classic snickerdoodles

Classic Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles were popular in the 1900’s on the Easy Coast especially in Pennsylvania and New England and continue to be very popular today, including here in the Coal Region. They are great throughout the year, but my childhood memories equate them with always being a part of cookie trays and swaps here in the Coal Region. Always. They are one of my must-have cookies each and every Christmas.

Widespread popularity

I have an extensive collection of cookbooks (in the hundreds) and I would be hard-pressed to find an Amish/Mennonite/Pennsylvania Dutch one that does not include at least one recipe for snickerdoodles. Recipes for the cookies can be found in print going back to at least 1889.

There are lots of theories about the true name and origin of this widely-loved cookie but seems to largely be credited to the German word “schneckennudeln“, which, loosely translated, means “cinnamon-dusted sweet rolls”.

Easy to make, hard to resist

Snickerdoodles are easy to make, cinnamon-sugar dusted drop cookies created using common pantry staples. I always recommend using a good quality butter when baking these (and any cookies) and leave the “bargain” butters for spreading on your toast.

What sets these apart from plain sugar cookies

Make sure you don’t skip the key ingredient in these cookies critical to their signature taste, cream of tartar which prevents them from developing a sugar-crystal “crunch” that typical sugar cookies have.

My snickerdoodle recipe uses both butter and shortening which yields a cookie that is a bit crisp on the edges with a soft and chewy center. You can use all butter if you prefer instead of a mix of butter and shortening which will result in a “crispier” snickerdoodle.

Shape, roll, bake…enjoy!

I like to bake these on a parchment or silicone baking mat lined cookie sheet which makes clean-up easy and prevents the sugar-cinnamon coating from getting stuck on the pan during baking.

I use a #50 scoop to measure out even balls of dough resulting in very uniform cookies which are impressive on the holiday cookie platter.

Whatever the origin of these lovely cookies, they have definitely won a well-deserved place on the “must-have” list from my Coalcracker Kitchen at Christmas.

Classic Snickerdoodles

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: DessertsCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Easy

A crinkled-top drop cookie topped with ground cinnamon and sugar.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Cinnamon Sugar Mix
  • 3 Tablespoons white sugar

  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Pre-heat oven to 375F degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In small bowl mix 3 Tablespoons white sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon together well. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, cream together butter, shortening, and 1-1/2 cups sugar until light and well blended.
  • Add eggs and the vanilla to the creamed mixture and blend well.
  • Stir in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt until well blended.
  • Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, form dough into balls (about 1 1/4 inches in diameter.
  • Roll balls of dough in cinnamon/sugar mixture until completely coated on all sides.
  • Place the cookies 2 inches apart on parchment or silicone-lined lined baking sheets.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until just lightly browned on the edges.
  • Allow to cool on baking sheet 2 or 3 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.


  • These cookies can be made using all butter rather than made with some shortening which will result in a crispier cookie.