The essence of the classic snickerdoodle cookies lies in its utter simplicity. They are unfussy cookies made from ingredients you most likely have on hand – flour, eggs, butter, salt, baking soda, sugar, and cinnamon. You probably even have the cream of tartar, which you forgot you had, shoved all the way in the back of the spice cabinet. Snickerdoodles can be made entirely by hand, without any kitchen appliances, although I prefer to use the stand mixer for convenience. All you really need is a bowl and a whisk to combine the ingredients and your hands to roll the dough into balls and to dredge them in cinnamon sugar. Fifteen minutes later (10 minutes to bake, 5 minutes to cool), you will be eating a crackly-topped cookie, fresh from the oven, that is soft in the middle with slightly crunchy edges. Don’t forget the milk!
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Yields 4 dozen cookies
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine.
In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg, if using. Use a small (1 1/4-ounce) ice-cream scoop to form balls of the dough or roll the dough by hand, and dredge in cinnamon sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after 5 minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool about 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to the rack. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.