Pastry chef and author Joanne Chang, owner of Flour Bakery + Café, says that the crackly pattern on the surface of these cookies captivated her when she was a child, but now she mostly appreciates their simplicity. According to her, snickerdoodles are what home-baking nostalgia is all about.
- 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) (8 oz./250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups (1 lb./500 g) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz./390 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) ground cinnamon
Using a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater (or a handheld mixer or a wooden spoon), cream together the butter and 1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g) of the sugar on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (This step will take about 10 minutes if using a handheld mixer or a spoon.) Stop the mixer a few times and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and the beater. Beat in the eggs on medium speed until thoroughly combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl and beater again to make sure the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar. On low speed (or with the wooden spoon), slowly blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture, and then mix just until the flour is totally incorporated and the dough is evenly mixed.
For the best results, scrape the dough into an airtight container and let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 3 to 4 hours) before baking. The unbaked dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
When ready to bake, preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sugar and the cinnamon. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and roll to coat. Place the coated balls of dough on a baking sheet, spacing them about 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand.
Bake until the cookies are golden brown on the edges but still slightly soft in the center, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Recipe adapted from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe, by Joanne Chang (Chronicle Books, 2010)