Classic snickerdoodles, but lower in fat and sugar

Classic Snickerdoodles

Classic snickerdoodles, October 2011

Why are snickerdoodles so good even though the ingredients are so basic and straightforward? Coated with cinnamon-sugar and with a crackled top, this cookie is greater than the sum of its parts.

This traditional wheat flour recipe is a softer version and contains less sugar and butter than some snickerdoodles. These cookies freeze well.

Eileen's Classic Snickerdoodles
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 30
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. For easy cleanup, place parchment paper on baking sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and 3/4 cup sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons white sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Form dough into level tablespoon-sized balls. Roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on baking sheets 2 inches apart and flatten with fingertips.
  7. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown slightly around the edges. Remove from baking sheets to cooling rack. Store in airtight container. Freeze if desired.
Serving size: 1 cookie; Calories: 86; Fat: 3g; Saturated fat: 2g; Unsaturated fat: 0g Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates: 12g; Sugar: 6g; Fiber: 0g; Protein: 1g; Cholesterol: 21mg.


Shared at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.


2 Responses to “Classic snickerdoodles, but lower in fat and sugar”

  1. EM McGhee says:

    Eileen, I wonder if you would be willing to discuss Snickerdoodles with me and help me problem-solve. I remember Snickerdoodles as a mildly sweet sugar-cookie with its spiced-sugar shell as its defining feature — much lik what your recipe describes. Apparently a puffy, cake-like version has pushed the original style off center-stage.

    I tried a ‘Pumpkin Snickerdoodle’ recipe from (yes, no ‘e’ in Kitchn) and was dismayed by its intense sweetness and its cake-like texture. Quantities were much like yours, with 1C sugar (half white, half brown) to 2C (white) flour. Recipe called for 1/4 – 1/2C canned pumpkin puree (w only 1 egg if 1/2 C puree used).

    I would like to try cutting the sugar to as little as 1/2-2/3C (white) sugar to 2C flour. However, I know that sugar (white or brown), when creamed with the butter, create a particular texture/structure in a cookie. In your opinion, how low can I go with the sugar/flour ratio while still obtaining a soft sugar-cookie texture?

    I realize that the pumpkin puree (creamed in with the sugar/butter/egg(s)) also adds moisture and seems to have melted the sugars, making the texture more cake-like. (In my next attempt, I will pre-cook the pumpkin to remove moisture and brown the sugars somewhat.)

    I am not familiar with ‘all-purpose wheat flour’; would WW pastry flour do, or is ‘AP wheat’ a different flour entirely?

    Once I’ve worked out the texture, I can see where chickpea and/or millet flour would be good alternate flours to combine with a light-flavored wheat flour.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

    (PS I don’t have the link to the recipe handy, but I can locate it if you want to see it — it was published recently and can be found with a site-search.)

    Best regards, EM

    • ebaran says:

      Hi EM,

      Thanks for your inquiry, and sorry for the delayed response. I’ve been working on a kitchen remodel–almost finished, thank goodness–and it’s taken more time than I ever would have imagined.

      As far as the snickerdoodle variations in general, I have to tell you, I’m no expert. Most of my baked goods recipes posted here have been preceded by multiple “failures.” Baking is pretty formula-dependent, and as you point out, reducing an ingredient can have a big effect. But I remember my grandmother telling me, when I commented how good her cookies were, that she would always cut the sugar in half. I’m all for experimenting–even a less-than-perfect batch can still be edible.

      As for the flour, whole wheat pastry flour is good for cookies–it has less protein (so less gluten to develop and become tough) and can make for a tender result. I’m not sure about the other flours.

      As for the sugar, I’m using the minimum amount of unrefined/minimally refined sugars these days (primarily honey and maple syrup). I’d love to come up with a gluten-free, grain-free snickerdoodle that has the features of the classic recipe, but the sugar coating is such a main feature that I’m not sure if it would convert.

      As for the recipe with pumpkin puree (I like The Kitchn’s site, by the way), it looks interesting and delicious.

      If you do some more experimenting, I’d love to hear what you end up with.

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