These sugar cookies with a cinnamon twist are an old-fashioned New England favorite. They get their chewy texture and slight tang from the addition of cream of tartar. My recipe includes vanilla, too, which you won’t find in some of the older recipes, and you could certainly leave it out. But I also make these with a little less flour than some older recipes call for, because I like a thin, chewy cookie. A little more flour and a little more cream of tartar yields a cakier cookie. My 1997 edition of the Joy of Cooking says that Snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, and the name may be a corruption of  Schneckennudeln, which roughly translates as “crinkly noodles.”

Yields 28 to 34 cookies

For rolling:

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cookies:

  • 2 ½ cups (11. 5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 pound (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½  cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs

1. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover two heavy-duty cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners.

2. Combine the ¼ cup sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, vanilla, and sugar and beat on medium speed until very fluffy, about three minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides down. Turn the mixer back on medium-low speed and add the eggs one at a time. Turn up the speed to medium and beat until thoroughly combined, about another two minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides again.

5. Turn the mixer to low and begin adding the flour in small amounts. Continue to add the flour gradually until it is all in the bowl. Mix only until the flour is nicely incorporated.

6. Form balls of dough with your fingers and hands. I usually aim for a diameter of about 1 ½ inches, which yields a big cookie, but you can make yours smaller, or any size you like. Roll each ball thoroughly in the cinnamon sugar mixture and arrange on one of the cookie sheets, about 3 inches apart.

7. Bake, rotating the pan once, until the edges are golden brown and the center is just slightly soft, about 9 to 12 minutes, depending on size. Remove from the oven and let the cookies sit on the sheet pan for a minute or two. Transfer to cooling racks and repeat with the remaining dough.