The perfect snickerdoodle recipe (like this one) gives you buttery cookies with crackly cinnamon and sugar tops and slightly crisp bottoms.
By Aimee Tucker
Feb 18 2017
Favorite Cookie Recipes | Snickerdoodle CookiesPhoto Credit : Aimee Seavey
When looking for a good snickerdoodle recipe, a few clicks around the internet will prove the old idiom “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies to cookie recipes as well as it does the 1980s ovens some of us are still using to bake them. Nearly every recipe I found was identical to the one in my family cookbook. Rolled in cinnamon and sugar and baked ’til their tops are puffed and crackly and their bottoms slightly crisp, it seems that snickerdoodle cookies are a classic that need no improvement.
Ever wondered about the history of snickerdoodle cookies? Unfortunately, it’s an unsolved mystery. Although snickerdoodles are often thought of as a New England treat, I could find no concrete link tying the cookies to our fair region. Additionally, The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink describes them as “a New England cookie made with flour, nuts, and dried fruit.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had a snickerdoodle with anything chunky in it. Snickerdoodle recipes as we now know them begin appearing in cookbooks during the early 20th century, but nearly identical cookies with different names (like jumbles) go back much further. After all, snickerdoodles are basically just a buttery sugar cookie with a flavorful spice addition — in this case, cinnamon.
And what about the word “snickerdoodle” itself? Some say it’s Dutch or German in origin, with the name an interpretation of the German word Schneckennudeln, which are cinnamon-dusted sweet rolls, but others say it’s just a nonsense word that somehow got linked to a delicious cookie. Either way, snickerdoodles came to be, and are here to stay.
To make our favorite (and I suspect yours, too) snickerdoodle recipe, first make a stiff dough by creaming together sugar, butter, shortening (use all butter if you prefer), eggs, and vanilla. To that, add a mixture of sifted flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. The cream of tartar is supposed to give the snickerdoodle cookies a special tang. Before you begin, you may wonder if the dough will be wet enough without any “wet” ingredients like milk, but don’t worry — it will be perfect.
While the dough is mixing, combine 2 tablespoons of sugar with 2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon in a bowl and stir until it’s well blended. Then, break off pieces of the dough (a cookie scoop will ensure they’re all the same size), roll the pieces between your palms to form 1-inch balls, and coat the balls in the cinnamon and sugar.
Once covered, arrange them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes (mine were done in closer to 8 minutes, but my 1980s oven runs hot) or until the tops are just set — take care not to burn the sugar-coated bottoms!
Then, pour a big glass of milk or a cup of coffee, and enjoy.
Are you a fan of snickerdoodle cookies?
This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated.