All you cookie fans out there, this post is for you!
We all know just how much a good cookie can lift your mood and make your taste buds sing with joy. Yet, this post is taking things to a whole new level.
In this showdown, I’m comparing two of my all-time favorite snacks: sugar cookies vs. Snickerdoodles. How are they different? What sets them apart? Do they taste the same?
I’m going to be answering all these questions and more. So, let’s get started!
Snickerdoodles are a type of cookie made with the same basic ingredients as the standard sugar cookie we all know and love.
However, snickerdoodles aren’t as sweet, but rather tangy. This is a result of the nutmeg and cinnamon added to the original sugar cookie recipe. Some recipes even call for a touch of cream of tartar, which also enhances their tangy flavor.
Snickerdoodles are also chewy, but have a bit of a crunch because they’re covered in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar before baking.
There are a handful of cookbooks out there that explain how snickerdoodles have been around since the late 1800s. Yet, there’s no consensus on how they got their name.
Currently, there are two stories that describe how these yummy cookies got such a bizarre-sounding name.
The first one is that the Snickerdoodle got its name from a German cookie. Known as the schneckennudeln, it’s a kind of cinnamon bun made in the same way using similar ingredients as our very own Snickerdoodle.
The second variation of the story claims that the origin of this cinnamon-and-sugar-covered cookie goes back to New England’s tradition of naming cookies with whimsical names. In this version of events, the snickerdoodle is believed to have gotten its name from the popular cinnamon-scented cake recipe called the ‘snip doodle.’
Yes and no. here’s why:
The recipe for making Snickerdoodle cookies is almost identical to the recipe used for making traditional sugar cookies, namely flour, butter, and sugar. Yet, there are a couple of extra ingredients added to the Snickerdoodle dough not found in sugar cookies: nutmeg, cinnamon, and sometimes cream of tartar.
The cream of tartar adds a bit of tartness to the cookies, enhancing their flavor and giving them a more pleasant taste. It also eliminates the need for baking powder, which is an essential ingredient in sugar cookies.
Instead, snickerdoodle recipes call for baking soda. The cream of tartar binds with the baking soda and helps give them that pillowy, chewy texture they’re famous for.
Classic sugar cookies have a more vanilla flavor. They’re sweet and buttery with slightly crunchy edges and a soft and chewy texture.
On the other hand, snickerdoodles have more tanginess due to the nutmeg and cream of tartar. They also offer a punch of cinnamon and sugar flavor because of the extra ingredients mixed in, such as the cinnamon and sugar mix used for coating.
Another point of difference is their color and texture.
Sugar cookies are pale in color, even when rolled in sugar prior to baking. They have crisp edges and a soft, smooth center.
Alternatively, snickerdoodles have a darker color because of the cinnamon and nutmeg.
Their texture, while chewy and delicious, has more of a crunch to it than conventional sugar cookies. They have more of a rough feel to them because of the crinkly sugar-coated top.
Sugar cookies need to be carefully placed on the cookie sheet, precisely cut and shaped. Plus, they come out with golden, smooth surfaces ready to be eaten or decorated.
Then again, snickerdoodles can care less about what they look like. They’re happy coming out any which way and they don’t care, even if that means their tops are crackled and their shapes are uneven.
Snickerdoodles don’t require any special type of shaping or cutting. Plus, you don’t have to decorate them after baking, making them the perfect choice for when you want a quick and easy cookie recipe.
Yet, if you have more time and love being creative, then sugar cookies are the way to go. They’re super customizable and can be decorated in a wide range of frosting colors and flavors.
Since snickerdoodles are made using practically the same recipe as sugar cookies, you can certainly use any type of sugar cookie dough you prefer. Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to make snickerdoodles with sugar cookie dough:
- Add 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar to the sugar cookie dough, and knead until combined.
- After that, shape the dough into 35–40 1 ¼-inch balls.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix 1 ½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar, and ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg.
- Next, roll out the dough balls into the mixture before spreading on a cookie sheet.
- Make sure to place them about 2 inches apart because they’ll spread slightly.
- Bake in a preheated oven set to 375℉ for 7–9 minutes until edges set.
- After removing the cookies from the oven, allow them to cool for a minute before transferring them from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack.
- Then, cover the cookies and let them cool completely for no less than 30 minutes before serving.
- You can also store them in an airtight container at room temperature where they’ll stay fresh for up to five days.
To keep both your sugar cookies and snickerdoodles soft and chewy for as long as possible, it’s critical to use proper storage techniques. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you out:
Do allow the cookies to cool completely and reach room temperature. Then, once they’ve cooled, place them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.
If you’ve decorated sugar cookies with royal icing, you can store them loosely stacked in an airtight container. Just make sure the icing has completely dried and hardened.
Don’t store warm cookies in a covered container or resealable plastic bag. They’ll release moisture that will become trapped in the container, causing condensation, which can lead to soggy, limpy cookies.
Furthermore, trapped moisture can also promote the growth of mold. That’s the last thing you want to happen to your delicious cookies that you worked so hard to prepare and make.
Don’t stack sugar cookies if you decorate them with buttercream. That will only cause the frosting to smear.
Made a big batch of cookies and want to freeze them? It’s easy. Take a look:
- Start by ‘flash freezing’ snickerdoodles as well as plain or iced sugar cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for about one hour to prevent them from sticking together in the freezer.
- Next, remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and place them in an airtight container in the freezer where they can be stored for up to six months.
- Now, you can pull out how ever many cookies you want at a time without having them being lumped together.
Now you know everything there is about the sugar cookies vs. snickerdoodle cookies showdown.
While each type of cookie has a distinct flavor and texture, they both share quite a few things, such as their baking process and storage techniques.
Plus, the base ingredients used for both are somewhat similar. You can even say that Snickerdoodles are, in a way, a mix between sugar cookies and cinnamon rolls rolled into one.
Whichever cookie you choose to bake, you’re sure to have a delightful treat that will wow your family and friends.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.