What Is a Snickerdoodle?

It’s a cookie, silly. What were you thinking?

What Is... a Snickerdoodle?
flickr/Muy Yum

A snickerdoodle is a cookie. It’s not a toy, it’s not a candy bar, and it’s definitely not what you were thinking. But it’s not just any cookie. Those in the know might think that it’s just a silly name for a sugar cookie. But it’s a little bit more than that.

It’s a bit of a vintage recipe, if you will. If you want to try to make some, you should be looking through some old classic American cookbooks, circa the 19th century. (Or, you can just click here.) What sets them apart from regular old sugar cookies is the use of cream of tartar, a cracked surface, and a bit of spice to balance the sugary goodness, thanks to a dusting of cinnamon just before baking.

Now, for the ultimate question. Should they be soft, chewy, or crunchy? If you like them soft, use a greater proportion of shortening to butter; if you like them chewy, equal parts; and if for some reason, you like them crunchy, then use all butter. But no matter what you do, make sure to sift your flour first; nobody likes lumps, or worse, rocks in their cookie dough.

If you’d like to spice things up further, add a little nutmeg or perhaps a little allspice. There are also accounts of unsuspecting victims — er, cookie lovers — finding things like nuts and raisins in their snickerdoodles as well, but at this point, one could argue that that cookie isn’t really a snickerdoodle anymore. Creativity is great, but with this cookie, perhaps it might be best to side with the purists.

Click here to see Easy Cookie Recipes.


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