Twice as Tasty


I’ve tried a few other alterations to this recipe, but only one lets these cookies retain their name: sourdough starter, which boosts the cookies’ tanginess

By Julie Laing
Snickerdoodles by Julie Laing

Snickerdoodles dominated my grandmother’s cookie jar, and they remain my favorite all-occasion cookie. Their combination of sweet and slightly tart, thanks to the cream of tartar, makes it impossible to eat just one, but I don’t mind: The cookies mix up quickly, and baking them infuses the house with cinnamon.

The cream of tartar and cinnamon “make” the snickerdoodle. Leave out both, and you have a simple sugar cookie. My grandmother made snickerdoodles with vegetable shortening, but I prefer a blend of butter and coconut oil – just enough of the latter to make the dough workable without imparting an overpowering coconut flavor.

I’ve tried a few other alterations to this recipe, but only one lets these cookies retain their name: sourdough starter, which boosts the cookies’ tanginess. Cookies like snickerdoodles can be a delicious first bake with starter that’s been ignored in the fridge for a few weeks. Use it, feed it and then mix dough for a loaf of bread.

I recommend replacing some of the flour and liquid in a cookie recipe with about 1/2 cup (120 grams) of sourdough starter. For Sourdough Snickerdoodles, I use just 1 egg, mixing the starter into the butter instead, and reduce the flour to 2-1/4 cups.

You could bake snickerdoodle dough right after mixing, but cold dough holds its shape better. For small-batch baking, shape the dough, roll the balls in the cinnamon mixture and freeze them on a baking sheet before transferring them to a freezer bag. Bake the dough balls straight from the freezer, adding two minutes to the timer.


Makes about 60 cookies

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup coconut oil

1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

2 eggs

2-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and coconut oil, and then mix in 1-1/2 cups of sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; stir these dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

Remove the dough from the fridge. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar with the cinnamon. Ball up a generous tablespoon of dough, roll it in the cinnamon coating and place it on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining balls, spacing them about 2 inches apart, until the sheet is full.

Bake at 400°F for 10–12 minutes, until the cookies are firm in the center but only lightly browned on the bottom. Immediately remove them to a wire rack to cool. Scrape any crumbs from the cookie sheet and repeat the process with the remaining dough. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

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