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Heavenly Snickerdoodles (easy recipe)

If you’re looking for the perfect Snickerdoodle recipe–light and fluffy and filled with cinnamon and sugar–you’ve come to the right place.

Light as a feather, y’all!

I’m about to “Snicker Your Doodle” with this yummy Snickerdoodle recipe, y’all!

We’re talking about the quintessential cinnamon-y sugar cookie, the Snickerdoodle. This delightful treat is known and loved by millions. And once you find a good Snickerdoodle recipe, it’s a great idea to hang onto it! 

(Here’s hoping you hang on to this one!) 

Most people agree that “classic” cookies like the Snickerdoodle will always rank in their favorites. I’ve got quite a list, including my Double Mint Chocolate cookies and my Chunky Oatmeal Craisin cookies. But Snickerdoodles are also high on the list! They’re not fussy, the recipe doesn’t require a ton of skill, and they’re amazing warm from the oven or a day or two later. Talk about versatile! Snickerdoodles are easy-breezy! 

Heads up, bakers! 

There’s a funny twist to my Snickerdoodle story. Mine don’t contain butter. Yep, you read that right. Instead of butter, I substitute shortening. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Shortening instead of yummy, creamy butter? 

Yep. 

Shortening adds something that butter does not—a light, airy texture. Why is this? 

Snickerdoodles! Just what the doctor ordered.

Let’s Get Technical: 

Shortening coats the protein molecules of your flour and stunts the growth of the gluten strands. In short (pun intended) the strands are shortened. So, the long and short of it is. . .shortening shortens. 

And there you have it. 

So, what do these shorter strands have to do with anything?

According to the fine folks at Bob’s Red Mill Flour

Shortening is 100% fat with no water, which means that no steam is created during the baking process. Gluten production is not increased and the baked goods tend to be more tender. Because butter has a low melting point, it causes cookies to spread. Shortening, however, has a higher melting point and enables cookies to be taller.  

A Long Way to Tell a Short Story

It took me a while to get to the point, but here it is: Don’t be afraid of shortening. The lack of water will cause a taller, fluffier cookie. And that’s exactly what I’m looking for in a Snickerdoodle. While some might argue that the substitution of shortening in place of butter will cause you to sacrifice taste, remember: it’s the cinnamon and sugar in the Snickerdoodle that are the stars of the show. And speaking of sugar: brown sugar (which does NOT make an appearance in my Heavenly Snickerdoodles) contains molasses, which is what makes most cookies chewy. That’s another reason these cookies are light and fluffy, because they do not contain brown sugar.

One more interesting addition: 

Snickerdoodles also have another ingredient that you don’t often see in other cookie recipes: cream of tartar. I’ve been without it a time or two and thought I could leave it out. Trust me when I say that those cookies simply weren’t the same. Not even close. 

So, what is cream of tartar, anyway? “Why use cream of tartar in my cookies?”

Let’s explore that question. 

You might be surprised to learn that cream of tartar is a byproduct of fermenting grapes into wine. It’s a “tart” acid. According to allrecipes.com

Adding a small amount of cream of tartar when you’re beating egg whites—usually 1/8 teaspoon per egg white—speeds up the creation of foam and helps stabilize the structure of those miniscule air bubbles you’re whipping up.

This fascinating acid adds air bubbles to your cookie. (Side note: remember my conversation about shortening? It adds height. So, using both shortening and cream of tartar results in a fluffy, taller cookie.) 

But, I don’t have any cream of tartar! 

Of course, you might not happen to have cream of tartar in your pantry. Does that mean you have to give up on the idea of making snickerdoodles until after you’ve made a run to the store? Nope! There are some simple substitutions you can try, instead. 

What are the best substitutes for cream of tartar? 

While nothing is exactly like cream of tartar, there are a list of things you can use as a substitute in a pinch. They include:

  • Baking powder (not baking soda). Use 1.5 times the amount of baking powder to cream of tartar. 
  • White vinegar: Use in equal amounts. 
  • Buttermilk: Replace some of your recipe’s liquid with buttermilk, which is acidic. 
  • Yogurt: It’s acidic, like buttermilk, which is what you want. 

You can see that getting acid in the recipe is key if you’re in a bind and don’t have cream of tartar. That leads me to one more substitution suggestion: 

  • Lemon juice. Use in equal amounts. (By the way, this is probably your best bet if you’re out of cream of tartar.) 

Whew! We made it through that conversation! 

Now that we’ve gotten the two “conversational” ingredients out of the way, let’s dive in to that recipe. Prepare yourself for a yummy, cinnamon cookie, straight from the oven. (Bet you won’t be able to wait until they’re fully cooled.) 

Here’s what you’ll need to make Snickerdoodles:

Snickerdoodle Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 ¾ cups flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt

Here’s how you make my fluffy Snickerdoodles:

  • Mix shortening until light and fluffy. Slowly incorporate sugar and eggs, beating until smooth. In a separate bowl mix together the remaining dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt) and shape dough into 1” balls. Roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture (2 T sugar/2 t cinnamon). 
  • Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 375.

Note: If your cookies refuse to fall flat, consider using slightly less flour. 

Three Fun Additions to Snickerdoodles:

Snickerdoodles with sprinkles
  • Sprinkles! I love to skip the cinnamon and use this Snickerdoodle recipes as a sugar cookie. It’s a terrific base for a sprinkles cookie because it’s light and fluffy, perfect for kiddos. You can either stir in a half cup of sprinkles before scooping or roll the dough balls in sprinkles in place of sugar and cinnamon.
  • Caramel chips. Cinnamon and caramel? Yes, please! Stir in half a cup of caramel chips before scooping.
  • Royal icing decoration. I recently decorated Snickerdoodles with splatters of leftover red and green royal icing to give them a Christmas touch. They were festive and fun! (Another fun twist is buttercream icing, which makes a sweet topping!)

Questions people are asking about Snickerdoodles: 

  • QUESTION: Can I freeze my Snickerdoodles?
  • ANSWER: Yep! Make the dough balls, roll them in cinnamon and sugar, and freeze them for up to three months in an air-tight freezer bag that’s been carefully marked with the date.
  • QUESTION: How is a Snickerdoodle recipe different from a chocolate chip cookie dough? 
  • ANSWER: It contains no brown sugar. (Also, most chocolate chip cookies don’t call for cream of tartar.) 

I hope you enjoy this Snickerdoodle recipe. Please let me know your ideas for Snickerdoodle additions by replying below!

Heavenly Snickerdoodles

Heavenly Snickerdoodles

Yield: 3 dozen
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

These luscious cinnamon-infused cookies are light as a feather!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 ¾ cups flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp soda
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

    Mix shortening until light and fluffy. Slowly incorporate sugar and eggs, beating until smooth. In a separate bowl mix together the remaining dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt) and shape dough into 1” balls. Roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture (2 T sugar/2 t cinnamon).
    Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 375.
    Note: If your cookies refuse to fall slat, consider using slightly less flour.

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Megan

Monday 27th of June 2022

In your recipe instructions, I don’t see when you add in the cream of tartar. Would love to try these!

booksbyjanice

Tuesday 28th of June 2022

I will update the recipe! You add it with the flour. (Thanks for flagging this! I need to correct it!)

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