The New Snickerdoodle in Town

By Hip Torres

By

Hip Torres
Elaine Townsend breaks open her snickerdoodle to reveal its creamy custard filling
Elaine Townsend breaks open her snickerdoodle to reveal its creamy custard filling

When was the last time you squealed for joy after taking a bite out of a snickerdoodle? As a genre, the snickerdoodle is nothing but a sugar cookie thinly disguised with leavening, cinnamon, and a cutie-pie name. At Chicago’s Fat Rice Bakery, Elaine Townsend dropkicks that cookie has-been into the culinary present with a creamy, salty egg yolk custard filling. It’s kind of a big deal. 
 
Born in Los Angeles to a Filipino family, Townsend recently left Meadowood in Napa to take over the pastry program at Fat Rice, where she gets to incorporate Asian ingredients near and dear to her palate. The snickerdoodle transformation was inspired by dim sum-style, egg yolk-filled steam buns. “My philosophy is to make food that I want to eat,” says Townsend.
 
To make the filling, she cures duck eggs in a sugar-salt mixture for 48 hours, bakes and grates them, and then blends the yolks with butter, powdered sugar, cornstarch, milk powder, salt, and coconut milk. She encases frozen scoops of the custard in cookie dough that’s laced and coated with Ceylon tea sugar. The tea imparts just the right amount of subtlety, according to Townsend, and it gives the cookie a beautiful speckle. (Buh-bye cinnamon!)

Warmed up to order, the center oozes out after the first bite—after which you’ll be hooked on the new snickerdoodle in town. 

Get the recipe for Townsend's Ceylon Snickdoodle

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