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Naturally, I only wanted to make them because of the name (I wanted to be able to say ‘snickerdoodles’ a lot).
Where does the name come from? Not at all clear, several theories around, from ‘snail noodles’ in German seriously mispronounced (Schneckennudeln) to a folk hero allegedly called Snickerdoodle. Or perhaps it’s just a portmanteau word coined to mean ‘funny scribbles’ reflecting the abstract patterns that appear on the cookies from the cinnamon sugar coating.
When the name (and the cookie) comes from is surprisingly long ago: the records quote ‘1889 Home-maker Apr. 58/1. Snickerdoodles... Bake in flat biscuit tins... Sift cinnamon and sugar over the cake before baking.’
Wherever and whenever, the cookies are laughably easy to make and grinningly delicious. Get the kids to assist so they roll the dough balls in sugared cinnamon like dung beetles. Also tempting to add choc chips – but then you’d turn the funky snickerdoodles into plain old choc chip cookies which would be a shame.
snickerdoodlesServings: 18 medium cookiesTime: about an hour
- 190g (1 ½ cups) plain flour
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 140g (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 150g (¾ cup) caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp. for the coating
- 1 large egg
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1. Sift the flour with the cream of tartar, the soda and the salt into a bowl. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, add the egg and the vanilla extract and beat until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mix and beat until combined. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5. Line two large baking trays with parchment. Mix the extra 2 tbsp. sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl.
3. Scoop heaped teaspoons of the dough and roll them in your hands into balls the size of a walnut. Dip them in the cinnamon sugar mix to coat all over. Place them on the baking trays at least 5cm apart.
4. Bake for 10 minutes until set around the edges but still looking wobbly in the centre. Cool the cookies in the trays for a minute and then transfer them onto a wire rack.