How to Make Perfect Snickerdoodles

I’m going to start a feature called Friday Favorites. I’ll be posting some of my old recipes and posts on Fridays. O.K. basically it’s reruns. But maybe it’s new to you!  Maybe you didn’t know who I was back when I posted my Snickerdoodle tutorial the first time.  It was years ago. Here’s your second chance to learn how to make them!

Cookies are my thing. I can do cakes pretty well, and my pies are decent too. But cookies are where it’s at for me. I love the relative ease of cookies. Some are complicated, but most are a two-bowl affair that can be in the oven in less than fifteen minutes. They’re quick to bake and rarely is decoration involved. It’s almost always faster to make a batch of cookies than it is to drive to the store to buy some; which is why it shocks me that people actually pay money for store-bought cookies (although I do love Oreos. And Nutter Butters. Those tiny round ones.)

When it comes to making cookies, I like to have the perfect recipe. I don’t want to experiment or tinker with ingredients. I want to know exactly what to do, end of story.

 Everyone, including me, needs snickerdoodles in their cookie repertoire. Can you believe that I never even had a snickerdoodle until we made them in Home Ec in 6th grade? Outrageous! But I took one bite of a snickerdoodle–the crispy cinnamony exterior yielding to the soft yet toothsome inside. Not to mention the sweet tinged with a smidgen of tanginess–I was seriously hooked.

 I’ve been making these cookies ever since. But I just wasn’t happy with any recipe I tried. Even Cook’s Illustrated, which normally does me right, has a lousy recipe. This is the problem: snickerdoodles taste much better with butter. But butter makes a cookie too flat a lot of the time. And in Jennie’s Cookie Universe flat cookies are a gigantic no-no. I think they are the sign of either a poor recipe or a sloppy baker.  If you buy a snickerdoodle at a bakery they are usually nice and thick, but the reason is because they are made entirely with shortening which holds its shape better. Ew.  Even butter-flavored shortening is gross, if you ask me.

 I was left with no other option than to make up my own recipe.  I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say that creating a new recipe drives me a little batty.  It’s more science than my feeble brain can handle. Not to mention frustrating.  But I finally achieved success.


I like to call this recipe, modestly, The Perfect Snickerdoodle
(if by some chance you’ve never made these, you must have cream of tarter. It’s a deal breaker.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
(Plus cinnamon-sugar in a little bowl for rolling the cookies.  You already know how to make this, right?)
Combine sugar, butter, shortening, vanilla and eggs.  Mix well.
In a separate bowl combine flour, cream of tarter, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed ingredients and mix well.
Shape dough into 1-2″ balls (about the size of ping-pong balls). Roll in cinn-sugar mixture. If possible line your baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place cookies 3″ apart and bake at 375º for 9-11 minutes (better to underbake than overbake!)  Remove from the cookie sheet immediately.
These taste great warm, but I like them better after they’ve cooled down and are chewier.
Like all cookies, the best time for making these is on a Sunday evening when nothing else is going on. Preferably, eat these for dinner.  If it makes you feel guilty, then make sure you have a big glass of milk and a banana.  If that isn’t a great meal, then I don’t know what is.


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8 thoughts on “How to Make Perfect Snickerdoodles

  1. I do crave the Snickerdoodles fornightly, but I have never managed to remember to buy cream of tarter since you first created this recipe, years ago. Sad, huh? so as of yet I have never made them. You want to know who has the perfect snickerdoodle to buy? Einsteins bagels. Seriously, if you ever pass an Einstiens, go in and see if they happen to have made any that day. You’ll die for them.

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