But these funny-named cookies are seriously good
Snickerdoodles, also called sugar biscuits, are vanilla-flavored cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking. A key ingredient is cream of tartar for a better rise, a tangier taste and chewier texture.
The cookies are far better homemade because store-bought varieties tend to be flat and crunchy.
But have you ever wondered how snickerdoodles got their funny name?
Well, there are a couple of theories. A theory by cookbook “Joy of Cooking” is that snickerdoodles are of German descent and the name is a corruption of the word schneckennudeln, which translates to snail dumpling.
Another theory suggests that the word “snicker” comes from the Dutch word snekrad, or the German word schnecke, which both describe a snail-like shape.
The sugar biscuits as we know them were brought to the United States by Dutch immigrants and the name was born in New England, according to biscuitpeople.com.
“Earlier names for cookies such as snickerdoodles and cry babies originated with the New England states,” according to the online trade publication for the biscuit industry.
New England was known for playful, whimsical cookie names and some historians believe the snickerdoodle was invented in the 19th century there.
Others point to an American series of tall tales about a hero named Snickerdoodle from the early 1900s, which might be related to the name of the cookie.
Etymology aside, snickerdoodles are a classic cookie.
Yields: 30 cookies
1⁄2 cup butter, softened
1⁄2 cup shortening
11⁄2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 F and place rack in the center of the oven.
Cream together butter, shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into 11⁄2 diameter balls.
Mix the 2 tablespoons each of sugar and cinnamon. Roll the balls of dough in the mixture to completely cover the surface. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until set, but not hard. Remove immediately from baking sheet to cooling rack.
Phil Newton is a Galveston baker/cook. He’s the owner/operator of Stiglich Corner with partner Cindy Roberts.