Books, Cooking, Food, Recipe

Eat This While You Read That: George Phillies

mistress of the wavesWhen I asked George Phillies for a dish and a book, he sent me several. So I had choices! With the juxtaposition of Christmas, traveling, and the kids to help me, I decided to go with his Snickerdoodles recipe. In a fun turn, this was a recipe you really can read while you make it, if you don’t mind cleaning a bit of sticky off your tablet screen later! I’m going to highly recommend his novel Mistress of the Waves, a fascinating look at deep world building, economies, and life in a low-tech science fiction setting that somehow manages to take all that and keep it compelling reading.

Something I hadn’t bargained for, on the other hand, since I already knew Mistress was good reading, was the fact that I would be baking in a rental cabin. I did bring all the ingredients I needed, but I didn’t think I would be in need of a bowl. Or a mixing spoon. Ah, well, I am used to improvisation! A pot works as well as a bowl. Hands and a silicone spatula work in lieu of a proper spoon.

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The improvised ‘bowl’ with butter, sugar, and eggs in it. You can see the recipe on my tablet, a handy thing to have away from home. I print them at home and make notes on the paper as I go.

George Phillies' Snickerdoodles


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • two heaping tablespoons powdered sweet cinnamon.
  • one or two packages butterscotch chips.


  • mix flour, cream of tartar salt, and baking soda
  • bring butter to room temperature. Slice to thin pats.
  • separately Mix butter, sugar and eggs
  • fold flour mixture into egg mixture. Mix very thoroughly.
  • Add butterscotch chips. mix.
  • Chill dough in refrigerator.
  • Oven to 350.
  • Mix 1/4 cup sugar. 1/12 cup powdered cinnamon. Mix thoroughly. This is the stuff in which the cookies are rolled. The amount is highly approximate.
  • Summon cookie sheets. 2-4 are good. Oven to 350
  • Roll cookie dough into 1" or so balls. roll balls in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Please balls on cookie sheets.
  • cook cookies for 11 minutes. Remove promptly from cookie sheets, because they keep cooking and become too dry.
  • Makes many cookies.
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    I wound up using one bag of butterscotch chips, that was enough. This made about 3 1/2 dozen cookies, I lost track and everyone was eating them as they came out of the oven!

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    Roll the chilled dough into balls, then roll them in a cinnamon sugar mixture. No need to flatten the balls when you put them on the cookie sheet.

    While you’re sitting there rolling the balls out and putting them in sugar, you can read at the same time on a tablet. I know, I tested it.

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    Give your cookie balls some space to spread out as they cook. I was using smaller pans than my normal, since this was a little oven.
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    As you can see, they look perfect with no smooshing needed. I could have cooked them a minute or two longer but we like chewy cookies.
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    Plateful of Christmas cookies going, going… gone!
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    My son didn’t care that they break when still warm. He wanted to nom!


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