The Best Super Chewy Snickerdoodles Ever

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Stack of Snickerdoodles The Best Super Chewy Snickerdoodles Ever

There’s something about fall–the brisk mornings, heavenly colors, and burning leaves—that make me want to run to the OtherWorldly Kitchen and whip up a batch of fragrant, spicy, crinkle-topped, chewy Snickerdoodles. You know, the chewy Snickerdoodles of everyone’s dreams.

So that’s what I’ve done for the past too-many-to-count falls. But this year, my memory and an undeniable reality collided, and I yelled “ENOUGH.” Enough with Snickerdoodles that are dry. Enough with Snickerdoodles that are bland. Enough with Snickerdoodles that are not chewy. Enough with Snickerdoodles that are way too sweet. Enough with Snickerdoodles that have no crinkled tops. Just ENOUGH already.

Balls of dough The Best Super Chewy Snickerdoodles Ever

The truth is, I am in love with the memory of  the fragrant, chewy Snickerdoodles I ate as a kid, and that memory didn’t correspond to my current reality. Every Snickerdoodle cookie I bought at a coffee shop or bakery (memory and hope are closely intertwined) was a colossal fail. They were either too thick, too sweet, not chewy, weirdly textured, flavorless, dry, or all of these at once. And every Snickerdoodle I made at home was somehow off as well. Was it hopeless?

Of course not. All I needed to do was focus, do a little research, and then bake and bake and bake until I eliminated all the aforementioned problems.

Cookies fresh from the oven The Best Super Chewy Snickerdoodles Ever

I should have done it long ago.  The result is divine. And now Miss Lillian will grow up with the chewy Snickerdoodles of my memory and dreams. She made her first batch (at 3-years-old) with the perfected recipe this past weekend. After adjusting the ratio of cinnamon to sugar for her (the pucker on her face after tasting it told me it was too strong), she did a very conscientious job of coating each ball with cinnamon sugar. Hallelujah, we have a new cook in the family!

Lily making cookies The Best Super Chewy Snickerdoodles Ever

Tips & Tricks for the Best, Super Chewy Snickerdoodles
  • The unique surface cracking and signature flavor of these marvelous cookies depends on a rather unusual amount of baking soda and cream of tartar, and the proportion of each to the other. It’s not an error; you need 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Trust me.
  • The signature, slightly acidic flavor of Snickerdoodles is the result of the unusual amount of baking soda and cream of tartar, in a weird proportion to each other. If you don’t like that flavor, you could simply reduce the amount of cream or tarter somewhat. But, you may lose the crinkled tops that are a signature of this cookie.
  • Although almost all Snickerdoodle recipes specify to roll the dough into balls and then coat the balls entirely with cinnamon sugar, I found the best results were attained using a release-style scoop to shape the dough in half-round mounds, and NOT covering the bottoms of the mounds with cinnamon sugar. The cookies thicker and there was no danger of the sugar burning on the bottoms.
  • DO NOT flatten the cookies after shaping; they will spread too much.
  • DO NOT bake cookies that are not well chilled; they will spread too much.
  • For chewy Snickerdoodle cookies, bake for only 12 minutes. For crisp cookies, bake for 14 minutes. But why would you want CRISP Snickerdoodles?
  • I tested Snickerdoodle cookies using both a 1-tablespoon and 2½-tablespoon release-style scoop. The smaller cookies were a huge hit with my tasters. They loved being able to eat several with no guilt. When making the smaller cookies, reduce the baking time by 2 minutes.
  • To get maximum chewiness for these cookies, I used all the tricks: bread flour (protein), egg yolks (protein and fat), corn syrup (invert sugar), brown sugar (hydroscopic), and dry milk powder (protein).

Cookies on a plate 2 The Best Super Chewy Snickerdoodles Ever

Super Chewy Snickerdoodles Cookies

I’ve been testing Snickerdoodle cookie recipes for decades. But this fall, I was determined not to stop testing until I got perfect results. By perfect results, I mean super chewy, not too sweet Snickerdoodles with crinkled tops, slightly acidic flavor, hint of salt, and cinnamon pow. I hope you agree THIS IS IT.

Cookies
2½ cups unbleached bread flour (11¼ ounces)
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cool room temperature (2 sticks)
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons dry milk powder
2 large egg yolks, cool room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla

Shaping
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Reserve.
  2. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together at medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping down the bowl a few times in the process. This will take 5-6 full minutes.
  3. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, and mix until well-combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture, and mix at low speed just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. The dough will be quite soft.
  5. Using a 1-tablespoon or 2½-tablespoon, release-style scoop, scoop level portions of dough onto a parchment-lined, edged baking sheet. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, and preferably longer, up to a several days.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F, and line 2 edged baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon.
  8. Dip each half round dough ball into sugar mixture. Don’t get sugar mixture on the bottom of the cookies; it tends to burn.
  9. Arrange cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart.
  10. Bake the cookies at 350°F for about 10 minutes for smaller cookies and 12 minutes for larger cookies, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.
  11. Remove cookies from the oven, let set on the hot pans for 2 additional minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cookies will appear pale and under baked, but they will set up as they cool. They should be soft and chewy at the center even after they have cooled (unless for some inexplicable reason, you WANT crisp cookies. J ). If not, adjust baking time for the second batch.

Makes about 2 dozen, 3-inch diameter or 4 dozen, 1½-inch diameter cookies.

Cookin’ with Gas (inspiration from around the web)

Copyright 2013 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.

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About Susan S. Bradley

Intrepid cook, food writer, culinary instructor, author of Pacific Northwest Palate: Four Seasons of Great Cooking, and founder of the Northwest Culinary Academy.

Comments

  1. Looking forward to trying these but….is there a misprint in the recipe? You mentioned baking powder twice in the post but I don’t see it listed in the ingredients…..

    • Michelle Flamer says:

      The combination of cream of tartar and baking soda is equivalent to baking powder. But, since I am not schooled in the science of baking, Susan can better explain why she elected the combination rather than simply baking powder-probably has something to do with the chewy texture she wants to achieve. Looking forward to trying these-I live in Pennsylvania and Amish snickerdoodles are plentiful!

      • Thanks for jumping in to help, Michelle! I corrected the typos in the recipe. The amount and proportion of baking soda and cream of tartar used for these cookies is odd in the world of baking. Baking powder is balanced and won’t produce this unique result (slightly acidic flavor and crinkled tops). Hoped you’ll try them, and let us know what you think…

    • Anne, thank you so much for the great catch. :-) There should be no baking powder in the recipe. I made the correction.

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