Snickerdoodles are a classic cinnamon sugar cookie with a tangy kick! These Snickerdoodles have a soft and chewy center with crispy edges, and a delicious combination of a cinnamon, sugar and butter.
I’m going to share something and I don’t want to offend anyone; I am not a huge fan of cookies.
It’s hard to explain why – it could be I can’t find the right texture, or the flavor combinations are not exciting enough, or they’re not big enough to eat on a plate with a fork or spoon (ok, so I’m sure I could find a big-plate-eat-with-spoon-cookie).
BUT, I do love Snickerdoodles!
The first time I had them was in high schooland my friends Mom made them for us for an after school treat. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked. I could never put my finger on exactly what she put in them to give them their signature tangy bite. I thought it was a secret ingredient or just the plain old magic of baking science. That secret ingredient; cream of tartar. Who knew!?
What Makes Snickerdoodles Tangy
Cream of tartar. So, what is cream of tartar?
Long science explanation short; it is an acid. Tartaric acid to be exact and comes from the residue that is left on wine barrels when making wine. It is used in Snickerdoodles to give them their notable tang, but it also helps to keep the cookie chewy. In other recipes, it is used as a leavener when combined with baking soda. You may also see it used when whipping egg whites or whipped cream to create and sustain volume. A lot of benefits that I aim to try soon.
It took me a handful of attempts to get the cookie flavor and texture right. Maybe that is the other thing I’m not a fan of when it comes to cookies. But, I finally landed on the right ingredient and time combinations. I think the biggest realization is that chilling the dough almost a must. It helps to keep the dough from spreading too much when baked. It also makes working the dough into balls and rolling them in cinnamon & sugar much more manageable.
Tips For Making Snickerdoodles
- Use room temperature eggs. This makes sure the eggs are distributed evenly into the dough. Cold eggs may not do this, thus the texture of the cookie could be off.
- Chill the dough. I tried a couple of batches not chilling the dough before baking and each time the cookies spread like pancakes.
- Use a small cookie scoop if you have one. It is very helpful when rolling the cookie dough into balls, and gives you cookies that are the same size, making them bake evenly.
- I roll the cookie dough balls through the cinnamon and sugar twice to double up on the spicy sugar!
- Bake one baking sheet at a time. Ovens can vary greatly when it comes to baking temps and time and baking one sheet at a time will help bake the cookies evenly.
The one unfortunate thing about these Snickerdoodle cookies – eating them does not make me feel like I am in high school again. Bummer.
- 2 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (softened )
- 1 cup granulated sugar (plus 1/4 cup for rolling)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (for rolling)
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375F degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
- Using the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light in color and fluffy – about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated after each, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined. Give the mixture a final stir by hand to make sure that all the flour is mixed in. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least 20 – 30 minutes.
- In a small shallow dish, combine the 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon.
- Using a small cookie scoop or your hands, form the dough into 1 tablespoon dough balls, rolling each through the sugar mixture until well coated. Place on the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart.
- Bake the cookies one sheet at a time, until the edges begin to turn golden brown and the centers are still soft and puffy – and will even look a bit under-baked. About 10 – 12 minutes. For crispier cookies, bake for a couple minutes longer.
- Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 2-3 minutes then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
- Chill the Dough – I find that chilling the dough helps the cookies not over-spread too much while baking.
- More Cinnamon Sugar – For a stronger cinnamon flavor, roll the dough balls through the cinnamon and sugar mixture twice.
- Bake Time – Ovens will vary and so will cooking times. High Altitude – Start checking the cookies at 10 minutes. For a crispier cookie, bake for a couple minutes longer.
- Checking for Doneness – For a chewier cookie, bake until the edges are crisp, but the centers still appear under-baked in the center. The cookies will continue to cook as they cool on the baking sheet.