This classic snickerdoodle recipe is soft and chewy, coated in cinnamon-sugar, and ready to devour in just 30 minutes. Soft in the middle with a perfect crunch around the edges.
This timeless cookie is rolled twice in cinnamon-sugar. I think the traditional sugar cookie got bored and rolled around in cinnamon to make himself more popular.
And boy did it work!
These cookies are devoured in a matter of hours. Perfect for holidays, get-together’s, or in my opinion – ANY day of the week.
It’s a classic cookie that’s fun to say and even more fun to munch on. The only thing missing is a big glass of milk.
These pantry ingredients are all you need to make drool-worthy Snickerdoodles that are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside:
- Softened Butter and Sugar. We use these two ingredients at the very beginning. They need to cream together well such that the butter coats the sugar, forming a smooth consistency. Creaming also makes your cookie dough airy.
- Eggs, Flour, Shortening, Baking Soda, Salt, and Vanilla. These ingredients, when combined with the creamed butter and sugar, make up the cookie dough. There’s another special ingredient that goes into the batter, but let’s save that one for later.
- Quick Tip: For best results, use room temperature eggs. Also, ensure that your baking soda is fresh – it will give your cookie that desired airiness.
- Cinnamon and Sugar. It’s the classic mixture that coats and defines the timeless flavor of the snickerdoodle.
- And Of Course, The Secret Ingredient. If you look closely at the ingredients, you’ll notice that most of these items can also be found in a sugar cookie recipe. But there is one primary difference. What gives the snickerdoodle that tangy flavor and chewy texture is… drum roll please… cream of tartar!
Cream of tartar is a white powder formed during wine production. Specifically, it is the residue left in wine barrels after grape fermentation takes place. Since it’s a bi-product of wine, it has natural acidic properties.
Snickerdoodles owe many of its characteristics to cream of tartar. Here’s how this magical ingredient affects the cookie:
- It is used together with baking soda. The acidic property of cream of tartar is what activates the baking soda so it does a better job at making cookies rise.
Fun fact: This is why double-acting baking powder contains cream of tartar!
- Also, when the cream of tartar combines with liquid ingredients, it produces carbon-dioxide air bubbles, which in turn disintegrates the gluten in the flour. This process lifts the cookie dough.
- Aside from making the cookie rise, cream of tartar also makes it chewy. Once the cookie dough bakes in the oven, the air bubbles created when it mixed with the liquids become even larger, making the cookie chewy and airier.
- Cream of tartar also hinders sugar from crystallizing. This is what makes snickerdoodles super soft, not crunchy, on the inside. This also prevents cookies from browning – so that’s why snickerdoodles aren’t as brown as other cookies!
- Cream of tartar is responsible for the tangy flavor in snickerdoodles. Aside from being chewy, snickerdoodles are also known for having a bit of acidity. This is because cream of tartar neutralizes the bitterness of baking soda, forming a subtle sour undercoating in the cookie.
- Cream of tartar is usually found in a supermarket’s spice aisle. It can last for several years provided that you store in a cool and dry area.
How to Make Snickerdoodle Cookies
These snickerdoodle cookies are so delectable I’m often surprised how easy they are to make. Here are the simple steps.
- Start by combining sugar butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and shortening.
- Then, add the salt, flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda. By now you should have formed a cookie dough.
- Using a spoon or cookie scoop, shape your cookie dough into balls.
- Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and 3 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix well.
- Roll the dough balls in the cinnamon and sugar mixture until fully coated.
- Place the balls on and ungreased baking sheet. Remember to leave two inches of space in between.
- Bake the cookies at 400 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes. Eight minutes for softer cookies and 10 minutes for crispier cookies.
- Remove cookies from the baking sheet and place onto a wire rack to cool.
Tips & Tricks
- If you want to impress your loved ones, add half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg to the dough before baking. It adds a unique flavor that makes your snickerdoodle taste even better.
- If you have the time, chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes before you bake it. A chilled batter yields thicker cookies.
- Use brown sugar instead white to give your snickerdoodles additional moisture and a rich flavor.
- Double roll the cookies in the cinnamon and sugar mix to ensure it’s coated all the way through.
- If you don’t have cream of tartar on hand, you can also replace it with 2 teaspoons of white vinegar OR lemon juice. Works like a charm!
- Very important. Use butter and eggs that are room temperature.
- Make sure your baking soda and Cream of Tartar are both fresh. Baking soda goes flat pretty soon after opening the box. To see if it’s still good, put a tiny bit of the baking soda in some water. It should start fizzing immediately. If not, it’s time to get fresh.
- Fun Tip! For a quick and easy way to coat your dough balls, place the cinnamon-sugar mixture in a sandwich bag (or Ziploc bag) and drop one ball in at a time. Close the bag, shake well, and you’re cookies will be perfectly coated. Plus – there’s a lot less mess!
- Monitor the dough while baking. When you start to see the edges turning light gold, it’s done.
How To Avoid Tough Cookies
- If your cookies are too tough, it means you overcooked them. Cook the next batch for 1-2 minutes less to ensure soft and chewy cookies.
- If you don’t think the baking time is the problem, maybe it’s the temperature. Use a cooking thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oven while cooking.
- It’s also possible that you have over-mixed the dough. Fold the ingredients ever so gently to avoid over-mixing.
Keep snickerdoodles stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Place a piece of parchment paper in between layers to prevent the cinnamon sugar from becoming moist. They will last for a good seven days.
If you want them to last a bit longer, place the cookie dough balls on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, freeze for 30 minutes. Place the cookie dough balls in a plastic bag or airtight container and freeze.
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