By the way, I love love love Snickerdoodles! Didn't grow up with them, but sure do love them now.
So, being a curious sort, I looked up Snickerdoodles on Wicki (sign of the age, that) and learned that – um, no one seems to know where they came from, which country first made them or how old they are. After more surfing, I can tell you that they’re either German, Dutch, American or something else. How’s that for definitive?
I do know that the first time the name showed up in publication in the US was in 1898 and that the word “Snickerdoodle” is either derivative of a German or a Dutch word or maybe is just a silly made up word as was the habit of Americans naming cookies in the 1800’s. So- basically a mystery.
Also, did you know that early (read 1800’s) Snickerdoodle recipes included milk? And they were frequently “pan cookies” (maybe what we’d call bar cookies now)?
Truly the heart of Snickerdoodles, though, is the cinnamon most are rolled in before baking. I only use Penzeys cinnamon. Once you’ve smelled or tasted Penzys you’ll never go back. In fact, grocery store cinnamon is apparently a close relative to but not actually cinnamon. Go figure!
Now, let me know if you enjoy your Snickerdoodles more for having all this info on them, ok?
Three quarters of a cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of milk, 3 cups of flour, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon of soda. Mix; drop on a tin in spoonfuls, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, and bake in quick oven.” From “An American Food Historian” and sited in the Boston Massachusetts Daily Globe on June 14, 1898
Well, recipes tend to have a bit more detail these days and the one I’m going to share with you makes a really, really good cookie! The recipe is excerpted from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2010. Many thanks to Artisan for giving me permission to excerpt this recipe.
Alice Medrich is one of my favorite Craftsy teachers and cookbook authors. In fact, she taught me (via Craftsy) the most reliable, simplest and easiest way to melt chocolate and I’ll be forever grateful to her for that.
Likewise, I’m grateful for her wonderful cookie recipes, none the least of which is this Snickerdoodle recipe. Before you go there, however, you might want to take a look at the cookbook. It’s straight forward, informative, interesting and fun. You can see it here-
Classic snicker doodles taste like delicately crunchy rounds of cinnamon-topped French toast.
Makes about sixty 2½-inch cookies
3 cups (13.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups (10.5 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper or greased
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk or fork.
In a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter with the 1½ cups sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs just until blended. Add the flour mixture and stir or beat on low speed just until incorporated. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl. Form level tablespoons of dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar and place 2 inches apart on the lined or greased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies puff and begin to settle down. Rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. For lined pans, set the pans or just the liners on racks to cool; for unlined pans, use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to racks. Cool the cookies completely before stacking or storing. May be kept in an airtight container for several days.
Nutmeg Snicker Doodles: Substitute 1 teaspoon lightly packed freshly grated nutmeg for the cinnamon.