I have had plenty of snickerdoodle cookies that are reminiscent of dry cinnamon toast–crumbly and unflavorful and crunchy.  And really, that is not what I want from a cookie.  I want something that is soft and gooey and chewy.  And this is what these cookies are.

Most snickerdoodle recipes call for cream of tartar.  I had never even heard of cream of tartar until a couple of years ago when I was in the grocery store with my mom and a girl a few years older than me asked my mom where she could find it because my mom “looked like someone who might know.”  And I understand the girl’s confusion.  Because it’s not a cream at all.  It’s a chalky powder that is apparently a by-product of wine making, and is also known as potassium bitartrate (which I’m sure you wanted to know).  It’s often used to stabilize egg whites and (as in this recipe) can be combined with baking soda to make something more akin to baking powder.  And in my opinion it adds a salty acidity in the cookie that begs to be paired with the spicy sweetness of cinnamon, striking the perfect balance.

adapted from

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Other Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes

Makes 4 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1  1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar (for coating)
3 teaspoons cinnamon (for coating)

1.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs, mixing well.
2.  In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.  Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture.
3.  Cover dough in plastic wrap.  Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
4.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
5.  In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
6.  Scoop dough out, about a tablespoon at a time, and roll into balls.  Roll balls in cinnamon and sugar mixture and place on cookie sheet.
7.  Bake for 10 minutes, until cookies have flattened but are still soft.  Let cool on baking sheet for a couple of minutes, and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

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