Schneckennudel? – Snickerdoodles (Recipe Included)
It had never occurred to me to think about it before but in writing this I thought I would take a look and, according to The Joy of Cooking (my second favorite cookbook), the word “snickerdoodle” may have come from the German “schneckennudel.” This makes sense to me because when you pronounce “schneckennudel” in German it does sound a lot like “snickerdoodle.” Either way, this is one of those classic cookies for which everyone has their own favorite recipe. Mine came from my friend, Barbara Winters, and I think of her every time I make it. My family always did make snickerdoodles but Barbara’s are fluffier and have a better flavor. They are also prettier which, at Christmas, is always nice. Thanks, Barbara!
The deal with snickerdoodles is that they are easy to make in large quantity so we always had them around for the many Christmas gatherings my parents hosted or attended. Until I was twelve my father was a Methodist youth minister so there were something like a gazillion holiday events for which cookies were needed. [There’s a funny story here. The Methodist church suddenly decided that because Dad had been a minister for so long, and had become more expensive, he really needed to take a church of his own and become the primary minister. Dad has so many gifts but Sunday morning sermons are not among them. Trust me on this! Dad decided that his calling would be better applied teaching and he spent the rest of his working career as an extraordinarily wonderful fifth grade teacher.] Snickerdoodles came through over and over again for my family then just as they have for me in years since. Thanks to Barbara, even moreso now!
This recipe can be easily doubled or even quadrupled. Basically, the limit is the size of your mixing bowl and the number of times you are willing to swap cookies into and out of the oven.
• 1/2 c butter at room temperature – These cookies are incredibly forgiving so unsalted would be normal but you can use salted if that is what you have. As in all my past baking posts, I find that European-style butter will give you a better flavor due to the additional cultures it contains.
• 1/2 c shortening – This is how you get the added fluffy. Butter gives you flavor and shortening gives you fluff.
• 1 1/2 sugar – This is for the batter but more is needed for rolling – see below.
• 2 eggs – As discussed last week, as long as these are large eggs the rest is between you and your chicken.
• 2 3/4 c all-purpose flour – Like shortbread, crumb is really important in a snickerdoodle even though it is clear at the other end of the cookie spectrum from shortbread. Really good quality flour matters and I really do get better results from King Arthur and White Lilly.
• 2 tsp cream of tartar – This recipe calls for both baking soda and cream of tartar, which is interesting because cream of tartar is a component of baking powder and serves to more completely activate the leavening agent in the baking soda.
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1/4 tsp salt
• sugar and cinnamon, combined, to taste (for rolling) – Personally, I like the cinnamon to sugar ratio to be really high because I love cinnamon but everyone has their own preference. Create a combination you like.
• red and green sanding sugar – only added at Christmas, skip it in April
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Use an electric mixer to mix the butter, shortening, sugar and eggs until everything is smooth and well acquainted.
3. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients being sure that the leavening agents (cream of tartar and baking soda) are evenly dispersed. Mix until the batter looks even.
4. Hand roll into 1" balls.
5. Roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture until the whole outside of each ball is coated.
6. If it is the holidays, roll just the top of each ball in either the red or green sanding sugar.
7. Place the cookies on baking sheets with at least 2" of space all the way around.
8. Depending upon your oven, bake eight to ten minutes. The bottom of each cookie should be golden but not brown.
And there you have it. A super simple cookie to leave out for Santa. Next week I have a surprise for you…in more ways than one!
May your Christmas be filled with love and joy! – Hugs to all of you from all of us at Rees!