Did you say Snickerdoodles?

New Englanders love to give silly names to simple dishes, just for the sake of saying them!

My granddaughter asked to make snickerdoodles the other day. She asked me multiple times, using the word as much as possible because it is really lots of fun to say. “It should be a grandmother to make snickerdoodles for her grandchildren the first time because snickerdoodles are fun,” she said to me. “Let’s make snickerdoodles. Snickerdoodles!”

So, we made snickerdoodles.

For those of you unfamiliar with this regional cookie, it is simple but flavorful. It uses a modest handful of pantry ingredients, they require little fuss, and the batch fills a cookie jar and a whole lot more. Flour, sugar, salt, a couple of eggs, a bit of butter, some milk and vanilla, all scented with nutmeg, and you’re ready to top with a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar. It’s all about the cinnamon. Some recipes call for raisins, but we all think they are better plain (there’s always a raisin hater in the family).

A few ways around the recipe

I also found some recipes with nuts in them, which I think would be delicious but we have some nut allergies in our clan. Most of the recipes I found used a fair amount of butter, so I stuck with my mother’s which used only 4 tablespoons. I also used plain white sugar, although some recipes called for brown.

Fat conservation!

In her book “The Book of New England Cookery,” by Judith and Evan Jones (yes, the Julia Child publisher Judith) her recipe used even less butter, just a couple of tablespoons. Her introduction to the cookie from the American Heritage Cookbook was amusing:

“New England cooks had a penchant for giving odd names to their dishes – apparently for no other reason than the fun of saying them. Snickerdoodles come from a tradition of this sort, which includes Graham Jacks, Jolly Boys, Brambles, Tangled Breeches, and Kinkawoodles.” Translation follows.

A forgiving recipe

I used organic white sugar which isn’t very white and more coarse that standard white. You can also use brown if you like. I had oat milk on hand, so that is what I used here. You can substitute any plant or dairy milk you like.

Make them your way

This recipe is based on one my mother used, with a few updates, originally from Mrs.Clara Rose Hatfield of Somerville, Mass., but with no raisins. I you like, you can add a cup of chopped raisins or nuts. You can do this by hand or with a mixer. It goes together quickly. The cinnamon/sugar topping we used was a 1:3 ratio.

So, say it three times fast, and make a batch! 

  • 2 cups of sugar, sifted
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 4 tbsp. butter or vegan butter, softened
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg, we used freshly grated 
  • 1 cup milk, I used oat milk
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • Sugar and cinnamon to top

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease or line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Add sugar to eggs, then stir or beat in butter.

Mix and sift the dry ingredients and add alternately with the milk and vanilla.Drop by cookie scoop or tablespoons onto the sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart. They will spread.

Sprinkle the cookies generously with sugar and cinnamon.

Bake 20 minutes, then cool on wire rack.

Makes 40 cookies!

Just because you always wanted to know…

Graham Jacks – A graham cookie often filled or used in ice-cream sandwiches.

Jolly Boys – A rye drop cookie or small cake.

Brambles – A raisin filled pastry cookie.

Tangled Breeches – A deep-fried cookie strip dusted with powdered sugar.

Kinkawoodles – Similar to a snickerdoodle, but the dough is formed into round balls and chilled first.

Joe Froggers – A rum molasses spice cookie cut out with a brandy snifter. Heavy on the rum.

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70 Comments Add yours

  1. Love it! Your helper is very enthusiastic too. 🙂

    1. Yes, she wanted me to make the cookies but ended up doing all the work!

      1. She’s a keeper. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      2. My best sous chef!

      3. You can tell she loves cooking with you too. 🙂

      4. We have lots of fun in the kitchen!

      5. I can tell. 🙂

  2. Deb L Waters says:

    How were the snickerdoodles? I haven’t been able to make many cookies for my grandson with his being lactose & soy intolerance. I’d love to try to make them for him.

    1. They tasted exactly like they do with dairy milk! Give them a try, they are easy and really a nice little treat.

      1. Deb L Waters says:

        Thanks. I will.

  3. Did you say cookies? Yes – these look delicious.

    1. Thank you Jovina! My cookie jar is full.

  4. gabychops says:

    Thank you, Dorothy, for the lovely treaty about the fun names for cookies.
    As I am no longer the age of the girl in your post, cookies are just in pictures for me. They do look tempting and must be wonderful with a cup of tea or coffee!


    1. It’s funny, my granddaughter loves to bake cookies and cupcakes, and she samples one as soon as they are cooled. Then, she sort of forgets about them. I think it is the process more than the end result she loves!

  5. Bernadette says:

    She is adorable and the names are a riot!

    1. Aren’t they? I love them all, but I haven’t cooked them all.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Each time we visit Old Sturbridge Village I make sure to buy a snickerdoodle. They make giant sized ones and we can each get full on a half. I never thought they were regional, so I was glad to learn that.

    1. The next time I’m at Old Sturbridge, I’ll have to look for their snickerdoodles! They are definitely a regional cookie, but their fame has spread.

  7. lisinmayenne says:

    Dorothy, you have made me smile! There is something SO satisfying about saying snickerdoodles and they look delicious ~ perfect to bake with enthusiastic grandchildren. 😊

  8. Cute, cute picture of your granddaughter.

    I really enjoyed reading about the history of odd cookie names from New England. My favorite: Tangled Breeches. This must be a continuation of odd names from England. Spotted Dick, anyone?

    I’ve made snickerdoodles many times, and the family really likes them. Like you, I have raisin haters in the family, and this meant raisins were definitely out. In oatmeal cookies, I always used chocolate chips.

    1. Oh I love chocolate chips on oatmeal cookies! One of my favorites, I like them even more than traditional chocolate chip cookies.

  9. Suzassippi says:

    I can’t imagine a snickerdoodle with raisins or nuts! These are pretty as a picture!

    1. I think they are best as is as well! Simple is best sometimes!

  10. Jenna says:

    Snickerdoodles should have Snickers candy bars in them!

    1. Ha ha! Then they’d be Snickersdoodles!

  11. I watched a PBS show many years ago on Midwest baking and cooking featuring snickerdoodles from settlers in the region. I made them when baking for 4-H in rural Illinois. I have seen numerous recipes using copious amounts of butter and the cookies were flat and crispy- too much butter and not enough flour. I have tried a Martha Stewart version that was a good balance yielding a soft chewy cookie. Thanks for your recipe -so excited to try it out. I’m always in search of the perfect snickerdoodle. Cheers to snickerdoodles 😊

    1. These use a modest amount of butter, and have a lovely texture. Good luck on your Snickerdoodle quest!

  12. Ronit Penso says:

    It looks like you and your chef assistant had lots of fun in the kitchen!
    I haven’t made snickerdoodle cookies in ages, and now wonder why. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. I think I was the assistant this time around!

  13. Kevin says:

    Lovely looking cookies, great name and an amazing score at Scrabble!

  14. Yes, if someone has already played snicker, doodle would be great, especially if it is a triple word score!

  15. terrie gura says:

    I had no idea this fun recipe originated in New England! It’s funny, every recipe I’ve ever seen for snickerdoodles requires cream of tartar, and mine is always expired. I’m excited to know that it isn’t really needed!

    1. I think you’re right about the cream of tartar, but it certainly doesn’t seem needed in this recipe!

  16. I learned to make snickerdoodles at about the same age as your cute granddaughter! Thanks for the memories!

    1. Ah, that is sweet! I hope you still enjoy them today.

  17. Angela says:

    Dorothy, what a fun post this is! I love the picture of your granddaughter (adorable), and I love the list of funny cookie names at the end! And your snickerdoodles look delicious :).

    1. Thank you Angela! It’s always fun cooking with the grandkids!

  18. NativeNM says:

    I love love love Snickerdoodle cookies! These look like the perfect texture and I’m craving them now! Thanks Dorothy!

    1. Thanks Jan! The kids think they are great!

  19. Nancy says:

    Your sweet “little” is just that… so sweet! I am so glad she enjoys being in the kitchen! And the best part is that she likes spending time with you!
    The names were fun to read and say out loud!
    Have a great week!

    1. I know, they are a hoot to say. I think I’ll make some tangled breeches!

      1. Nancy says:


  20. CarolCooks2 says:

    Ahhhh and now I know what a snickerdoodle is plus all those other unusual names…Thank you, Dorothy for the lesson-smile- I love the image of your young sous chef just a question I take it that the 3-1 ratio was cinnamon heavy rather than sugar…a delightful recipe that I will try when young Lily comes again 🙂

    1. I’m sure you will love making them with Lily!
      The ratio is sugar heavy, not cinnamon. That’s all that is needed.

  21. Lovely! I’m a New Englander and I always thought snickerdoodles originated in the Mid West. Thanks for setting the record straight.
    I baked up a batter of Hermits, another New England staple, last week—ever tried them?

    1. Oh yes, mom used to make hermits as well! So tasty, and beautifully spiced. She made hers in bars, but my aunt just baked them off as regular drop cookies.

  22. Gail says:

    I’m guessing your granddaughter also likes the word “chimichanga”. 🤣💦

    1. Of course, don’t we all?

      1. Gail says:

        Most definitely. 🤣

  23. Anonymous says:

    My Grands have been asking for Snickerdoodles, too. I need to pull out Mom’s recipe. I will compare the recipes. Growing up in Florida, they were a staple in our house, back in the day.

    1. I’d be interested to know if her recipe used cream of tartar rather than baking soda.

  24. Marilyn says:

    I love Snickerdoodles ! And lovely picture!

    1. Thank you Marilyn! They were tasty!

  25. Christy B says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this one! I haven’t thought of these treats in years ~ I used to have a friend who would make these with her mom and I always wanted some 🤣 Now I’m craving them!!

    1. They are simple, but really good!

  26. I LOVE Snickerdoodles and haven’t made them in a while so I’m thinking I must try your recipe. 🙂 I’ve never heard of those seven terms so appreciate your sharing.

    1. I hadn’t heard of all of them, but now I want to make them all just so I can say them!

  27. nancyc says:

    Yum! Snickerdoodles are the best! 🙂

    1. They are pretty popular here!

  28. I’ve made them once and I was happily surprised at how easy their are to make and so delicious 😋

    1. They are great beginner cookies for new bakers!

  29. Velva says:

    Dorothy, snickerdoodle are a favorite of mine. Classic! They are delicious. Thanks for the inspiration.


    1. Thanks Velva! I hope you make them soon and tickle some memories!

  30. I was delighted to find your article about snickerdoodles, one of my favorite cookies. I also appreciated the recipe and the step-by-step instructions you provided. I can’t wait to try it out and enjoy some warm and chewy snickerdoodles with a glass of milk.

    1. Thank you Supraja! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

  31. Fedora says:

    My taste buds are tingling with anticipation! Snickerdoodles are a timeless favorite, and your passion for baking shines through in your detailed recipe and personal touches. The combination of cinnamon and sugar in these soft and chewy cookies is simply irresistible. They’re the perfect treat to indulge in on cozy afternoons or to share with loved ones.

    1. Thank you Fedora! I can see you appreciate the delight in so simple a cookie that is scented with lovely spices. A pause to share a cookie is a wonderful thing!

  32. Angela says:

    Love those New England cookies!

    1. Definitely a crowd pleaser!

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