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.
It’s important that all your ingredients be room temperature when making the cookie dough.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
Yield: Makes 12-18 cookies.