Tuesday, June 18, 2013


For the past few summers now, our family seems to identify a given sweet treat which we then continue to make over and over through the summer season. The Summer 2013 treat seems to be snickerdoodle cookies. Although I don't have any particular attachment to snickerdoodles from my earlier years, I do remember seeing a recipe for them in my 4-H cooking book. I'm not entirely sure why I never made them during my growing up years. I guess we must have had other cookies that we preferred baking.

This year, I made a batch of snickerdoodles for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and we have made several batches since, including one for Father's Day. We particularly like snickerdoodles because they are a relatively light cookie that isn't overly sweet. They are also a great cookie for young bakers because they are quite easy to stir up and then bake.

I was hoping to find a fascinating history of the snickerdoodle to share in this posting. For good or for bad, the history is somewhat obscure. I found one source that indicated that cookies similar to snickerdoodles have been around since Roman times. Recipes for cookies similar to today's snickerdoodles have appeared in American cookbooks dating back to the 18th and 19th centures. Some sources suggest that the name is derived from a German word, "Schneckennudeln," which means "snail noodle," however, the cookie's shape doesn't resemble a snail at all. Other sources suggest that the name was created as a nonsense word by New England bakers who would give odd names to their dishes. 

Regardless of of the origins of the snickerdoodle, here is the recipe that I use. My family has yet to complain of the outcome.

Here a picture of the ingredients:

And now for the list of ingredients and the directions …
  • 1 cup shortening (I use a whole Crisco stick)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Mixture of cinnamon and sugar - I generally use about 2 parts sugar to 1 part cinnamon. You can use whatever combination you like. McCormick makes a cinnamon/sugar spice mixture which does the work for you.
  • Cream the shortening and sugar together using an electric mixer. 
  • Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
  • Sift together and stir in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
  • Shape into balls and roll the tops in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. 
  • Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. You do not need to flatten the cookies. The baking process will flatten them out.
  • Bake at 350ºF for 18 minutes.