After over 25 years working for the same organization, my Father-in-Law retired on Tuesday. It was a very momentous occasion for him and his office, and many parties and lunches have been planned. For his last day, my Mother-in-law asked me to make a platter of cookies for her to bring to his office. She requested three varities, Snickerdoodles being one of them. I have made Snickerdoodles once in the past, but it turns out that my version wasn't exactly traditional. See, what makes them traditional is the addition of cream of tartar for leavening rather than baking powder or soda. My Browned Butter Snickerdoodles contained baking powder.
I did a little research to find out what exactly it is that makes cream of tartar necessary in this recipe. I read that the Potassium Hydrogen Tartrate helps to stabilize and give volume to egg whites, which cases them to rise and puff. It is also said to give a creamier texture to baked goods. Cream of Tartar is actually a byproduct of the wine making process, it is the residue left in barrels of wine and sometimes wine bottles.
When choosing a recipe, I simply googled Snickerdoodles, and found this recipe from allrecipes.com. There were many great reviews and it has a high rating, so I went with it. While the recipe says it makes 4 dozen, I made large cookies, and ended up with closer to 2 dozen. Also, I don't use shortening so I baked these with all butter rather than the 50/50 ratio.
While I thought the cookies tasted good, I guess I'm not much of a Snickerdoodle fan. However, my husband texted me and said people were raving about them! It appears as though most recipes are pretty much the same in terms of ingredients and ratios. However, I'd be sure to use a coarsely ground, turbinado sugar to achieve maximum crunchy crust. Perhaps a taste test will be in order though, because I'd like to compare Snickerdoodles made with cream of tartar, baking soda, and baking powder all side by side. It sounds like I'll have some very willing participants!
Tips and Trades:
-Because Cinnamon is the most important flavor in these cookies, be sure to use a quality product. You can read about the different varieties here at Penzey's.
Mrs. Sigg's Snickerdoodles
slightly adapted from allrecipes.com
1 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 3/4 c. unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. turbinado sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Add butter to the bowl of a stand mixer, turn speed on low and cream.
Add sugar, increase speed and beat for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Turn speed to low, add eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions.
Scrape down sides.
Add vanilla, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt, beat until just incorporated.
Turn mixer off, add flour, turn speed to low and mix until dough comes together and is just combined.
Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 400*
Add turbinado sugar and cinnamon to a small bowl, mix well.
Remove dough from refrigerator, spoon 2 tbsp. full balls out into hands, roll then press into cinnamon sugar mixture, press down lightly onto baking sheet.
Repeat with all cookies, placing them 2-3" apart on the cookie sheet.
Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes (8 if you're making smaller cookies).
Remove from the oven when cookies are cracked and puffed, slightly golden brown.
Place on a wire cooling rack until cookies come to room temperature.
Store in a cookie jar or airtight container.