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Snickerdoodles have long been a family favorite at our house. This is a recipe given to me by my grandma on my mom’s side. It’s perfect for young children who are beginning to bake. One of our daughters took these cookies to the county fair and received a purple ribbon on it, so it’s officially a winning recipe!
(Post modified on 8/31/23.)
As a girl, I remember going to my grandma’s house, and she would almost always have cookies in her freezer for guests who might show up. That and Little Debbie snacks. Do you remember those? Anyway, sometimes her freezer would have several gallon bags of cookies, just waiting to be eaten. This Snickerdoodle cookie was one of them. And her family always appreciated and enjoyed having a cookie or two with her at her kitchen table. Treasured memories.
While updating this post, I decided to go through my old recipes to find grandma’s original recipe card that she gave me long ago. It’s quite used and worn. That’s always a sign of a good recipe.
This is an old-fashioned or classic recipe that has been around for a long time. Classified as a rolled cookie because you roll it in your hands to make a ball, and then you dip it in a sugar mixture. Made with shortening, granulated sugar, and lightly spiced with cinnamon. I love the crinkled tops and chewy center.
More Rolled Cookies to Try
- Powdered Snowball Sugar Cookies
- Molasses Crinkles
- Homemade Pecan Sandies
- Joan’s Peanut Butter Cookies
Ingredients Needed to Make Snickerdoodles
(See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.)
- vegetable shortening
- granulated sugar
- large eggs
- all-purpose flour
- cream of tartar
- baking soda
- granulated sugar
- ground cinnamon
Instructions for Making This Recipe
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the vegetable shortening and granulated sugar until soft. Add eggs and mix to combine.
In a small bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Beat together until incorporated.
Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes.
Chilling the dough is optional. My grandma’s recipe calls to do it. However, I have made the cookies without chilling, and they bake up fine. The dough is a bit easier to work with (not as sticky), so perhaps that is the reason.
In a small bowl mix together the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
When ready to bake, roll the cookie dough into large balls (larger than a walnut) and roll in the cinnamon mixture.
Place 2″ apart on baking sheet, lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake 12-14 minutes until lightly brown but still soft.
These cookies puff up first, then flatten out into crinkled tops. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 2 dozen large cookies or 3-4 dozen regular-sized cookies.
If you prefer the smaller cookies, you will need to adjust the baking time to 10-12 minutes.
Butter vs Shortening
So, why do some cookie recipes use butter and others shortening? What is the difference?
I always figured that the “older, more traditional” recipes used shortening because it was more easily acquired than butter. Of course back then, it was called “lard.” And butter was probably more treasured. I don’t know. I’m guessing here. Using my brain when I probably should use Google.
However, I do know that butter has a lower melting point than shortening. Which means cookies made with butter will spread more and be more crispy, as well as have more buttery flavor.
Cookies made with shortening will bake up taller and be more tender.
And then you have recipes that use a mixture of both butter and shortening–I guess to tap into the advantages of both fat products.
Some say the crinkling appears because of the addition of cream of tartar. Others believe it’s due to the cookie dough being rolled in sugar prior to baking, which speeds the baking process on the outside. I even remember my grandma telling me to sprinkle the unbaked cookies with a little water to create the crinkling.
Honestly, I don’t know why cookies crinkle. I’m not a cookie scientist, and I’m okay with that. What I do know is that when there are Snickerdoodles in the cookie jar, they won’t last long.
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Gather all your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.
Make the Cookie Batter
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the vegetable shortening and granulated sugar until soft. Add large eggs and mix to combine.
- In a small bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
- Gradually add to creamed mixture until dough is incorporated.
- Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes. (This step is optional.)
Prepare Cinnamon Sugar Mixture
- In small bowl mix together the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
- Roll cookie dough into walnut-sized balls and roll in the cinnamon mixture. Place 2" apart on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes until lightly brown but still soft. These cookies puff up first, then flatten out with crinkled tops.
- Cool on a wire rack. Makes 2 - 2 1/2 dozen.
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