Snickerdoodles

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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

snickerdoodle-cream-butter.jpg

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.

snickerdoodles-dough-on-pan.jpg

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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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!

  • Jenny

    I liked the chewiness of these cookies and have compared the recipe to others and it has a much lower butter to flour ratio which I like but definitely are lacking in a buttery flavor unlike this other recipe I tried. Also, the cornstarch is key! I tried substituting it with wheat germ and the cookie turned out very dry. Good recipe!

  • Barry

    I made these cookies, and they were just okay. I feel the butter ratio was a tad off. Only 4 tablespoons? I also added some vanilla extract (only 1/2 teaspoon). Not sure if that changed the chemistry, though I doubt it. I tend to prefer cookie recipes that call for both baking soda and baking powder, too—although I’m not sure why this matters.

    Anyways, thanks for the recipe. Any input you might have in regards to my comments would be useful, too :D

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the recipe. It is snowing and I thought it would be great to bake these and serve with Mexican hot chocolate after dinner. They were so yummy!

  • Sara

    I also followed the recipe but with the two exceptions of (1) halving the salt because I used table salt instead of kosher salt and (2) using dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar.

    The cookies turned out very much like my chocolate chip cookies sans chocolate chips due to the mixture of sugars. Were I to do this recipe again, I would reduce the brown sugar. The color and taste were definitely wrong for snickerdoodles (but ok in itself).

    The cookies also baked up cakey and fluffy. The moisture was nice, but not like other snickerdoodles I’ve had. I live in Oregon, not much above sea level. I mixed the dough by hand, making sure not to overbeat the mixture once I added the eggs.

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