I love snickerdoodles. It is sometimes confused as a sugar cookie that has been rolled in cinnamon, however, the distinction would be the addition of cream of tartar, which you don't find in a sugar cookie dough. I loved when my mother made snickerdoodles; the aroma from the oven of these wonderful cookies would make me stop what I was doing in anticipation of eating one. I've discovered that the snickerdoodle dates back to 19th century New England, although some think they came from Germany. I just know this recipe was originally from my grandmother, who cut it out from a 1958 Good Housekeeping magazine. I don't remember her making them a lot, but my mother would. I copied her recipe when I got married, but through the years, I've altered it a bit. However, one thing I always use is shortening, not butter. I've tried snickerdoodle recipes with butter and they don't have the same crispness to them, which is just as important as the characteristically cracked surface.
1 cup shortening (I use Crisco's butter-flavored, in a stick)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla + the seeds from 1 vanilla bean
3 cups All-purpose flour
2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then, add the vanilla and seeds. Sift the dry ingredients and add to the mixture. Blend together and chill dough 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375F-degrees. I used a one-third cup scoop (for a large cookie) to measure out the dough, then roll it in the sugar/spice mixture. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Press each cookie down, slightly or use a fork to criss-cross across them (just like a peanut butter cookie). Bake this larger version 12 minutes (or until light, golden brown) rotating the pan half-way through the baking time. Remove to rack to cool. This larger cookie makes approximately 20 cookies, but if you go for the "walnut-sized" as is typical, you will get about 3 dozen.
Note: The smaller size will bake in 8 to 10 minutes.
Now, get yourself a glass of milk and enjoy these with your kids!