My Life as a Man

It was late Saturday morning, Memorial Day weekend, and we were at all home, puttering. The kids were upstairs doing their thing, and Jenny was at the kitchen table, her face buried in her MacBook. I opened the refrigerator, and then the freezer.

“We have any butter?” I asked.

Jenny looked up. “Why?”

“I think I’m gonna make some snickerdoodles with the girls,” I said.

“No, you’re not,” she said.


“You can’t make snickerdoodles,” she said. She actually looked serious about this. “And you definitely can’t write about it.”

“What are you talking about?” I said.

“Snickerdoodles?” God, just the way she pronounced the word: chilling. “I just can’t let you do that. Too emasculating.”

I’m not going to get too deep into the subtext here, or any latent impressions Jenny may or may not have about men who bake — let alone bake snickerdoodles — but let’s just say it felt a little like the person I love very much and with whom I have had two children, was calling my sh#t out. Like, seriously? A guy wants to do something fun with the kids on a sleepy Saturday morning, and he gets hazed by his wife? The thing is, there’s a lot you do as a parent — or, okay, as a father of two daughters — that carries an unmistakable whiff of the surrender-monkey to it. Printing out and memorizing the lyrics to Lady Gaga’s new single: that would definitely be one of those things. Enduring Ryan Seacrest in silence: yup. Nursing a lifelong grudge against musical theater and yet pretending, without complaint, to be Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music when it is called for*. Getting a (small, cute) dog and naming it Iris. Applying toenail polish (no smudges!) in rainbow colors on one tiny foot, and then doing the other tiny foot in the opposite color progression. Over the past several years, I’ve done all those things and so, so much worse and — apologies in advance to all the bros out there who may be reading this — the truth is, I never really gave any of it a second thought. Don’t you kind of check your manly bona fides at the door when you have kids? I mean, isn’t that part of the point?

Given all this, was making a batch of cookies so bad?

“Yeah, I don’t know,” she said. “I don’t think I can be married to a guy who makes snickerdoodles.”

She is now married to a guy who makes snickerdoodles.

These were the cookies I loved most as a kid. They’re all cake-y and buttery, with that 360-degree dusting of crunchy, sugary crystals on top; they always reminded me of cinnamon toast, only better. I’m not sure where my mom’s original recipe comes from — it’s hand-written, in her cursive, on a recipe card so old and well-used that it’s practically translucent with butter grease — but I’m guessing it’s something classic, like Fanny Farmer or The Joy of Cooking. It’s got that simple, no-frills quality to it. And look, if I have to butch these things up a little to please Jenny, I will: if it makes you feel better, you can think of snickerdoodles as the Ford F150 of cookies. They’re solid, sturdy, reliable. Strong! Not dainty. They’re not gonna win any fancypants awards, they’re too humble to get you the girl, but they’re also not going to let you down, either. There’s a certain underdog quality to them, for sure. If you want bells and whistles, you won’t find ’em here. But if you want something that works…

Anyway. You get the idea, and I’m done justifying. Abby and I made these on Saturday morning, when Jenny left the house to (one imagines) go smoke a cigar and watch some ultimate fighting, and we had a blast. Lots of butter, lots of sugar, lots of butter melting into that sugar, lots of very tasty batter to feast on as you go. We made a beautiful mess with our electric mixer, the power tool of choice for the under-8 set. Jenny liked them so much, she had to pour water over them and throw them away two days later to stop herself from binging on them. (Every time she ate one, she would say, “Ugh, why did you do this to me?”) This is 100% true, by the way. She ruined the cookies because she loved them too much. So who’s the wimp now? — Andy

*It was called for.


Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, mix together:

1 cup softened unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a separate bowl, sift together:

2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Gradually mix in the dry mixture to the wet mixture until it’s all blended. Wrap dough in parchment paper and chill for about one hour in freezer.

Remove dough from freezer and form round balls of dough the size of small walnuts. Roll balls in mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (the key!).

Bake for 8 minutes and cool on a rack. Makes 5 dozen 2-inch cookies.

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Major, major props. I love snickerdoodles. And I loved singing the entire score to the Wizard of Oz with my dad when I was a kid. Almost as much as I enjoy it now, 25 years later.


I love that she ruined the remainder of the cookies.
Snickerdoodles are the best cookie around! I love them.

Lisa (This Little Piggy)

Very funny post. We have 4 year old twins and we joke that Dad is their fashion stylist – he is much better than me. Not got him on cookie baking yet, but there’s hope. Must try them on my little Yanks, I grew up in the UK so never had them. Thanks for the recipe. LOVE this blog!


Jenny, what is wrong with you?! My husband would get some major props for *baking cookies*… I would not dream of complaining or discouraging him.


Tell Jenny the next time she has the urge to ruin some buttery sugary yummy cookies, she should box them up and send them to me instead. Shocking!

I have some great photos of my husband sporting every barrette, hair clip and headband that our then 5 year old daughter owned. A dad’s gotta do what a dad’s gotta do.


i’m a girl who was gotten by a Ford F-150! and your version of these cookies look so good, but i actually can’t bring myself to say the name of them, because i hate the name so much (and find it misleading–when i’d first heard of them, i thought they were more Snickers-y; i assumed caramel and peanuts were involved). but now i want to make these. Sea salt: Hmmph!


Priceless! I am now printing this out and forcing my husband to read it for weekend activity inspiration!


Hooray for you! My husband, who is also Dad to two girls, has done many of the mentioned things as well as other girly activities. Dads of little girls get extra-manly credit in my book! The need it to survive the level of hormones in the house at any given moment. =)


Andy- Great post (bro!). As a dad of 2 girls, I’m feelin you on this. We do what we gotta do. Sometimes hard to distinguish btwn surrender monkey and just having fun with the kiddos on their level. More power to you.


Great post! Nothin’ wrong with a cookie-making husband, mine can sometimes even plan ahead and get butter out to soften (he claims its more precise than using the microwave…).


This post made me giggle. While we have no children, your story reminded me of the many places and things my dad had to endure with me, the only girl and the baby to boot. No I have a wonderful hubby who complains about having his guy card revoked if he’s caught in Hobby Lobby (or the like), but he goes along any way.


These are my dad’s favorite cookies and the recipe I use is out of a book called The Wellesley Cookie Exchange and their version uses cream of tartar in the batter.

Don Vito Corleone

A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.


Love snickerdoodles, and admire a man who makes them. We make them often, sometimes with cream of tartar, sometimes without, and I still don’t understand the function of the cream of tartar, or the difference it makes. Anybody know?


Clearly Jenny and I need to talk. I would fall over backwards if my husband suggested making . . . ANYTHING with my children. Snickerdoodles sound divine!

Right now I’m off to throw water on last night’s brownies so I can give these a try.


Oh how I wish for a man that cooks full stop. Cooks Snickerdoodles, heaven help me! I only tasted Snickerdoodles in my twenties, but my reason is that I’m in Australia and they’re not a common choice.


I would have a heart attack if my husband attempted this with my son – keep it up!! What you did totally rocks.




This had me laughing so hard! Not only are snickerdoodles my favorite cookie, but my husband is the father to two very girly girls. Kudos to all the fathers out there who are involved in their daughters’ lives. Last night my husband had our 4-year old “Flipping Fish”- his fun term for dredging Tilapia, which she still can’t pronounce 🙂


This struck a chord for the following reason!
-Great, funny post…
-My husband and I debate periodically as to whether these are called “cinnamon-sugar cookies” (his) or “snickerdoodles (mine). Apparently, someone figured he couldn’t say the word when he was a kid (as if cinnamon is easy)but he has very fond memories of cinnamon-sugar cookies and will admit that they really do taste surprisingly similar to snickerdoodles. He will not concede that they are in fact the very same cookie.
-I hate the word snickerdoodles
-My husband is also a father to two girls
-There are times when I feel I need to collect my husband’s man card as a result of witnessing interactions between him and my daughters but then I think, “hey, they’re all perfectly happy” and it beats him coming up with what he thinks are innocent activities such as “hey, we’re dancing already, why not let them dance on the table!”…”um, because honey, it’s dangerous and it’s not dancing on a table, it’s a table dance”…


just read this and had my husband read it as well- we have a 3 month old daughter. I’m sure there will be many snickerdoodle moments in our future. great post, it had us laughing so hard we almost woke the baby.


Andy – you are spot on. My brother-in-law’s each have three girls. They do many “unmanly” things on a daily basis but their girls love them for it and don’t know any different.

bev bowers

love your book! And snicker doodles were my always go to for school cookie sales! Yummy but my recipe had 1 tsp cream of tarter and no need for refrig time…any reasons for that?


Love this post. My kids are almost helpless to the power of the Snickerdoodle – like paperclips to a magnet. The first thing they are attracted to at the bakery. Can’t wait to make these. Wish my husband had the desire to bake with the kids. Someday…maybe?


I got my snickerdoodle recipe from the grandma helper who spent mornings in my kindergarten class tying shoes and feeding the kids cookies at recess. And as for Jenny, sometimes you have to force your hand. I’m sure she’ll adapt.


Such a funny post, I made these today and they’re great! Just wanted to point out that the recipe states to heat the oven at the beginning, but midway through to freeze the dough. Not a big deal I just turned it off and reheated the oven, but I figured I’d point it out in case others make these (delicious) cookies!


We made these snickerdoodles tonight to pass out to our neighbors this weekend and wow they were delicious. Thank for the inspiration!


I make snickerdoodles regularly (my husband loves them…and our daughter, who he still thinks he will turn into a tomboy – ha!) but I haven’t tried sea salt on the outside. I am definitely doing that next time. And my husband will disown me for messing with yet another classic recipe! Ah well, maybe this time I’ll actually get to eat more than one 😉


How do these cookies puff up if no cream of tartar? I made them last week and followed the recipe exactly. Came out totally flat like sugar cookies. No height at all to them. Tasty but disappointing.


Four and a half years later and this is still my cookie recipe of choice. Making them for the billionth time tonight. Thanks!