First things first: isn’t “snickerdoodle” a wonderful word? Try ordering a snickerdoodle without giggling. Hard, right? It’s so much more fun to say than the boring, descriptive phrase “chocolate chip cookie.” You may know exactly what you’re getting when you order a chocolate chip cookie, but there’s just no joy in saying the words.
I actually looked into the linguistic origins of “snickerdoodle” the last time I posted a snickerdoodle recipe. Some believe the word is derived from a German word for pastries. Others believe the “snicker” is specifically there to inspire laughter. And some believe the name was invented by bakers who tended to give their treats fun monikers like “jumble” or “doodle.” I’m guessing it’s some combo of theory 1 and 3: it probably does have linguistic roots in an older food, with a “doodle” flourish added in for a smile.
I remember the first time I encountered a snickerdoodle, back in my high school cafeteria. I fell in love with the crackly, cinnamon sugar spiked, pillowy cookies. I rediscovered that love a few years ago when I tried a recipe for Pumpkin Snickerdoodles. Pumpkin in the batter made the cookies even more moist, and pumpkin pie spice added flavor complexity to the dough. Fast forward a few years and I’ve tried many new variations, from an apple pie version to snickerdoodles with caramels baked right into the middle.
When I saw this recipe for rosemary snickerdoodles, I had to try it out. As regular readers know, I have a thing for baking with herbs. So the idea of combining my love of snickerdoodles with my love of “intriguing” flavors made this recipe a “must do.” I added these to a “Web-Hopping” roundup back in April and I’m glad they finally came to fruition!
This is a brown sugar cookie base with little bits of rosemary mixed into the batter. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out to have herbs mixed right into the batter instead of infusing them into the butter or sugar, like I did for those lemon basil cookies I shared a bit ago. Turns out, bits of rosemary in your snickerdoodle is a fine idea, indeed. Snickerdoodles don’t usually have a brown sugar base, so these have more of a molasses taste than you might be used to. The rosemary enhances the dough’s flavor profile, but it doesn’t make the cookie savory by any means. If you didn’t know I put rosemary in there, you might not even be able to figure out what’s happening – you’d just notice there’s a deeper flavor, and a nice contrast between the chewy cookie middles and the crackly cinnamon sugar mix on top.
This dough freezes really well, so you can make it when you have extra fresh rosemary and then freeze the dough until you actually want to bake it. I froze mine for a month or so, then popped the frozen balls right into the oven. You may need a minute or so more in the oven if your dough was frozen, so just keep an eye on how they’re looking.
Rosemary Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles
Original recipe: Baker Bettie. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.
Yield: ~25 cookies
Suggested equipment: Mixer
Total Time: ~70 minutes assuming the minimum of 30 minutes chill-time
Cook Time: 12 minutes
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (preferably dark brown to really enhance the molasses flavor)
- 1 tbsp very finely chopped rosemary. Really, chop it finely; otherwise you’ll only taste rosemary in your finished cookie!
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 2/3 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cream of tartar and 1/2 tsp baking soda, OR 1 tsp baking powder*
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsbp additional cinnamon
*If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can swap in 1 tsp baking powder – but then remember to nix the baking soda! Otherwise you’ll have a few too many chemical reactions happening in your dough.
Step by Step Directions
Make your dough
- Chop your rosemary. As mentioned above, I suggest chopping it quite finely so you don’t bite into big bits of rosemary when the cookies are done
- Cream your butter, brown sugar and rosemary together until they are light and fluffy. If you’re using a mixer, you should be using the paddle attachment. This will take about 2 minutes, but always check to make sure it looks right before moving on
- Add in the egg and vanilla, and mix until incorporated
- In a separate bowl, whisk together your flour, salt, 1 tsp of cinnamon, cream of tartar, and baking soda (remember to omit the baking soda if you’re using baking powder!)
- Switch your mixer on to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed
- Cover your bowl, and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes in the fridge, or up to 24 hours. As I mentioned, you can also scoop the dough into balls at this point and freeze it until you want to bake the cookies
Bake your cookies
- Pre-heat your oven to 375F
- Mix together 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tbsp cinnamon to make your cinnamon sugar
- Scoop about 1.5 tbsp of dough to make each cookie ball
- Roll each cookie ball around in your cinnamon sugar mix
- Place your dough onto lined baking sheets, and bake for about 10-12 minutes. The cookies are done when they’re puffy with set edges, even if the middle still looks a bit underbaked
Let the cookies cool completely on a baking sheet, then store them in an airtight container. Or, skip the cooling step and just start eating your cookies… why wait?!