Cookies are one of the only things my family always made from scratch when I was growing up. One of our favorites was the Snickerdoodle. I appreciate the slight tang that comes from the use of cream of tartar. Imagine my horror when I ventured out into the great wide world of commercial baking and realized that some people simply rolled sugar cookies in cinnamon and sugar and stamped the Snickerdoodle name onto them. The rogues! Any cookie connoisseur should know that a Snickerdoodle isn’t simply a sugar cookie.
I altered my family’s recipe only slightly when I moved out on my own, swapping all shortening for a 50/50 combo of shortening and butter. The 100% shortening version produces lump-like cookies, while the addition of butter lets them spread, gives them a tender texture, and also makes them taste a little better. (Duh! Butter = better!) This is not that recipe, but it’s pretty darn close. I used brown sugar in place of white and replaced the cinnamon with cardamom a few years ago to try to spruce things up, and now I have two Snickerdoodle recipes I love to make.
Cardamom is something people always raved about, but it took me a few tries to get used to it. At first, I was underwhelmed by cardamom because it is a much more subtle flavor than what I was expecting from all the “hype” surrounding it. I’m not sure why, but I was expecting it to be all, “I’m heeeeeere!” like cinnamon is. Cardamom is much more delicate than that, though, and once I realized that, I came to love it for what it is. Cardamom seems to make sweet things taste even sweeter to me, so these cookies are quite the sugar rush!
- 3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons ground cardamom, divided
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup (95 grams) shortening
- 1½ cups (300 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, 1 teaspoon cardamom, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and shortening together until smooth and creamy. Add brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in eggs and vanilla.
- With the mixer on low, gradually add dry ingredients to the wet, until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir a couple times with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is evenly incorporated.
- In a small bowl, mix together granulated sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon cardamom.
- With a medium disher, scoop dough and roll into balls. (If the dough is too soft to roll, pop the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes, until it is firm enough to roll.) Coat each dough ball in the sugar-cardamom mixture and place on lined baking sheets.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, until cookies are lightly brown around the edges. Place pans on wire racks and allow cookies to cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then move the cookies directly the wire racks to finish cooling.