Oh Snickerdoodle...your name is so strange but your taste is so delicious. I have no idea where the moniker for this cinnamon and sugar coated, crackly chewy cookie came from but it's so good. A true American classic and one that I actually prefer over the ubiquitous chocolate chip.
I remember making snickerdoodles in my 7th grade Home Economics class. Back then the only fat called for in the recipe was vegetable shortening (aka Crisco) but this upgraded version from Cook's Illustrated includes butter which really amps up the flavor.
A sign of a really good bake are cracks on the tops of the cookies. I don't know the science behind those fissures but I think it probably has something to do with the combination of cream of tartar and baking soda that's used as leaveners. Try not to over bake the cookies because you want them to be crisp on the outside but still soft and chewy on the inside.
For the ultimate summertime treat I sandwiched homemade strawberry ice cream between two snickerdoodles - pure bliss! Stay tuned on this blog for the recipe for the ice cream.
Makes about 30
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool (see note below)
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (see note below)
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar, plus 3 tablespoons for rolling dough
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon for rolling dough
NOTE: I ended up using 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter + 1/2 cup of butter-flavored vegetable shortening (Crisco brand) and it worked great!
Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
Either by hand or with an electric mixer, cream the butter, shortening, and the 1½ cups sugar at medium speed until combined, 1 to 1½ minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs. Beat until combined, about 30 seconds.
Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 20 seconds.
Mix the 3 tablespoons sugar for rolling and the cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Working with a heaping tablespoon of dough each time, roll the dough into 1½-inch balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar and place them on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
Bake until the edges of the cookies are beginning to set and the centers are soft and puffy, 9 to 11 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets 2 to 3 minutes before transferring them with a wide metal spatula to a wire rack.