Snickerdoodles

Classic snickerdoodle cookie recipe, cinnamon sugar topped cookies, crackly on the outside while pliable on the inside.

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Photography Credit: Shuna Lydon

Please welcome guest author and pastry chef Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater, who shares with us her secrets for making snickerdoodles. ~Elise

While people argue about where the name Snickerdoodle comes from, few people who love them waste time with words. Here is a cookie with a following!

Tender and crisp, plain and aromatic, sweet with a dash of salt, the Snickerdoodle has made quite a place for itself in the canon of cookies. But as loyal as its fans are, it’s not the easiest cookie to find on bakery shelves.

A Snickerdoodle has two signature characteristics: an exterior of cinnamon sugar, cracked on top, and a perfect textural balance of crunchy and pliable.

With other cookies born from the same method– creaming, getting just the right texture can feel like an impossible journey with way too many cookies to eat along the way.

Snickerdoodles, on the other hand, have a built-in fail proof ingredient, saving them from the place where cookies that aren’t “just right” go. Cornstarch.

It’s simple and yet extraordinary: cornstarch absorbs moisture, binds the dough like flour but has no gluten. Gluten is a protein in wheat flour that creates a “toughness” in many baked goods. “Do not overmix” is an instruction based on this property.

In Snickerdoodle dough, cornstarch is what makes those edges light as air, but provide a middle you can sink your teeth into.

This is not a puffy cookie, it spreads a lot. It’s simple, meaning there are few ingredients. Please use the most delicious butter you can find.

Organic cinnamon will also make a huge difference, and if you can get your hands on true Ceylon cinnamon, Snickerdoodles all over the land, and I, salute you.

Snickerdoodles Recipe

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  • Yield: Makes 12-18 cookies

It’s important that all your ingredients be room temperature when making the cookie dough.

Ingredients

Snickerdoodles

  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup White, Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt

Cinnamon Sugar - whisk well to incorporate

  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Ground cinnamon

Method

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1 Preheat your oven to 350°F. Cream the butter until it's soft, smooth and light.

2 Add both of the sugars to the creamed butter and mix until they are fully incorporated, and lighter in color. Add salt.

snickerdoodles-sugar-1.jpg snickerdoodles-sugar-2.jpg
Cream the butter and sugars until fully incorporated and light in color (right).

3 Stirring vigorously, add the egg to the mixture and beat until the batter looks uniform.

4 Sift the flour, cornstarch and baking soda, and fold, in three additions, into a large bowl to create cookie dough.

5 Form balls of dough with a soup spoon and plop them in cinnamon sugar, swirling to coat.

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6 On a buttered or parchment lined cookie sheet, place the dough balls 3 inches apart. Flatten the dough slightly and sprinkle about half a tablespoons worth of cinnamon sugar on the flattened surface.

7 Set the first timer for 7 minutes. Turn the pan around and set a second timer for 7 minutes. If you are using a buttered pan they might be done at this point, or need another minute. If you’re using parchment, cookies will take 2-3 minutes more. You are looking for golden edges and a blonde middle.

8 Cool on a baking sheet and eat as soon as possible. Snickerdoodles will keep in an airtight container, at room temperature for 3 days, but they are best eaten the day they’re made.

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Shuna Lydon

Pastry chef Shuna Fish Lydon has worked in such notable kitchens as Gramercy Tavern and Verbena in Manhattan, The French Laundry and Bouchon in Yountville, California, and Citizen Cake and Aziza in San Francisco. Shuna's writing can be found on her highly acclaimed food blog Eggbeater. Shuna is now based in New York City.

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Showing 4 of 38 Comments

  • Ashleigh

    I just love this recipe. Thank you for sharing. It brings back great memories of the first thing I learned to make in the kitchen with my aunt and mom. Our recipe was from my mom’s 1963 Betty Crocker home ec cookbook so it called for crisco – something I am happy to delete from current baking though it does being back a fond memory for me. This cookie will always be associated with a warm, happy home for me. I thank you for sharing a recipe that has all natural ingredients! It’s so soft and lovely. Last Christmas I baked dozens of these and mailed them to my international friends – I am happy to report that cookies I made from this recipe made it all the way to Iceland and were happily received!

  • Sandy

    Snickerdoodles were wonderful. I do have an odd question for any one that might know. Years ago my Grandma made something she called Smodden. Im trying to find a recipe and have had no luck. Anyone have any ideas? It was kind of like pudding and had sugar and cinnamon on it. Thank you.

  • Darby "The Dessert Diva"

    Sandy,

    My grandmother, who was of German desent used to make us this in which she called shephards dessert. Maybe this will fill your need…

    Shephards Dessert

    Topping (optional)
    2 cups of packed light Brown Sugar
    2 Tablespoons Butter
    1 1/2 cups cold Water
    1/8 teaspoon Salt
    1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

    Pudding
    2 cups All-purpose White Flour
    1 cup granulated Sugar
    2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
    1 cup Milk
    2 teaspoons Cinnamon
    2 teaspoons Baking Powder
    1/2 teaspoon Salt
    1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
    1 cup Pecans, coarsely chopped

    Mix topping ingredients first and place aside. For topping- In a medium sauce pan, combine brown sugar, water, butter and salt.Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.Remove from heat and add vanilla.Stir well and set aside.

    Pudding- In a mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Combine the milk, melted butter, and vanilla and add all at once to the flour mixture. blend quickly. Spread in an greesed 9×13 pan, then pour the reserved sauce mixture over the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the center bubbles up. Serve warm with cream or ice cream.

    For another option, pour topping over it and sprinkle with a few chopped nuts, if desired. Bake 45 minutes at 350*. Serve with whipped cream or thawed non dairy whipped topping.

  • Mrs B

    Oh yum! This takes me back to my first Home Ec class in 7th grade! I was SO disappointed at first that there were no Snickers candy bar ingredients in this recipe, but any doubt was soon assuaged by these beauts.

    Hubby is going to be so excited to be reminded of these little treats!

  • Andrea

    Oh, I am glad to see a Snickerdoodles recipe! I have tried two other, different recipes but I just don’t like them very much. They seem too flat. (My son loves them though–they are his favorite, so I bake them for him!)

    Next time I will use your recipe and see if it is better. Thanks!
    –Andrea

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Snickerdoodles