Two weeks ago, I was driving down to see my friend M when I pull my car over for a pit stop.   When trying to leave, I discover that I can’t shift out of neutral.

After liberal amounts of pleading with my car to reconsider being completely undriveable, I give up and call M.

“Sooo, I’m in a tiny town off 99 that smells like manure, and my car doesn’t seem to work.”

“You need me to come get you?”

“Yeah, kind of looking in that direction.”

When I finally get towed to the only mechanic in town that works on transmissions, I find they don’t have a night key drop.  I’m forced to leave to leave the car and take the keys. M ends up picking me up and driving me the hour to the house, then back again in the morning to bring back my keys.

Then, I find out that my transmission is shot and needs to be completely worked over.  The car won’t be ready until Wednesday: I need to be home Sunday.  M drives me the three hours home.

After all that, the very least I could do for him was bake cookies.

Now I am particularly inclined toward world peace cookies, or chocolate chip cinnamon oatmeal cookies, but since I wasn’t the one destined to be chowing down, I decided I better ask.

I always thought of snickerdoodles as the plain Jane of cookies.  Nothing objectionable, no one really dislikes them, but nothing to make them shine.  Apparently they are the star for some people.

I pulled out my well worn (and dough covered) cookie book that houses my favorite Christmas cookie recipes, and the best snickerdoodle recipe I’ve ever found.

Even then I can’t help but tinker.

Instead of flattening the dough balls with a glass coated in sugar and cinnamon, I roll the dough balls around in the stuff.  I like cinnamon.  And I can’t actually figure out how to get sugar and cinnamon to stick to a glass in the first place.  Maybe I’m supposed to butter the glass, then flatten?  Either way, just coating the cookie balls seems like the better plan.

I also give the sugar in the coating an upgrade to vanilla sugar, though I am not certain that the positive effects aren’t just psychological.  Vanilla is a subtle thing.

Last, I have decided that unless it is a cool day, I prefer to chill the dough a bit.  It keeps the cookies compact and chewy instead of thin and crispy.  Either way is good, I just like my snickerdoodles chewy.

Really, these cookies deserve more than the plain Jane reputation I give them.  I love them every time I make them because they are simple enough to really let the butter, vanilla, and cinnamon take center stage.  They don’t need to be fancy, because their simplicity is what makes them shine.




  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 0.25 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3.75 cups flour
  • 0.5 teaspoon baking soda
  • 0.5 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 0.5 cups vanilla sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well.
  4. Blend in milk and vanilla.
  5. Stir together dry ingredients, then add into creamed mixture.
  6. For chewier cookies, chill for 15 minutes. For thinner, crispier cookies, do not chill.
  7. Mix together the cinnamon and vanilla sugar in a small bowl.
  8. Form dough into 1 inch balls, roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.
  9. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  10. Bake at 375 F till done 10-12 minutes. Cookies should still be pale, but not doughy to the touch.
  11. Let rest on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes, before removing to wire cooling rack.

6 thoughts on “Snickerdoodles

  1. Ok, so, I was totally going to make sugar cookies for this cookie swap…but I think I’ll make these instead, because any recipe that has vanilla…has my heart.

    • I normally get around 3 dozen. The original recipe claims it makes 5 dozen, but I have never ended up with nearly that many.

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