Everybody loves making cookies. I grew up in America and have fond memories helping my mother make snickerdoodles. Now I’ve developed my own recipe and can look forward to making them with my own grandchildren.
The snickerdoodle is thought to have been brought to America by the Pennsylvanian Dutch. The name is said to be derived from the German pastry shnecken, but it’s probably made-up, devised simply to be silly and fun to say… In American folklore snickerdoodles are historically known as an Amish specialty, but whatever their heritage they are now one of America’s favourite cookies and enjoyed throughout the land.
What makes the snickerdoodle interesting is that it is rolled in cinnamon-flavoured sugar before baking. In the UK we associate cinnamon with winter, but Americans like cinnamon at any time of the year. The homely and aromatic spice appeals to adolescent and adult tastes alike and is sprinkled on buttered toast, coated on crunchy cereals and as the main flavouring in cinnamon buns and the quintessentially American apple pie.
The recipe makes about 24 cookies. It’s divided in half to make two different flavours of snickerdoodles at a time (approx 12 each). Choose from blueberry, banana and apricot, walnut and raisin or apple.
Most cookie recipes use a higher proportion of sugar and butter which makes them either crisp and thin or soft and chewy. For a less sugary treat, I’ve used a lower ratio of sugar, which creates light and cakey texture – the added fruit and nuts provide extra natural sweetness.
- 160g unsalted butter (at a cool room temperature)
- 160g white caster sugar
- 240g plain white flour
- 1 medium egg (fridge temperature)
- 2 pinches of salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp vanilla
- When the cookie dough is mixed, divide in half and add one of the following to each half:
- Blueberry snickerdoodles: 150g fresh blueberries, washed and dried
- Banana and apricot snickerdoodles: 50g dried apricots, chopped60g dried banana chips (placed in a mug and just covered with boiling water and allowed to soak for 15 minutes and then drained).
- Walnut and raisin snickerdoodles: 50g chopped walnuts 60g raisins
- Apple snickerdoodles:1 eating apple (peeled and chopped into pieces no bigger than a pea.
- For the cinnamon sugar (all cookies):
- 30g caster sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180C, Gas 4.
- Ensure the butter is at a cool room temperature. Mix the butter with the sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add the salt, vanilla and egg to the butter and continue mixing until combined and smooth and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Weigh the flour and put into a bowl, add the baking powder and mix well with a whisk. Add to the butter mix and blend on a low speed with the electric mixer, or a wooden spoon until it just comes together. Let the dough rest in the fridge whilst measuring the added ingredients.
- Divide the mixture in half and add one choice of ingredients to each half.
- Mix the cinnamon sugar and put in a wide flat bowl. Using a soup spoon, scoop out dough and work in the palms of hands to make a small golf ball size ball. Roll this in the cinnamon sugar and place on a baking sheet. Press down in a firm stroke to slightly flatten the ball to a disc about 2cm thick. The cookies do not spread very much, but allow plenty of space between each. Ideally, cook one tray of cookies at a time.
- Bake toward the top of the oven for between 12-15minutes until browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and leave on the baking tray to cool for a few minutes. Then transfer to a rack and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
- Tips: The snickerdoodles are also good plain, or with added chocolate chips. Sprinkle any leftover cinnamon sugar on hot buttered toast…
This recipe was provided by Bill Williamson, a self-confessed ‘weekend cook’. His sons, Pete and Leo, decided to showcase their dad’s amazing talents on www.whatdadcooked.com