’s get cracking!

  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C. If you’re using a nonstick oven pan, spray liberally with cooking spray and set aside. If you’re old school and using a nonstick one, line your oven pan with baking- or parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixture), mix the butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Once these ingredients have gotten to know each other and incorporated fully, add in your whole egg and egg yolk, as well as the vanilla essence.
  3. In a separate smaller bowl, sift the baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and cinnamon together. Add these dry ingredients to your butter & egg mixture.
  4. Finally, add the flour in small amounts (about ¼ cup at a time) until fully incorporated.
  5. Using a spoon, scoop out about 1 – 2 tablespoons of dough at a time and roll into balls using your hands.
  6. Now, for the hidden message! Cut your parchment paper into strips (about the same size as the paper in fortune cookies) and write your secret love note using a food-safe pen. Make sure that the messages are dried completely before the next step.
  7. Are you sure your messages are completely dry? Just check again anyway!
  8. Now, take a dough ball and break it in half. Fold up your secret message and place it in the middle of one half, and cover with the other half of the dough ball. Make sure the paper doesn’t stick out anywhere and gently roll in your hands again to form a ball. Repeat with all your messages.
  9. In a small bowl, sift together the granulated sugar and cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar mixture. If you’re using the lemon zest, add this in now. (Note: Trust me on the lemon zest! It won’t make the cookies lemony, it just adds that extra note of pannekoek flavour.)
  10. Take your dough balls with the messages inside and roll them around in your cinnamon sugar mixture.
  11. Place the sugar-dusted dough balls onto the baking pan and gently press flat with the bottom of a glass. Don’t press them all the way through though, leave them about 1,5cm thick; the dough will spread out more once in the oven — so make sure to leave enough space between each cookie!
  12. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until cooked through and slightly golden. Don’t worry if they look a bit undercooked on top, the cookies harden up once cooled.
  13. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

There you have it! A low-stress recipe for delicious cookies with a hidden message inside! Just warn your special someone to break the cookies in half to get to the hidden message before eating!

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