Tall snickerdoodles without shortening?

Every year for the holidays, I make snickerdoodles with only butter. But every year, they come out flat and melty from the oven. I've refrigerated the dough, refrigerated pre-rolled dough, and played with oven temperatures. Is there a key or technique to keeping my snickerdoodles from melting off the cookie sheet? Will they ever have the same height as my chocolate chip cookies? Pls help!

Carmen Ladipo


Shuna L. January 2, 2016
Hello Carmen Ladipo,

Aren't snickerdoodles wondrous?! O, I love them so much. Here's the post I wrote about them on Simply Recipes: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/snickerdoodles/ I have often used cornstarch instead of cream of tartar, because I will most likely have the former in my kitchen. As you can see from the photos, my snickerdoodles are flat, but I am ok with this. I like to JUST BARELY see color on the edges when I pull them from the oven, so that they remain a little chewy in the middle when eating. The dough will oxidize if kept around for too long, though, so I usually bake them all within a few days of making the dough.

As far as flattening/spreading/lace-y cookies, that can happen from a number of factors. My opinion is that everyone should make the recipe of their liking! Some like thin and crunchy, some like tall and plump... It's all about the ratio of the ingredients, and the role they play, that will get you to your preferred cookie flavor & texture.

A few tidbits from my baking repertoire ~
I never use baking powder in my cookies. I also never use margarine - unless I need to make something Kosher or Parve, in which case I might be forced to.

Upon a little research I found these tall & thick snickerdoodles: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/05/19/soft-thick-snickerdoodles-in-20-minutes/

Comparing my recipe to Sally's, I see that hers have half the sugar and much less egg than mine. My guess, just from looking at her photos, and the recipe, is that Sally's snickerdoodles are more cakey and mine are more chewy.

Another piece of advice is - be very very careful not to "over cream" your butter and sugar before the eggs are incorporated. Adding air while mixing butter & sugar, in a cookie recipe, can cause cookies to spread in the oven. It may also cause the dough to soufflé in the oven, tricking you into believing that they are rising up to become tall, but then collapsing out of the oven, on the cooling rack. It sounds like you want the lift to be real, and stay put as long as the cookie lives, until you eat it.

Does this help? We look forward to see what your future Snickerdoodles are like!

Carmen L. January 3, 2016
So very helpful. I will investigate all links and be sure to contact you on my next attempt. Thank you so much!
Smaug January 4, 2016
Waitaminutewaitaminute- can you explain the reasoning behind cornstarch as a sub for cream of tartar?
Droplet January 2, 2016
I think EmilyC's post in this thread might be of help to you : https://food52.com/hotline/26133-why-do-my-shortbread-melt-unattractively-around-the-edges. Also, are you using baking powder or the more traditional cream of tartar and soda combo? The latter acts a bit differently, as the free acid in the cream of tartar affects the PH of your batter by acting on the egg protein (usually there are 3 eggs in standard batch, which is more than the average cookie). I remember reading an informative post on snickerdoodles by Chef Shuna Lydon, a few years back, but I can't recall if it was on her blog or elsewhere. As far as I can remember she wanted her snickerdoodles flatter rather than fluffy, so you might be able to learn somehing from her by reverse logic. Good luck :)
Carmen L. January 3, 2016
Aha, I think my recipe only called for 1 or 2 eggs so that probably didn't help; and I was doing cream of tartar and baking soda. This was very helpful; I shall bookmark for future snickerdoodling. Thank you!
Nancy W. December 23, 2015
Sorry, I think you are going to have to give up on using only butter. Snickerdoodles are the only thing I still use margarine to make (I use 1/2 butter, 1/2 margarine).
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