who’s snickerdoodle reigns supreme?

This week’s confection is a battle between recipes for the perfect snickerdoodle:

image  A cookie that is flavored and rises with cream of tartar in the batter, most people know it as “the cookie coated in cinnamon sugar”.  Looking around, there are so many recipes to choose from to follow.  So, it got me thinking – which recipe reigns supreme?  For my challenge, I went to my four trusted baking sources – Williams Sonoma®, Martha Stewart, Cook’s Illustrated®, and the Food Network®.  Here are my thoughts:

Williams Sonoma’s features this version of the snickerdoodle as their July 15 recipe in their book, Dessert of the Day:

image  This recipe uses baking soda and egg with the cream of tartar to help it rise.  Butter is the main source of fat.  This is delicious – airy, chewy, and just the right amount of sweetness in the cookie to balance with the cinnamon sugar on the outside.  The batter was not that sticky, making it very easy to pull out 2 inch balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar.

Martha Stewart has this snickerdoodle in her Cookies book:

image  This recipe uses baking powder instead of soda, but it is otherwise a similar recipe to Williams Sonoma®.  The batter was stickier and softer than the Williams Sonoma® one, making it messier when pulling out balls of dough to roll in sugar.  Because the batter is so much softer, the cookies really lost their shape when baked too closely together and baked out wider than the Williams Sonoma® one.  And this was even after chilling the dough in the refrigerator first!

Cooks’ Illustrated® has this snickerdoodle:

image This recipe uses baking soda too but half as much as Williams Sonoma® does. There is teaching paragraph before the recipe starts that recommends you to not use baking powder because the baking soda works better with the cream of tartar to help the cookie rise.  It also uses a combination of shortening and butter in the batter.  The batter was as firm as the Williams Sonoma® one but kept its shape better while baking.  This cookie was a little less chewy than the other two.

Honestly, all three of these snickerdoodles tasted pretty similar.  Looking at each of the cookies individually, you can notice a difference – the Williams Sonoma one baked into a perfectly round cookie, the Cook’s Illustrated® one didn’t bake as flat as the other two, and the Martha Stewart one baked the most thin and didn’t really hold its shape.

As I was looking for other recipes to try out, I noticed Trisha Yearwood’s recipes on the Food Network® website is essentially the same as the Cook’s Illustrated one.  Here are is her link:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/snickerdoodles-recipe.html

Chef Gale Grand via the Food Network® has this snickerdoodle recipe:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/snickerdoodles-recipe.html

image  This cookie has cinnamon added directly into the cookie batter.  The recipe uses both baking powder and baking soda to work with the cream of tartar.  There is corn syrup with sugar to sweeten the batter and only butter for fat.  This cookie is like a huge explosion of cinnamon in your mouth!  The cookie is more crispy than chewy, and airier than the rest.

So, which recipe reigns supreme?  I say the Williams Sonoma® one – it is straight forward and bakes into a beautiful cookie.  But in all honesty, they are all so similar that when I served them mixed together in a tub to my office, no one realized that I had used 4 different recipes!

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