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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.
Video: How to Make Snickerdoodles
What Is a Snickerdoodle?
A Snickerdoodle cookie has two signature characteristics:
- An exterior of cinnamon sugar, cracked on top
- 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.
Why Cornstarch Is Important for Snickerdoodles
It’s simple and yet extraordinary: cornstarch absorbs moisture and 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 over mix” 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.
Snickerdoodle Cookies Demand the Best Ingredients
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. If you can get your hands on true Ceylon cinnamon, Snickerdoodle cookies all over the land, and I, salute you.
Want Crispy Snickerdoodles?
If you love crispy, chewy snickerdoodles, press your snickerdoodles to about 1/8 inch thick before baking. You're welcome!
Light or Dark Brown Sugar?
We prefer light brown sugar for this recipe. This adds a touch of caramel flavor, chewiness to the cookie, and a light brown color.
You can definitely use dark brown sugar, but know that it will give your cookies a stronger brown sugar flavor and make a darker cookie.
How to Store & Freeze Snickerdoodles
Store the cooled snickerdoodles in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Freeze the baked cookies, tightly wrapped, up to 1 month.
You can also freeze the unbaked dough for up to 3 months: form into balls (don't roll in the cinnamon sugar), lay on a parchment-lined sheet, and freeze. Once firm, slip into a zip-top freezer bag. To bake, let thaw 30 minutes on counter as the oven heats. Roll in cinnamon sugar, place on baking sheets, and bake (it may take slightly longer than directed in the recipe).
More Classic Cookie Recipes!
Brown Sugar Snickerdoodle Cookies
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- For the Cinnamon-Sugar Mixture:
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 350°F
Begin the cookie dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or with hand mixers, beat the butter until it's soft, smooth, and light. Scrape down the bowl, add both of the sugars to the beaten butter, and mix until they are fully incorporated and lighter in color.
Beat in the salt followed by the egg. Mix until the batter looks uniform.
Add the flour to the dough:
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch and baking soda. In three additions, beat this slowly into the butter-egg mixture until you see a few dry streaks remaining. Switch to a stiff spatula and gently mix the cookie dough until no more dry flour remains.
Shape the cookies:
Thoroughl whisk together the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Form balls of dough with a medium-sized cookie scoop or a tablespoon measure and plop them in cinnamon-sugar, swirling to coat.
Slightly flatten dough balls on lined cookie sheets:
On a parchment-lined cookie sheet, place the dough balls 3 inches apart. Flatten the dough slightly (to about 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick) using the bottom of a glass, and sprinkle a little more cinnamon sugar over the flattened surface.
Put into the 350°F oven. Bake for 7 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes longer (12 to 14 minutes total), until the edges of the cookies look golden and the tops are crackled but still pale.
Cool on the baking sheet and eat as soon as possible. Snickerdoodles will keep in an airtight container, at room temperature for 3 days.