My husband’s favorite cookie has always been the snickerdoodle. I never really got them. Aren’t they just sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar? I guess that’s how most are made, but according to the culinary gods at America’s Test Kitchen, that isn’t how they are supposed to be. What you should be looking for in a good snickerdoodle is a chewy texture, a slightly tangy flavor, and a crinkly cinnamon coated surface. The cream of tartar gives the cookie its tang and in combination with baking soda, helps the cookie to rise and fall, giving the cookie its signature crinkles. I usually try to avoid shortening in lieu of butter in cookie recipes, well, because it just tastes better. But apparently it is included to prevent some spreading and to give the cookie its characteristic chew. So, at least this time, shortening will stay. So, there you have it. The chemistry behind the perfect snickerdoodle. Chewy? Check. Tangy? Check. Cinnamony (is that a word?)? Check. Crinkled? Check. Oh, and now let’s not forget totally delicious.
Yield: 24 cookies
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2oz) all purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
8 Tbsp vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
Adjust rack to middle and preheat oven to 375F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Combine 1/4 cup of sugar and the cinnamon in a shallow dish or pie plate. Whisk flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
Using a stand mixer, beat butter, shortening and 1 1/2 cups of sugar together on medium until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, 30 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.
Reduce the speed to low, slowly add flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Give dough a final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
Working with 2 Tbsp of dough at a time, roll into balls. Working in batches, roll half of the dough balls in cinnamon sugar to coat and set upon prepared baking sheet spaced 2 inches apart. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
Bake 1 sheet at a time, until the edges are set and just beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 10 to 12 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through baking. (Cookies will look raw between the cracks and seem underdone). Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.