What is the greatest American cookie?
My current vote: The Snickerdoodle.
Now, in the UK, they call cookies “biscuits”. They also call them cookies but mostly they clarify this with “American” before the use of the word “cookie”. After copious sampling, I cannot really tell you the difference between a “biscuit” and a “cookie” except that, in the UK, biscuits are store bought (and crunchy) and American cookies are usually fresh from the bakery (and soft). And mostly your choices are chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, white chocolate chip and maybe, if someone is feeling adventurous, oatmeal.
In other words, the Brits do not know of the Snickerdoodle.
Whereas the United States of Americais a custard wasteland and really should embrace all the beauty that is custard, the United Kingdom needs to be introduced to the Snickerdoodle. And this I will do right now. It is my public service for the day, or even the decade.
See, before I left the UK I had friends over and made Snickerdoodles for dessert. Except for MM, none of them had ever tasted them. After snarfing down the first four stacks of cookies I generously (I thought) presented, it was requested that I replenish them. I did this, of course, being the awesome hostess I am. However, I did it with a heavy heart seeing as my friends eating all my Snickerdoodles meant, when they left, for the next few days I couldn’t snarf down the remainder.
So I know this will be popular because I’ve tested this theory.
All my American brethren, you already have this recipe. For my English friends, this is my gift to you.
- 2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (I have used soda or bicarb so don’t worry if you don’t have powder)
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
(I found this might not be enough so you may want to add a wee bit more – in fact, I’ve actually made a shed load of this and keep it in a plastic baggie in case the Snickerdoodle craving comes over me, which is often)
How to do it…
In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients by whisking together the flour, salt and baking powder.
Hopefully you have a fabulous KitchenAid mixer like I do and if you do, in that (or if you don’t, use a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. It’s a good idea between eggs and then before the next step to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Now, add the vanilla extract. Then it’s time to add the flour mixture (I do this in two or three goes, beating it in fully then adding more after more scraping – I don’t know why I do this, it is probably totally unnecessary, but it makes me feel like somewhat of a cookie baker goddess so I do it). Now beat this until you have a smooth dough.
At this point, cover the dough and pop it in the fridge until it is firm (about one to two hours). As a side note: I would definitely give the dough fridge time for when you form the cookies, it will be easier/less sticky to work with and it will form nicer cookies and spread less when they bake. I suppose you could be lazy and not do this though I have never been lazy whilst making Snickerdoodles (I don’t mess around with cookies, they have my avid attention and I give them all my energy) so I cannot say what will happen if you do.
Once the dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place rack in center of the oven. Don’t bother with greasing or lining your baking sheets, even rolled in cinnamon and sugar, these cookies don’t stick.
Make your coating in a shallow bowl that has room to move by mixing together the sugar and cinnamon.
Next up, shape the dough into 1 inch round balls.
Then roll the balls of dough in the cinnamon sugar and place on your baking/cookie sheet giving them space to spread. But before popping these suckers in the oven, use the bottom of a glass to flatten each cookie just a wee bit.
Slide your sheets into the oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes (this will be shorter if you have a fan-assisted oven so keep an eye on them) or until they are light golden brown and firm around the edges. Don’t bake too long, you want the middle of the cookies to be soft. Slide the sheets out of the oven, scoop them off and put them on a wire rack to cool.
This recipe makes about 4-5 dozen cookies – YEE HA! Plenty for awhile (unless you have company)!