Tuesday, December 30, 2008


In addition to being the best-named cookies ever (nominations open in the comments, however), snickerdoodles are actually pretty delicious. I was a little skeptical at first because I'm a chocolate person and don't usually even ponder the existence of sweet foods that are missing chocolate. I think it's a family thing, as suggested by the following paraphrased Skype conversation with my sister:

me: I ate too many cookies.
sister: I bet you couldn't beat me, I can pack 'em in. What kind of cookies?
me: Snickerdoodles.
sister: Awwww, no chocolate!??

Making them required first dealing with The Cream of Tartar Issue, which is finding out what the heck cream of tartar is called here, and then where it can be found. As we parted ways in the street one day and I headed to the store, Damon told me it was called Weinsaeure. So I asked at the store about that. They had no idea what I was talking about and suggested that maybe I was looking for vinegar. I got home and looked it up on Leo and there it said the correct word was Weinstein. So, maybe I really embarrassed myself at the store, or maybe there are multiple words for it. Anyway, in the end the closest thing we found was something called Weinstein Backpulver, which I guess would translate directly as "cream of tartar baking powder". We can only assume what it really is, and we assumed it was some kind of mix of cream of tartar and baking powder rather than being just cream of tartar. It was found at the Reformhaus (for those who don't live here, it's kind of a health food store.) Anyway, on to the recipe:

Makes 36 big ones.

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp white sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon

* Preheat oven to 375'F / 190'C.
* Dough: Cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Sift together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture. Yum, cookie dough!
* Coating: In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.
* Assembly: Roll walnut-sized balls of dough in the sugar/cinnamon mixture and place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
* Baking: 8-10 minutes, until edges are slightly brown. They are soooooo good fresh!

Conversion notes: I didn't even look for shortening, so I don't know what the exact German equivalent is. (Anyone?) I subbed in butter. It was okay, probably not exactly the same though. For the cream of tartar, I subbed in the Weinstein Backpulver directly and still used the baking soda with it, but Damon theorizes that the soda could be cut out completely when using the Backpulver mix instead of cream of tartar. I would try that next time, but now that I have the real thing (see the Christmas post), forget it. ;) Any experimenters out there, or those who have already experimented with this, let me know!



  1. Those sound really good!

    Yeah, cream of tartar is Weinsteinpulver and you can only get it at the pharmacy (where they will look at you funny and ask you what you need it for). The Weinsteinbackpulver isn't quite the same - it's kind of like baking powder without the sulphates in it, or something. Supposed to be healthier than regular baking powder. Who knows?

    I have a really old sugar cookie recipe back from the time when they didn't have baking powder and it also calls for baking soda and cream of tartar as leavening agents. One baking site I contacted said I could probably substitute regular baking powder (but a smaller amount) and still get good results.

  2. Thanks for posting that recipe!

    I plan to try a batch soon after we move — I'll let you know how it goes. The new oven can't be any worse than the old one (and yes, it is the poor craftsman who blames the tool).

    Re: your query about shortening: I substitute Pflanzenfett, usually the Palmin brand, because it's ubiquitous. I guess it's the same thing, just more directly named than "shortening*," right? Fatty stuff from plants instead of animals.

    *those gluten strands

  3. Oh man - I LOVE snickerdoodles! And what a strange coincidence...I haven't had any in ages and then today our neighbor dropped some by...and then your post. Too funny :)

  4. Cliff's right - Palmin is shortening around these parts. They make it in hard blocks and also something called Palmin Soft that's comparable to Crisco and good for baking. Other no name brands also work just fine.

  5. As soon as our Christmas sugar-bomb supply starts to dwindle, I'll be making some snickerdoodles! Thanks for the recipe.

    PS: might try a little powdered chocolate on a few instead of cinnamon just to see how they turn out.

  6. PS: might try a little powdered chocolate on a few instead of cinnamon just to see how they turn out.


    (But let us know if that works. I'm penciling Snickerdoodles in as the first new-oven project post-move. If they're not good, they'll never make into the office. If they're good, there's a chance we'll share. If they're excellent, the odds go down again.)

  7. Oh, and I forgot to request a specific mention of the chocolate dust's effect on the overall moistness.

  8. Christina: Now I'm curious about the medical properties of cream of tartar! Why would it be at the pharmacy?

    Cliff & Ian: We're going to try them again soon with the cream of tartar we got! Still dealing with a lot of other Christmas sweets at the moment, though. Thanks for the shortening tip, Cliff & Christina! I think this is the first time I made a recipe here that explicitly called for it.

    Cowgirl: Clearly you are meant to be eating some snickerdoodles! :D

    I'm going to be curious about the powdered chocolate experiment too!

  9. Weinsäure is widely used in the pharma industry (actually, the primary customer for it), for a number of chemical processes primarily in pre-treating drugs to modify their acidicy.
    A pharmacy would likely have it for some stuff they mix themselves there.

    Weinstein itself can also be used as a digestive.


I love commenters!