My sister is introducing my teenage nephew to the joys of baking. More often than not my nephew gravitates to simple chocolate sweets - chocolate ice cream, red velvet cake, Kit Kats. He is decidedly against nuts of any kind. With that in mind, my sister started him with the classic chocolate chip cookie. He liked them but said there were too many ingredients, too many steps.


After a little thought, she tried snickerdoodles and, surprisingly, they were a hit. With several batches under our family's collective belt, it's clear this simple cookie is a family favorite. My nephew may not be ready to bake them on his own but he's learning a lot about the science of baking and its delicious rewards.

What is a snickerdoodle?

A snickerdoodle is like a sugar cookie that is bathed in a delicious cinnamon sugar coating. I always considered the snickerdoodle a classic cookie but from my very brief Internet research it seems to be an American classic cookie. I was surprised watching an episode of the Great British Baking Show when Mary Berry claimed not to have heard of a snickerdoodle, thinking the contestant was kidding.

Regardless of its history, snickerdoodles are simple and delicious. A key ingredient that distinguishes a snickerdoodle from a sugar cookie is cream of tartar. From what I've read, the cream of tartar helps to activate the baking soda and gives the snickerdoodle its signature chew.

What I love about this particular recipe is that in spite of it's thin profile it is both crispy and chewy at the same time. They are great the day they are baked but also several days later (if they last that long). We have even experimented with sandwiching ice cream between two cookies. (The ice cream sandwiches need more work but if we can get them right you'll see a recipe in the future.)

A quick note about baking in the tropics

I've mentioned this before but sometimes I find that the humidity in Hawaii can have an effect on cookies in particular. Cookies that were crunchy in Boston in the winter can be chewy in Hawaii. I don't know enough about the science of baking but there's no doubt that humidity can play a factor in the end result of your bakes. I would be curious to know if anyone experiences this as a crispy cookie, not a crispy chewy cookie. Let me know in the comments below.

Having said that, if you haven't tried baking snickerdoodles, please try this recipe. I think you're going to be very pleased with the results.