Snickerdoodles (2024)

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8.31.15

Baking a Memory: Snickerdoodles

This is a post for Berek, (aka the Snickerdoodle Kid), my grandson by marriage. When heheard that I was creating this blog, his one request was a recipe for Snickerdoodles. Berek is in college now, but when he was little I spoiled him with homemade cookies: Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, and…..Snickerdoodles.

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Snickerdoodles on Platter

Once, when we were on our way to visit Berek and his family on Long Island, we were thirty minutes from home (Lenox, MA) on the Taconic Parkway when I realized that I had forgotten the bag of Snickerdoodles. My husband didn’t want to go back, but I insisted; I knew that I could not show up in New York without cookies. We went back.

For Berek and all other grown-up kids who love Snickerdoodles, I did a little checking so they would know the background of their favorite cookie. But first, just what is a Snickerdoodle?It is a crinkly, chewy sugar cookie that has been rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking. Almost all recipes call for a combination of cream of tartar and baking soda (an acid and a base); the idea isthat when they bake the reaction of these two ingredients will cause the cookies to puff up and then collapse, creating those cinnamon-y cracks on top. The edges will be caramelized and crunchy and the centers will be soft and chewy, the ultimate “kid cookie”.

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Snickerdoodle Bite

Then there is this: what does the word “Snickerdoodle” mean anyway? One explanation comes from The Joy of Cooking (1997), which says that the word “may be a corruption of the German word Schneckennudeln, which translates roughly as ‘crinkly noodles’”. Another completely different concept about the name comes from a 1997 Pillsbury Best Cookies Cookbook, which says “The whimsical name of this favorite cookie, which originated in New England, is a nineteenth century nonsense word for a quickly made confection.”

Whether Snickerdoodles originated in New England as the Pillsbury cookbook says, or Pennsylvania Dutch country, as the Fannie Farmer Baking Book (1984) by Marion Cunningham states, they have been enjoyed by all of the generations since the middle of the 19th century. One testimonial in particular caught my eye, from a book called Cookies—Food Writers’ Favorites (1991): “Maybe it was the funny name, or the cinnamon-y smell as they came out of the oven, but now whenever I’m in a nostalgic mood, I bake a batch of Snickerdoodles”.

All of those times I made Snickerdoodles, I thought I was just baking cookies, but now I realize it was more than that. When you go into the kitchen to bake these cookies—or any other cookies—remember to bake with care. It’s not just cookies; you are creating nostalgia and baking a memory (for someone).

Here’s your recipe, Berek.

MAKING SNICKERDOODLES: STEP-BY-STEP

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Snickerdoodles: Mise en Place
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Sifting Flour Using a Tamis
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Pulse in the Flour Slowly

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Finished Snickerdoodle Dough
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Chill Dough 1 Hour then Scoop
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Two Choices for Snickerdoodles

CHOICE #1 FOR FINISHING SNICKERDOODLES: THE TRADITIONAL WAY

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Cold Dough Scoops Rolled into Smooth Balls
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Tossing the Balls in Cinnamon-Sugar
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Spaced on Half Sheet Pan: 9 per Pan

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Baked Snickerdoodles From Balls of Dough
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Finished Snickerdoodle Baked From a Smooth Ball
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Snickerdoodles Baked This Way will be Paler in Color

CHOICE #2 FOR FINISHING SNICKERDOODLES: THE QUICK & EASY WAY

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Scoop With #40 Scoop: Level
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Scoops of Snickerdoodle Dough: No Rolling into Balls
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Scoops Have Been Tossed in Cinnamon-Sugar

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Baked Snickerdoodles From Scoops
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A Snickerdoodle Cookie Baked From Scoops will be Darker & More Rustic
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A Stack of Cookies Baked From Scoops

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A Tray of Freshly Baked Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

Shirl Gard

A Snickerdoodle is a very old-fashioned cookie, like a crinkled sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon sugar. It is an early-American specialty cookie that originated in nineteenth century New England or Pennsylvania Dutch country, depending on which source you believe. For best results, make the dough the day before you plan to bake and refrigerate overnight. This not only improves flavor, but cookies baked using cold dough bake in more evenly round shapes.

YIELD: 2 dz + 3 = 27 COOKIES - 35g (1 1/4 oz) EACH
#40 SCOOP / 3 1/2" DIAMETER COOKIES

Ingredients


  • 150 grams butter softened (1 1/4 sticks) / (1/2 cup + 2 1/2 Tablespoons)
  • 65 grams Crisco shorteneing 1/3 cup
  • 300 grams granulated sugar 1 1/2 cups
  • 100 grams whole eggs lightly beaten (2 large)

  • 225 grams unbleached all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups+ 2 Tablespoons
  • 95 grams cake flour 3/4 cup
  • 10 grams cream of tartar 2 teaspons packed
  • 5 grams baking soda 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 950 grams = Total 33 oz 2 # 1 oz


  • CINNAMON-SUGAR COATING: Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  • 50 grams granulated sugar 1/4 cup
  • 10 grams ground cinnamon 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon

Instructions

  • MIX: In the Kitchen Aid using the paddle on medium speed, cream the butter, Crisco, and sugar together for 2 minutes, (just until all ingredients are completely blended). Add the eggs in a stream with the mixer running and beat 1 minute more, until the batter is slightly fluffy.

  • SIFT together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; whisk to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and pulse gently on low speed until all ingredients are fully incorporated and the mixture comes together in a dough.

  • CHILL dough in the refrigerator until slightly firm, at least 1 hour, before scooping. Don't allow the dough to get rock hard as this is a good way to break your scoop.

  • SCOOP the chilled dough with a #40 scoop (level) and place scoops close together on parchment-lined quarter sheet pan. Refrigerate overnight for better flavor and more even shape.

  • THE NEXT DAY, WHEN READY TO BAKE: PREP 3 half sheet pans or cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper. PRE-HEAT OVEN to 375ºF (190°C) about 20 minutes before ready to bake.

  • SHAPE THE COOKIES - TWO CHOICES: For the traditional method, roll the scoops of cold dough into smooth balls with you hands. Or, for the quick and easy method, use the scoops of dough just as they are, without rolling into balls.

  • EITHER WAY, TOSS the balls or scoops in the Cinnamon-Sugar Coating and place about 3" apart on parchment-lined half sheet pans or cookie sheets, 9 per pan.

  • BAKE at 375ºF (190°C) for 12-14 minutes, until lightly browned but still soft. Here's what to look for: these cookies puff up at first, then crack and fall, flattening out. Watch closely the last two minutes of baking. Take out of the oven just as they start to fall. Don't over-bake or the cookies will be too hard instead of chewy and crisp.

  • COOL on baking pan or remove to a wire rack to cool.

Notes

This recipe is adapted from a very old recipe, given to me by my home economics teacher during a summer class at Northwest State Teachers' College in Alva, OK (1959). I'm not sure where she got the recipe.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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A Cake Stand of Snickerdoodles

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy!

Shirl

Shirl Gard2024-02-23T13:42:09-05:00

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About the Author: Shirl Gard

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Over 15 years of professional baking and dessert making experience. Former Executive Pastry Chef at The Old Inn On The Green in New Marlborough, MA. Graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), formerly Peter Kump's New York Cooking School. Lives in Wellington, FL.

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FAQs

Why is it called a snickerdoodle? ›

A few cookbooks explain that snickerdoodles are German in origin. They state that the cookie's name comes from the German word shneckennudel (which is a kind of cinnamon bun). Others trace its origin to New England's tradition of whimsical cookie names.

What does a snickerdoodle taste like? ›

The snickerdoodle flavor is best described as a mix of vanilla and cinnamon with a singular tanginess thanks to the cream of tartar.

What is the difference between a snickerdoodle and a cookie? ›

Snickerdoodles are often referred to as "sugar cookies". However, traditional sugar cookies are often rolled in white sugar whereas snickerdoodles are rolled in a mixture of white sugar and cinnamon. Cream of tartar is added for its signature texture as another main difference.

What is an interesting fact about snickerdoodles? ›

The Joy of Cooking claims that “snickerdoodle” comes from “Schneckennudel,” a German word that literally means “snail noodles.” Schneckennudels don't have anything to do with snails or noodles, though—they're actually delicious-looking German cinnamon rolls.

Why do snickerdoodles go flat? ›

Why are my snickerdoodles flat? Snickerdoodles can come out flat if 1) the leaveners you used (for this recipe, it's both the baking soda and the cream of tartar) are on the old side and no longer work, and 2) if you baked them at a lower temperature. First, figure out if it's your leavener.

Why do snickerdoodles get hard? ›

Snickerdoodles might turn out hard if they are overbaked or if the dough is too dry. Be sure to keep an eye on them as they bake – when the edges are set but the centers are still soft and puffy, they are done. Also, make sure you're not adding too much flour.

Are snickerdoodles supposed to be undercooked? ›

Slightly under-baking the snickerdoodles also guarantees a softer cookie. Take them out of the oven after about 10-11 minutes. This will keep the interior of the cookie soft and chewy.

Are there Snickerdoodle Oreos? ›

Nabisco just released new Snickerdoodle Oreos, so naturally we here at Sporked had to get our grubby hands all over them.

What to use instead of cream of tartar in snickerdoodles? ›

You can either replace cream of tartar with baking powder at a 1:1.5 ratio (1 teaspoon cream of tartar : 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder), or you can replace cream of tartar with the combination of baking soda and either lemon juice or vinegar (as with this recipe).

Why do people like snickerdoodles? ›

“Good snickerdoodles are light and pillowy, with a sweet tangy overall flavor, and a glistening cinnamon crust. They are easy to make, require few ingredients, and require no chilling time in the fridge. Plus kids have fun rolling them into balls and coating them in cinnamon sugar. What's not to love?”

Why do my snickerdoodle cookies taste like flour? ›

Improper flour measurement is the #1 cause of your cookie dough being too dry or the cookies tasting like flour.

Why do my snickerdoodles taste bitter? ›

Your snickerdoodles may taste bitter if you are sensitive to the taste of cream of tartar. This snickerdoodle cookie recipe without cream of tartar is an excellent option if you fall into that category.

Why are my snickerdoodles sour? ›

Because cream of tartar is slightly more acidic than baking powder, it gives the cookies a slight sour-flavored tang unique to snickerdoodles.

Why don t my snickerdoodles crack? ›

If yours aren't cracking, your oven may not be hot enough or your ingredients may not be fresh enough! Are snickerdoodles supposed to be undercooked? I always recommend slightly underbaking your cookies and then letting them finish baking through cooling on the pan.

What does "snickerdoodle" mean in slang? ›

The Oxford English Dictionary Describes the etymology as “uncertain." They suggest it is perhaps a combination of the words snicker, a smothered laugh, and doodle, a silly or foolish fellow.

What is the meaning of snickerdoodle? ›

ˈsni-kər-ˌdü-dᵊl. plural snickerdoodles. : a cookie that is made with usually butter, sugar, and flour and that is rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking.

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