A classic American cookie, Snickerdoodles are easy to make biscuits coated in cinnamon sugar. With no chilling required, you can make and bake these cookies within about 30 minutes.
I love making cookies and biscuits. Many, like these, are quick and easy and you can be tucking into them within a short time making them perhaps the most instantly satisfying form of baking. I like making them so much I have written several books on making cookies and biscuits. My first cookie book, Best loved Cookies back in 2000 ( where does the time go?) was a novelty board book with just a few recipes, but it sold so well the publishers came back to me a few years later and asked me to write more recipes for a larger book. As the new book was to be sold in the US too, I had to research some classic American biscuits and include some recipes for those too. It was then that I first discovered Snickerdoodles and I have been making them regularly ever since.
Snickerdoodles are very popular in the States and Canada but are still not that well know here in the UK. I really don’t understand why they are not more popular. They are simple to make and taste absolutely delicious.And I just love the name!
So what is a snickerdoodle?
Snickerdoodles are basically a vanilla cookie that is rolled in cinnamon sugar. I find this the perfect combination for my tastes. But you will find snickerdoodles with additional cinnamon in the biscuit itself, so if you want yours to be extra cinnamony then feel free to add 1/2–1 tsp of ground cinnamon with the flour.
Cream of Tartar
A classic Snickerdoodle is always made with cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda. The cream of tartar gives the cookies a traditional tangy flavour. However, if you do not have any cream of tartar you can make them using baking powder instead (which is, in fact, a combination of the same ingredients albeit in different proportions). Use 2 tsp baking powder in place of the cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda in the recipe. Purists, however, will not consider them to be proper Snickerdoodles but if you do, it’s hard to tell!
I think in the US the general consensus is that they should be soft and chewy. To get the right consistency you will need to keep a close eye on the cooking time. Check after around 8 minutes. The outer edges should be pale golden and the center should still look pale and soft (it will firm up as it cools). If like me you like them slightly crisper then cook until they are pale golden all over but do take care not to overcook as they bake quickly and can go hard.
The Snickerdoodles will spread during cooking. If the dough is too soft they will spread a bit too much and it will be harder to achieve a soft chewy biscuit. You can stop this happening by popping them in the fridge to chill a little before cooking. Making them here in the UK, I never find that necessary but if your kitchen is very hot or the butter was very soft before you started then I would recommend that you do chill them briefly.
Step by Step How to Make Snickerdoodles
- 175 g butter softened (6oz), plus extra to grease
- 225 g caster sugar (8oz)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 275 g plain flour (10oz)
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
for the cinnamon sugar
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 200℃ (180℃ fan)/400°F/gas mark 6. Lightly grease 2or 3 baking sheets.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Then add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.
- Sieve the flour, cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda into the mixing bowl and beat together until combined to form a soft dough.
- Make the cinnamon sugar by combining the sugar and cinnamon together in a shallow dish.
- Break off a piece of dough about the size of a walnut and roll into ball. Then roll the ball of dough in the cinnamon sugar until well coated and place on the baking sheet.
- Repeat until you have used all the dough to make about 30 cookies. Leave space between each ball for the dough to spread.
- Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to stand on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
EquipmentElectric mixer (or wooden spoon)2-3 baking sheets
Cook's TipsFor a soft cookie cook until the edges are just golden and the center still pale.For a crisper cookie cook until just pale golden all over.
StoreIn an airtight container for up to 1 week.Freeze for up to 3 months
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Homemade Cookies Cookbook GiveAway
My Homemade Cookies cookbook is no longer in print,(altough you can still buy new and used copies on Amazon) but I have a spare copy to giveaway.
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