Recipe Spotlight: Snickerdoodle Skillet Cookie
A simple recipe for the classic snickerdoodle cookie, spun into a new dessert.
Snickerdoodles are curious cookies — I'm sure I wasn't the only kid who was disappointed that it was not the cookie version of the Snickers candy bar. However, I was charmed by the cinnamon and sugar and, after I got past my initial reaction, I delighted in the snickerdoodle's simplicity. That's also probably one of the reasons why it's an iconic cookie.
But it wasn't always such a simple cookie — it's evolved and improved over the last century. To nudge the evolution a little further, we put together a snickerdoodle recipe in the form of a skillet cookie. This recipe is one of our Guided Recipe Videos — click the blue "make it now" button to look at the step-by-step videos, and you'll see just how easy it is to make.
Like many recipes, the origin of the snickerdoodle is hard to pin down. Some believe it's derived from the Pennsylvania Dutch, others think it hails from Germany, and still more claim it was conceived in New England. How we landed on the ingredients in the simple recipes we know today is just as hard to trace — I won't go into the details, but I will tell you that most of the early recipes called for (gasp!) raisins or dried currants and nuts — a far cry from the simple cinnamon-sugar cookie we love.
According to foodtimeline.org, in the early 20th century the idea traveled west from the East Coast and stopped around the Mississippi River long enough for the recipe to be shaped and perfected by Midwestern bakers. Today, Yummly's data team has discovered that people in the Pacific Northwest, Idaho, and Utah are the most eager to make snickerdoodles. We're pretty confident that people from coast to coast will enjoy this recipe.
Because people love snickerdoodles as they are, we didn't mess with the recipe too much to make it into a skillet cookie, but we guarantee that turning your favorite cookie into a decadent dessert is easy enough that the first time you make it won't be the last time.
Cream of Tartar
In addition to the dusting of cinnamon and sugar before baking, the other ingredient that makes a snickerdoodle unique from other cookies is cream of tartar. It's not an ingredient you find in many other cookie recipes unless you're making meringue cookies. It's typically used to stabilize whipped egg whites so they stay fluffy longer. But snickerdoodles don't call for whipped eggs, just whole eggs beat into the batter. Some recipe authors say it makes the cookie dough smoother, but others say it gives the cookies a tang. We kept it in to stay true to tradition.
Cornstarch is another ingredient you don't commonly see in cookie recipes, but because this is a skillet cookie, we wanted it to be slightly cake-like. Cake flour is low in protein which produces delicate cakes. Because cornstarch has very little protein, adding it to all-purpose flour creates a mixture similar to cake flour and it's the cakeyness of this skillet cookie that raises it to sit-down dessert status.
There are a few ideas and methods we want to share to show you the possibilities of the recipe.
Scrape down the bowl
Whether you're using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl so all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
If you want to make the cookie dough ahead of time, before you add the cinnamon-sugar mixture you can store it in an airtight container the freezer for up to six months or in the refrigerator for up to three days. When you're ready to bake, let it warm up a little bit so that it's pliable but still very cold, and then press it into your skillet (you don't want it to be room temperature).
You can use this recipe to make individual cookies as well. After the dry ingredients and wet ingredients come together, use a cookie scoop or a spoon to form the mixture into dough balls. In a small bowl, double the cinnamon to 2 teaspoons and the sugar to three tablespoons and toss the balls of dough in the mixture to coat them. Place them on a baking mat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake in an oven preheated to 375°F for 8-10 minutes for a chewy cookie, or 12-14 minutes for a crispy cookie. It will increase your prep time a little bit, but cuts down on cooking time.
Chill the dough
If you're making individual cookies, after you roll the dough in the cinnamon and sugar, refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes before you bake so the cookies don't spread too much.
Whether you want a dessert to pack into lunch boxes or you want a sweet end to an elaborate meal, this recipe hits all the right spots.