I wanted to make Snickerdoodles. I wanted to make them so bad. My nickname is “snickerdoodle,” so of course I need to make them, my namesake cookies.
But I also wanted to learn, once and for all, just what exactly a Snickerdoodle is. It seems they’re not just sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon. There was some healthy debate over this on the Internets. The consensus, and one that I don’t want to disrespect, is that Snickerdoodles have some acid added in (cream of tartar, the dried acid from grape skins), and baking soda (if using baking soda, must use acid, as well.) I have been deceived my entire life. I’d been led to believe that it doesn’t matter what’s inside Snickerdoodle as long as Snickerdoodle is happy with his life choices.
I don’t know where to find cream of tartar in this country or what it’s called in Japanese, and I saw baking soda for the first time in Japan today. So let’s try something different. But I really wanted sugar cookies…so I made sugar cookies.
I made a lot of sugar cookies. A really really lot of sugar cookies. And then I ate the other half of the dough raw.
basic sugar cookies
makes 12 – 16 large cookies
I’ve included imperial and metric measurements because Japanese cups and measuring spoons are not the same size as American. With baking, it’s always better to go by metric measurements, though. If you’re in the U.S. and using American tools, you might have to use more of each ingredient than the recipe calls for. For the teaspoons and tablespoons, the difference is negligible, but with any recipe and any measurements, amounts will differ per brand, oven type, location, tools, etc.
You can either roll the dough into balls and coat with sugar or roll it out flat and cut out shapes. If you do the former, flatten the balls a little with your palm before baking and beware that they don’t spread as much as you’d expect. Rolling out and cutting the dough works better for this recipe, and that’s easier if you’ve chilled the dough for >2 hours first.
113 g (1/2 c) unsalted butter, softened
120 g (1/2 c) granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
240 g (1 1/4) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
sugar for coating
If you’re baking immediately, preheat a conventional oven to ()…(If using a toaster oven, set it to 740 W.) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then add the sugar in 3-4 additions and beat well. When the volume increases and the mixture becomes fluffier, beat in the egg and vanilla. Beat for about a minute or more, until the batter becomes fluffy again.
In a smaller bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
Beat the flour mixture into the batter in 5 – 7 additions, beating fully after each one. When the dough starts to stiffen, turn up the speed on the mixer to soften it a little.
The dough is ready when it doesn’t stick to your fingers any more. If you add too much extra flour, the cookies will be dry.
If making balls of dough, use a tablespoon to scoop the dough, roll lightly in between your hands, then coat in granulated sugar. Arrange on a baking sheet a few inches apart and press down lightly to flatten. Bake for 6 – 10 minutes.
If rolling the dough out, form the dough into a ball and lay it on top of a long sheet of cling wrap (with ~1/4 of the wrap to one side and ~3/4 to the other side.) Press the dough out until it almost reaches the sides of the wrap (and is ~1 inch thick), then fold the cling wrap in half, sandwiching the dough. Seal the wrap and transfer the dough to the refrigerator. When you’re ready to bake, roll out the dough until it’s 1 cm or 1/2 inch thick, then cut the shapes out and arrange on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Form the excess dough into a ball, roll out, and chill again for >2 hours.
Baking: In a conventional oven preheated to (), bake for 7 – 10 minutes and take out before they start turning brown. They should still be soft, as they’ll firm up when they cool down. If using a toaster oven, toast for 7 – 10 minutes at 740 W. Let cool in the oven for a few minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Try not to eat them all in one go. Try your best.