Snickerdoodles are so underrated. They’re Dave’s favorite cookie, and I think my dad’s as well. You probably won’t be surprised that Dave’s and my dad’s favorite ice cream flavors are strawberry and vanilla, respectively. Plain flavors, not too rich, but certainly still a delicious treat. As for me, I have to admit I usually make snickerdoodles when I’m out of chocolate chips.
But these are so good! We’re all missing out with our disdain of the humble snickerdoodle. Buttery, soft, coated in cinnamon sugar – these may not feel as rich as chocolate chip cookies, but they certainly have their place.
There are a lot of recipes for snickerdoodles, but they’re almost identical. I just take Betty Crocker’s basic recipe and tweak it to my liking. The most important change is replacing the shortening with more butter. Shortening in a cookie? Seriously? Blech. I also double the salt. The original recipe calls for a quarter of the salt most chocolate chip cookie recipes use. I find cookies with that little salt too bland. The next change I make is replacing one tablespoon of the granulated sugar with brown sugar. This is a trick I picked up from Cooks Illustrated’s sugar cookie recipe, which is designed to add a bit of complexity to the cookie with a hit of butterscotch flavor. The final tweak I make is to increase the cinnamon to sugar ratio in the coating. The original recipe has only 2 teaspoons cinnamon to a quarter cup sugar – a ratio of 1 part cinnamon to 6 parts sugar. I like a ratio of 1 part cinnamon to 2 parts sugar. Sometimes, when I want to make Dave really happy, I also grate some nutmeg into the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Next time you’re in the mood to bake, don’t forget about snickerdoodles! And not just because they don’t require any ingredients besides staples, but because they’re delicious!
Snickerdoodles (adapted from Betty Crocker’s Big Red Cookbook)
Makes about 4 dozen 2-inch cookies
2¾ cups (13.75 ounces) unbleached flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoons salt
1½ cups granulated sugar minus 1 tablespoon (10.35 ounces total)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
¼ cup (1.75 ounces) granulated sugar (for rolling)
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Beat butter and sugars (except the ¼ cup granulated sugar for rolling) until creamy; add eggs and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
3. Mix ¼ cup sugar and the cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Roll approximately a tablespoon of dough into a 1-inch ball; roll ball in cinnamon sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining dough, placing balls 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.
4. Bake until cookies are just set and turning golden brown at edges, 8-9 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 2 minutes; then, using a wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.