The snickerdoodle has been around a long time. Depending on who you believe, the snickerdoodle came from Germany, or is Dutch in origin, or perhaps got its start in New England. According to one source, “The Joy of Cooking claims that snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, and that the name is a corruption of the German word Schneckennudeln, which means ‘snail dumpling.’ A different author suggests that the word ‘snicker’ comes from the Dutch word snekrad, or the German word Schnecke, which both describe a snail-like shape. Yet another theory suggests that the name comes from a New England tradition of fanciful, whimsical cookie names. There is also a series of tall tales about a hero named ‘Snickerdoodle’ from the early 1900s which may be related to the name of the cookie.”
I’ve varied my snickerdoodle cookie recipe many times in an attempt to bake the perfect cookie. But in many ways, the basic recipe IS the best cookie, with some minor variations that involve tricks more than ingredients.
Tip No. 1: The texture of your cookies will benefit greatly from hand mixing the dough, as opposed to beating with a mixer. I don’t know the technicalities behind this, but I know I’ve seen this advice several times and I’ve tried it myself, and it DOES seem to make a difference. Try your snickerdoodles both ways, and see what you think.
Tip No. 2: Make sure your butter and eggs are at room temperature. The obvious? Not only is it easier to mix the butter by hand when it’s soft, but having these ingredients at room temperature also benefits the final cookie texture.
Tip No. 3: Be sure your baking soda and cream of tartar are fresh. Outdated ingredients will compromise the final cookie.
Be adventurous and experiment with your sugar coating. I’ve added nutmeg, allspice, ginger, etc. It all depends on your taste preference!
Snickerdoodles store well in airtight containers at room temperature. I don’t know if they freeze well, because they don’t last more than 3-4 days around here.