Soft and chewy cookies with a delicious cinnamon taste: sounds just perfect, doesn’t it! This Easy Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe is really simple and calls for just few very common ingredients. With it you can make tasty cookies from scratch in no time.
What are snickerdoodle cookies
These tasty soft and pillowy cookies are not just sugar cookies with cinnamon. They are made with simple ingredients but they have a distinctive texture and taste. The reason why they are special is due to one very important ingredient: cream of tartar or potassium hydrogen tartrate. It is an acidic chemical compound which when combined with baking soda becomes a leavening agent, similar to baking powder. It occurs naturally during wine fermentation and can precipitate out in wine bottles and barrels. Cream of tartar is commonly used to stabilise egg whites or cream when whipped. It also prevents sugar from crystallising: that’s exactly how it makes the snickerdoodle cookies so soft and chewy!
Origin of snickerdoodle cookies
It is considered that these tasty cookies have German or Dutch origin. According to some sources the name comes from the German “Schneckennudel”, which means a cinnamon roll. But other sources, including The Oxford English Dictionary, indicate that it is uncertain how the name came up.
No matter where their name came from, Snickerdoodle cookies are a special kind of cookies. They are quire easy to prepare but there are few important steps that need to be followed in order to make sure they would turn out perfect.
How to make snickerdoodle cookies from scratch
First you need to beat well softened butter with sugar until creamy. You can use brown sugar or white sugar: I personally prefer the brown one as it adds additional chewiness to the cookies. Afterwards you need to add one egg and keep beating until combined. At the end add gradually the flour, mixed with the baking soda, salt and cream of tartar. Make a soft dough and optionally refrigerate it for 30 minutes. This is not a mandatory step but I found that the chilled dough ensures puffier cookies that spread less, while the cookies that haven’t been in the fridge become flatter and spread more. I don’t like my cookies too flat, hence I prefer to refrigerate the dough.
There is also one very important step at the end this recipe: to make balls and roll them out very well in cinnamon sugar. Arrange the balls in a baking tin which has been lined with parchment paper and bake for about 10-12 minutes. The Snickerdoodle cookies are ready when the bottoms start becoming slightly darker than the other part. Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy this effortless treat!
Snickerdoodle cookies without cream of tartar
Cream of tartar is an essential ingredient in this recipe but you can still make the cookies without it. Practically baking soda + cream of tartar make a kind of baking powder. So you can use just simple baking powder to make your cookies. What is the commercial baking powder made of? If you check the ingredients, you will find bicarbonate of soda together with some acid chemical compounds. But why do we usually need cream of tartar for this recipe? The cream of tartar creates the specific texture of the snickerdoodle cookies which makes them unique. Without this ingredient they would just taste and feel like any regular sugar cookie with cinnamon.
I hope you like this recipe: I would be glad to receive your feedback. Please feel free to share the link with so other people can benefit from it!
Want more cookie recipes? Check out the ones below:
Easy Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe
For the cookies:
- ½ cup 120 g butter
- 1 ⅔ cups 200 g all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup/ 150 g brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cinnamon sugar:
- ¼ cup/ 50 g brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Mix well and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl cream butter and brown sugar with a mixer. Add egg and vanilla and continue beating until smooth. Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the mixture, using a wooden spoon. Make a soft dough and let it cool in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.
- Line two large baking tins with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 360 degrees F/180 degrees C.
- In a small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon and stir to blend.
- Make small balls out of the dough and coat them well with cinnamon sugar. Arrange them on top of the baking sheets, not too close one next to another.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms start becoming slightly golden brown around the edges.
- Refrigerating the dough is optional but I prefer to follow this step as it ensures the cookies are thick and puffy. It also makes it easier to shape the balls. If the dough is not refrigerated, the cookies will spread more and will become flatter.
- Cream of tartar and baking soda can be substituted with 1,5 teaspoons baking powder. Beware that without cream of tartar the taste of the cookies will be slightly different and they might become crispier, especially if the dough is not refrigerated before baking.