Perfectly Soft and Chewy Snickerdoodle Cookies
Snickerdoodle Cookies do not have to be bland flavorless hockey pucks! My favorite easy recipe gives you the BEST soft and chewy Snickerdoodles that are bursting with flavor from a double dip in cinnamon sugar. I’ll give you all my tips to make sure your cookies don’t turn out dry and crumbly! Originally posted March 1, 2013.
Last week was my birthday, and Eric got me a duplicate set of sheets to match the ones we already own. Same color, same brand. I told him, “This is great, now we have an extra set instead of just waiting for the wash to finish!”
His face fell and he said, wait…they are exactly the same??
And that was when I realized his plan was not to buy a duplicate set of sheets. He was trying to impress me with a whole new Fancy Set, and had researched to find a really nice brand. (Apparently he doesn’t know that I already had high sheet standards??)
I think this is how you know you’ve met your soul mate. Landing on the same exact brand and color of sheets? I mean. We’ve basically arrived.
I was feeling very lovey dovey at this point when I opened my next present.
It was a silk pillowcase. It’s incredibly soft and, well, silky, and I love it. I asked him how he came up with the idea for getting me a silk pillowcase, and he said he was looking through one of those lists, you know the “what to get your wife for her birthday” type things, and saw it on there. Then he researched it some more and found out that sleeping on silk can help with wrinkles. “I know you’re worried about your eye crinkles, apparently sleeping on silk can help.” OH REALLY, DOES IT NOW.
Eric will never know how nice my silk pillow is because he’s going to be sleeping on the couch the rest of his life.
Just kidding. I can’t hate him too much when he insists on calling them “eye crinkles” instead of plain ol’ wrinkles. (I think he thinks the “crinkle” part makes it sound whimsical rather than horrifying. He says, “We earned them together, Karen!”)
Well here’s to 34. I guess it’s about time I started working on my skincare regimen anyway. I say this all the time, probably why Eric was trying to help me out with the silk. See, isn’t he so attentive?
Also, can someone please tell me what type of fabric prevents bald spots, because that’s the kind of pillowcase I’m getting Eric for his next birthday. But until then, let me tell you about my latest discovery…
The BEST Snickerdoodles
Eureka!! I’ve found it! A Snickerdoodle recipe that I love inside out and in between. I know, you’ve all been on the edge of your seats about this.
I’ve never really loved Snickerdoodles. I always pass them by when given cookie choices, even though cinnamon is one of my favorite spices.
I just always feel like they aren’t ENOUGH. Not enough flavor, not enough cinnamon, not enough moist gooeyness that I crave in a cookie. Because 9 times out of 10, a Snickerdoodle is dry as a cotton ball, right? They are boring! Tell me I’m not alone here.
Here’s the Snickerdoodle dream: they should be chewy. They should be soft, tender, and bursting with cinnamon flavor. They should have a gentle tart flavor that differentiates them from a mere sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon. They should not be flat. They should not be crunchy, except a tiny little crisp on the very outside edge. Overall they are soft and chewy, melt in your mouth, and make you want to go to cinnamon-sugar heaven.
Well I’ve figured it out my friends. The Snickerdoodle dream is exactly what this recipe will give you. So if this description has your mouth watering, then bust out the mixer! You can have these done in 30 minutes flat, but there are a few things you need to know! This recipe is all about the finer details. Let’s jump in!
How to make soft Snickerdoodle Cookies
Here are your basic Snickerdoodle ingredients. Nothin’ fancy here. The full recipe card is below!
- Brown sugar
- Baking soda
- Cream of tartar
- Cinnamon and sugar, for rolling
First things first, just as with most cookie recipes we start out by beating the butter and sugar together. I always use cold butter and let my stand mixer do the job, but if you only have a hand mixer you should let your butter soften on the counter for a little bit first. (Not too long though, you don’t want your dough to be too soft.)
Make sure you scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. There should be no lumps of butter. Beat for at least 2 minutes. We want to beat a lot of air into our dough!
Next add in your eggs and vanilla. Beat these ingredients well for a minute or two at least, until there are no butter lumps.
Next add in the flour and all the dry ingredients on top of it: salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. We are cheating and mixing the dry ingredients together right on top of the wet ingredients. Who needs that extra bowl?
What does cream of tartar do in Snickerdoodles?
So why cream of tartar? What is this stuff anyway?? It’s actually a by-product of making wine. Cool, right? There are a few reasons we add cream of tartar to Snickerdoodle cookies:
- It makes the cookies soft. Cream of tartar gets in the way of sugar’s natural tendency to bind together to form crystals. Without these sugar crystals binding, we end up with a softer cookie. Yes please!
- It adds tartness. Cream of tartar is an acid, and sours up your cookies the same way adding lemon juice would. It is the BEST compliment to that deep earthy cinnamon!
- It helps leaven the cookie. When you add cream of tartar to baking soda you get, wait for it…baking powder! Cream of tartar activates the alkaline in baking soda, turning it into a leavener (the stuff that makes baked things rise). (Why not just use baking powder? Because we want number 1 and 2 up there, acidic flavor and the soft texture!)
Here’s our dough all ready to go. Make sure you don’t over mix the flour! Once all the white streaks are gone, stop beating. Scrape down the sides, make sure all ingredients are incorporated, and that’s it. Now it’s time to roll and bake!
I like to use this cookie scoop for Snickerdoodle cookies. It’s about 1 and 1/2 inches across. You don’t want to make them too big or they will bake up flat as a pancake. While we’re on the topic…
Why are my Snickerdoodles flat?
Nobody wants a thin, flat cookie. The trend these days (yes, baked goods go through trends just like everything else!) is to have nice big thick cookies that you can really sink your teeth into. Thick. Like those massive Levain Cookies everyone raves about. Or Crumbl cookies, has that franchise hit your neighborhood yet? (They have really fun flavors, but their cookies are TOO thick for me. They are downright cakey in the middle.)
I’m sorry guys, I find cakey cookies fundamentally offensive to the cookie kingdom. (Unless they are these Pumpkin Cookies.) It is chewy gooey centers or bust for me. If I wanted cake, I would make cake. Cookies are meant to be CHEWY, not light and fluffy thankyouverymuch.
So there are a couple of problems with getting a Snickerdoodle that hits the sweet spot between totally chewy and NOT flat as a pancake.
(although really your pancakes should never be totally flat, try these Buttermilk Pancakes. Ok sorry I’m getting off topic again!)
Flour. The problem with Snickerdoodles is that if you add the appropriate (minimal) amount of flour to achieve chewy cookies, they tend to flatten out in the oven, with edges that are extra crispy. If you add too much flour, the cookies will puff up more and LOOK really thick and chewy. But it’s all a pack of lies, because THOSE are the dry crumbly cookies. I swear it’s as simple as that: if you see a Snickerdoodle that LOOKS super thick and tall with a textured top, a lot of the time they just have too much flour (to achieve that height) and taste like you’re chewing on the edge of your most recent Amazon box.
Mix ins. The other problem with Snickerdoodle cookies is that there are no mix-ins. With Chocolate Chip Cookies, the chocolate chips provide structure and height in each cookie, something for the baking dough to latch onto in the oven. There is nothing in a Snickerdoodle cookie for the dough to “grab on” to. If you took your favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and baked it without chocolate chips, they would look exactly like these Snickerdoodles, mark my words. They would be chewy and delicious, but if you wanted them to puff a little and look more like a thick trendy cookie, you would need to add more flour. Which makes them more dry and cakey and less chewy. Can you see the hamster wheel we are on??
We can’t add more flour without ruining the chewy texture, we can’t add mix-ins because then it’s not a Snickerdoodle…what’s a baker to do??
The Spoon Trick
I’m glad that I’ve chosen such a sophisticated name for this technique. I use “the spoon trick” on almost every cookie that comes out of my kitchen these days, because it is so simple and fast, and the results are pretty amazing.
Here are my cookies immediately out of the oven. Don’t they look puffy and gorgeous? If I don’t do anything, they will fall and be flat in the middle, and overly crispy on the edges.
Here’s where the magic happens. Right after you take the pan out of the oven (and I mean right away, within 30-40 seconds), Use a spoon to smoosh the edges of the cookies toward their centers. Don’t be shy now. Smash them in a little bit. These cookies have not set on the edges yet, and we are telling them who’s boss.
Okay, can you see it? Compare this photo with the ones just out of the oven. They are no longer perfectly flat on top. They have that “textured” look, little shelves of dough layed in with each other. The edges of the cookies are going to crisp a little bit, but now that we have smooshed them together they will have a thicker, more substantial edge, not a lacy crispy edge. And finally, you can see that they are going to keep their height in the middle, rather than falling completely. This gives you a chewier, thicker, fudgier cookie in the center. We are getting this height and texture WITHOUT the cheat of adding extra flour, which would dry out our cookie.
Double dip in cinnamon-sugar
Here’s my last Snickerdoodle cookie tip. I LOVE me some cinnamon sugar and am all about the double dipping. I do the same thing with these Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies (which are really just Chocolate Snickerdoodles, by the way) and it totally ups the game.
First, mix together a lot of cinnamon with some sugar. You can use the same cinnamon sugar you used to dip your raw cookie dough balls if that doesn’t weird you out (raw egg and all). (It takes a lot more than that to weird me out).
Then take your baked cookies once they are cool enough to handle and not falling apart, and dunk them in.
You can see the difference between the sugared and non sugared cookies here! These Snickerdoodle cookies are delicious even without the extra cinnamon sugar dip, but I love the added flavor, texture, and crunch it adds!
I mean who could say no to this?
One more thing, in my experiments trying to get these Snickerdoodles Next-Level-Cinnamon-y, I tried out adding bits of cinnamon roll filling to the dough before baking. WHAT?? Yes.
I loved them so much that I decided to give them a whole post of their own. The base recipe is almost the same, but the filling changes the whole flavor profile, not to mention appearance. Check out the recipe for Cinnamon Roll Cookies here!
More cookie recipes you are going to love!
- The BEST Cinnamon Roll Cookies << This is almost the same as today’s recipe, but has cinnamon roll filling swirled into the dough. YES PLEASE.
- Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies << If you are a cinnamon lover, these are the cookies for you! Yes, I have 2 different recipes for cinnamon roll cookies and yes, you should definitely try them both ;)
- Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies << these are basically Chocolate Snickerdoodles! I love them!
- Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe << these are old fashioned and crispy, not the kind with frosting.
- Texas Cowboy Cookies << these are big and huge and all the things. Bring it.
- Britta’s White Chocolate Chip Cookies << these have a light hint of cinnamon and I love them
- Perfectly Soft and Chewy Molasses Cookies << I make these by the dozens every Christmas
- The Best, Softest Peanut Butter Cookies of Your Life << no joke. They are so peanut buttery!
- Soft Cinnamon Cookies with Maple Pecan Frosting << have you tried this frosting yet??
- Double Chocolate Cookie Recipe from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Apple Pie Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies from Amy’s Healthy Baking
- 3 Ingredient Cake Mix Cookies from Carefree Kitchen
Perfectly Soft and Chewy Snickerdoodle Cookies
- 1 cup salted butter, 2 sticks
- 1 and 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a few baking sheets with parchment paper, or line with a silicone mat.
- Add 1 and 1/3 cup white sugar and 1/3 cup packed brown sugar. Beat for 2 minutes, taking the time to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl in between. Your butter and sugar should be light and fluffy with no chunks at all.
- Add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat well, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Make sure you beat it long enough that it becomes smooth and homogenous.
- Add 3 and 1/4 cups flour (be sure to spoon it into the measuring cup! Don't dip your cup into the flour bin, you will pack your flour and end up with too much!) Don't mix the flour in yet.
- Use a small spoon (I use my teaspoon) to stir 1 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar into the flour. Gently beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Don't overdo it. There should still be flour streaks when you stop your mixer. Use a spatula to scrape down the edges of the bowl.
- Continue beating just a few more seconds until all the flour streaks are gone. Do not over mix! You want to make sure all the ingredients are combined, but once that is done, stop mixing. Over mixing dough = tough cookies.
- Use a large cookie scoop or a spoon to shape the dough. You want dough balls that are about 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches across. I used this cookie scoop.
- Roll the cookies. In a small or medium bowl, add 1/3 cup sugar and 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon. Stir together. Roll the shaped cookies in the cinnamon-sugar to coat. (Reserve the remaining cinnamon-sugar!)
- Place cookie dough balls on the prepared baking sheet with about 2 inches in between them. I can fit 12 cookies on an 11x17 baking sheet.
- Bake the cookies at 350 for about 9-11 minutes, until the edges are barely set. It's ok if the centers of the cookies (about the size of a quarter) are still shiny. The rest of the cookie should be matte. It's VERY important to not over bake snickerdoodles; underbaking slightly is what helps give them that soft and chewy texture. (Dry Snickerdoodles taste like chalk. Don't be like that.)
- Shape the cookies. Immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven, use a spoon to push the edges of the cookies toward their centers. This makes the cookies round in shape and makes the center thicker and more chewy. You have to do this within 30-60 seconds of taking them out of the oven, before the edges harden. Enlist help if you can! See my Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe for more details about this technique!
- Let the cookies set up on the pan for at least 3-5 minutes. Remove the cookies to a wire cooling rack and let cool for a few minutes.
- While the cookies are still warm, but cool enough to handle (and not falling apart), place each cookie back into the bowl of cinnamon sugar*. Coat one side of the cookie, then flip it over and coat the other side. This gives you the ultimate cinnamon-sugar edge to your snickerdoodle! Enjoy one right away with a glass of milk!
- Freezer instructions: You can freeze this dough and bake later! I like to shape the dough into balls, roll them in cinnamon sugar, and store them in a ziplock bag. They will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. I never thaw cookie dough before baking. Just bake straight from frozen and add a couple minutes to the bake time. Voila!
Here are my Snickerdoodle cookies from yesteryear! I posted a version of this recipe on the blog back in 2013:
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