I discovered an underground Bakery the other day. Just outside the city centre and over the highway, in a quiet residential neighborhood obscured by trees, birds and strollers a small sign pointed to a narrow alley. A fragrant Rosemary bush signaled we were there. Through the gate and up the stairs, in an old and rundown tiny apartment that had been converted into a makeshift bakery, Nina welcomed me with a warm and kind smile. The sourdough starter lays heavy in the corner as a variety of loafs were proofing, baking and cooling. Everything here was made with love, attention, care and modesty.
She was busy making bread for Friday morning, but had stopped kneading and showed me around. She began a year ago from her kitchen oven and has now spread to the apartment next door. She was the right person at the right time realigning me; it’s all about a screaming passion and a raging need to create.
These are the kind of surprises I have grown used to from Tel Aviv; underground kitchens that emerge from a raging passion and a local thirst for a quality underground.
I did some baking myself this week. Snickerdoodles are old fashioned seasonal cookies that date back to the 18th century, probably of German or Dutch origins.
They are incredibly simple to make and are essentially a cake trapped in cookie’s body.
Adapted from the Joy of Baking
(makes about 32 cookies)
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 Tsp salt
2 Tsp baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
In a bowl beat the butter and sugar until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.
If the dough is soft, cover and refrigerate until firm enough to roll into balls, about an hour.
Preheat oven to 190°C and place rack in the center of the oven.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Once the dough has chilled combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Using a small ice-cream scoop, form balls of the dough, and roll in cinnamon sugar.
Roll the balls of dough in the cinnamon sugar and place on the prepared pan, spacing about 5 cm apart.
Bake the cookies for about 8 - 10 minutes, or until they are light golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Can store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for about 10 - 14 days, but that wont be necessary.