Snickerdoodles are sugar cookies lightly dusted with cinnamon. They have a characteristically crackly surface, and can be crisp or soft, depending on preference. Some variants include nutmeg, raisins, or nuts. Snickerdoodles are a traditional Christmas cookie in North America.
The Joy of Cooking claims that snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, and that the name is a corruption of the German word for "snail noodles" (schneckennudeln).
From the Boston Globe, June 14, 1898, pg. 8:
- Three quarters of a cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of milk, 3 cups of flour, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon of soda. Mix; drop on a tin in spoonfuls, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, and bake in quick oven.
- M. Elizabeth Adams.
From the Idaho Daily Statesman (Boise, Idaho), October 20, 1901, pg. 11:
- "Snickerdoodles" is the somewhat fantastic name of quickly made little cakes especially dear to the children's heart. A recipe for them copied from an old scrapbook says: "Stir together two cups of sugar and half a cup of butter. When creamy, add two well-beaten eggs, then one cup of milk, with a teaspoonful of soda, dissolved in it; and, lastly, add two and a half cups of flour, with two teaspoonfuls of cream of tartar and half a spoonful of salt. Beat the batter thoroughly, and bake in shallow pans, dusting the top of the cake before baking with cinnamon and sugar. Bake fifteen minutes, and when cool cut in squares. This recipe will make two panfuls, which will cut into twenty-four squares."
Ingredients (Recipe 1)
One recipe for the production of snickerdoodle cookies is as follows:
- 620 g (2 ¾ cups or 24 oz) all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cream of tartar
- 330 g (1 ½ cups or 12 oz) white sugar
- 220 g (1 cup or 8 oz) soft shortening
- 2 eggs, beaten
Procedure (Recipe 1)
Preheat oven to 205°C (400°F or Gas Mark 6), mix ingredients, and bake for 10 minutes or until crisp and light brown. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon while hot.
An alternative recipe uses only 220 g (1 cup or 8 oz) sugar and replaces 110 g (½ cup or 4 oz) of the shortening with butter. After those ingredients are mixed, the dough is rolled into 1 tablespoon balls and then rolled in a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. They are baked as noted above. Other recipes add honey to the dough, which helps to keep the cookies from becoming too crisp.
Ingredients (Recipe 2)
Snickerdoodles made from this recipe are chewy the same day you make them and become crunchy the next day.
- 220 g (2 cups or 16 oz) butter, softened (not melted)
- 110 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 egg
- 220 ml (1 cup or 8 fl oz) vinegar
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 350g (1 ½ cups or 12 oz) all-purpose flour
For the topping:
- 2 tbsp (30 g) sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Procedure (Recipe 2)
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C or Gas Mark 5)
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.
- Add the 1 cup sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and vinegar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
- Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.
- Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.
- Cover and chill dough for 1 to 2 hours or until easy to handle.
- Combine the 2 T. sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Shape dough into 1-inch (2.5cm) balls. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar to coat. Place balls 2 inch (5cm) apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. # Bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until edges are golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
- If you are using a mixer with more than one kind of beater, use the paddle attachment.