What makes a snickerdoodle a snickerdoodle? It’s not just a sugar cookie with cinnamon. The real difference, I discovered, lies in a not-so-secret ingredient: cream of tartar, which gives these cookies their signature tang. My recipe doesn’t produce soft and pillowy cookies like many others that share their name. These chewy snickerdoodle cookies are flat-ish, crispy on the edges and delightfully chewy in the centers.
And what’s with that name? Some sources claim that “snickerdoodle” is some form of the German word “schneckennudeln”, which is basically a sweet roll. And then others report that someone in 1800s New England simply invented a nonsense word to describe this new, popular cookie type. Truly a mystery for the ages.
Here’s a tip for more picture-perfect, circular snickerdoodle cookies (and way less struggle measuring!): use a cookie scoop. They also call these press dishers — they’re basically just ice cream scoops! For this recipe, I use my 1.5-ounce model. I recommend the ones with the spring-loaded trigger on the handle. They’re much sturdier and easier to use than the squeeze ones, which I have broken before trying to measure cookie dough. You could also just use a spoon and they’ll still turn out great!
Cream of tartar is what gives snickerdoodle cookies their signature tangy flavor, but it also, in concert with baking soda (and baking powder in this recipe) gives the cookies some lift. There is also evidence that cream of tartar prevents sugar crystallization, which keeps the cookies soft and chewy, and not crunchy.
You can, but not with this recipe. Since cream of tartar acts as a leavening agent like baking powder and baking soda, this will change the texture, spread and rise of the cookies. And as I mention above, cream of tartar is also responsible for the acid that contributes to their tang, so the resulting taste will also be different and you’ll be left with what are just cinnamon-sugar covered sugar cookies — which wouldn’t be the worst fate!
Did you make these chewy snickerdoodle cookies? I want to see! Tag me @easygayoven on TikTok and Instagram.
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