On Sugar and Spice

Fine, I didn’t really need to make cookies. But, I had a perfectly good excuse.

Namely, a brand shiny new KitchenAid mixer(!) and a feeling of nostalgia.


As good a reason as any, if you ask me.

So, Snickerdoodles it was.

These cookies seem to have no traceable orgin, as far as I’ve read—admittedly, it hasn’t been all that extensive a search—and certainly no reasonable explaination for the silly sounding name.

To me, though, they sound perfectly Yankee. Fitting, in fact, since the first time I tried them was the dining halls of my New England college, when nothing else seemed appealing—hello, freshman fifteen.


The spice, the cinnamon, creates a nice counterbalance to the buttery, rich dough.

And, the smell. Oh, the smell. It makes me think of the snow days of my childhood in the New York suburbs, tucked warmly in bed, while my mother baked in our kitchen below. The prefect antidote to a burst of homesickness during the first snow of a cold Boston’s winter during my college days.

Or, now, a case of doldrums brought upon by an unseasonably chilly Spring day in New York.


Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

According to the recipe notes, this recipe makes three dozen 3 to 4-inch cookies. Mine were about 3-inches in diameter and crunchier than I like. I’d scale back the baking time next time I cook these. And, of course, there will be next time, as half of the dough is sitting in my freezer.* I made about two dozen cookies from half the dough.

A few other things worth mentioning:

  • You could make this recipe with a hand mixer, or even good old-fashioned stirring with a wooden spoon. It might make your arms slightly sore, but then again you are eating cookies made with 2 sticks of butter…

  • I added nutmeg and cardamom into the dough, because I had them around the house, and I wanted to give the cookies a slightly warmer, more complex flavor. I also upped the cinnamon because I wanted some mixed into the dough.

  • The spots you see on the baking sheet are from water. I add a few drops before putting the parchment down as it helps the paper stay in place.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 stick or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Waxed paper works here, too, although be warned: your kitchen will smell like melting wax. unpleasant, yes, but the flavor doesn’t get into the cookies. Unless, of course, my taste buds are dead.

Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, 1 TBS cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt; set aside.

Combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until everything is well creamed. Scrape down sides of bowl. Adding eggs one at a time, beat to combine.

Add dry ingredients in thirds, using a medium speed to combine with each new addition.

Let dough rest.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 2 TBS cinnamon.

Form balls of the dough, and roll in cinnamon sugar.

Place about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack , approx. 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway. Once cookies are out of the oven, cool before eating.

*I’m guessing here, but I think that this dough should store well for at least 3 months. Simply defrost before using, roll out and enjoy. Err, after baking first.


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Filed under Cookies, Dessert

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