The request was for Snickerdoodles. I had to fulfill that request, as the Ford mechanic had fixed my car’s key fob for free. (Note to everyone-make sure the newly installed battery is THE RIGHT SIDE UP! My face is still red.)
In my years of cookie baking, I’ve not made Snickerdoodles, and because of that, I made this a bit of a research project. Going through a large box of Lila’s vast church cookbook collection revealed that almost every Snickerdoodle recipe was the same, with only one notable exception. Vintage recipes used ½ Cup lard and ½ Cup butter, while newer recipes used 1 Cup butter.
Snickerdoodles With or Without Lard?
I decided to make two batches, one with lard and one without. The results of my experiment both tasted good! The lard/butter combo cookies were a bit fluffier, without any difference in taste. I’ve included photos of both cookies for you to look at. A quick Google search will lay out the pros and cons of baking cookies with lard. Make your own decisions as to if you’d like to incorporate lard into your cookies or not. Bottom line; cookies are not as healthy as cucumbers.
The Ultimate Snickerdoodle Recipe
Tools You’ll Need:
- Bowl and Heavy Wooden Spoon
- Electric Mixer (optional)
- Cookie Sheets
- Cooling Racks
- 1 Cup shortening (either butter or ½ C butter + ½ C lard)
- 1 ½ Cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 t cream of tarter
- 1 t baking soda
- ½ t salt
- 1 t vanilla
- 2 ¾ C flour (sifted)
- 2T sugar
- 2 T cinnamon
Cream butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Add cream of tarter, soda, salt and vanilla, and mix. Add flour. Chill dough. Make small balls out of the dough; roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Put on sprayed cookie sheet. Press down with the bottom of a glass cup. Bake at 400˚ for 8-10 minutes.
Snickerdoodle Cooking Notes:
When you leave the butter on the counter to soften, check it occasionally. Push your finger into the top of the stick. If it leaves an indent, but the butter maintains its shape, it’s ready. You don’t want it to get too soft. That makes for messy cookies. Don’t microwave butter, that makes for really messy cookies! If you’re in a hurry, grate the too-cold butter with a cheese grater.
When you cream any sort of fat for cookies, really watch this process. You want the volume to increase to that “fluffy” look. Stop at that moment! Beyond that, the air cells will collapse and make your cookies less wonderful. You can do this creaming step with a wooden spoon, it just takes more time, but will build muscle.
All other ingredients should also be at room temperature, specifically egg and milk additions. Have you ever had your cookie dough separate and look strange at this step? It’s because adding cold ingredients to the creamed fat/sugar mixture causes a shock to your cookie batter. If you need to speed up your room temperature-ness, put the eggs in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes and put the milk in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, depending on the wattage of your microwave.
Speaking of fluffy, only mix your additional ingredients to your butter/lard/sugar mixture until they are fully incorporated. Over mixing makes for tough cookies; a thing to be as a person, but not as a cookie.