PJ Hamel writes about her version of the Snickerdoodle: "I made these and put them out for taste-testing. The comments ranged from 'Great taste, but they need to be chewy,' and 'I like mine soft,' to 'Yes! This is a real snickerdoodle!' Obviously, there's no real snickerdoodle; each person's version is his or her own reality." P.S. Step-by-step photos illustrating how to make these cookies are available at flourish, our King Arthur blog. And, for a delightful caramel-filled version, check out our Caramel-Stuffed Snickerdoodles blog post.
1 cup (6 1/2 ounces) shortening
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cream of tartar*
1 teaspoon baking soda*
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups (11 5/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
cinnamon-sugar**
*Or substitute 2 teaspoons baking powder for the cream of tartar and baking soda (2 teaspoons total, not 3!)

**Mix cinnamon and sugar until you've got just the flavor and color you want; if you have no idea where to begin, try 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon mixed with 1/4 cup sugar, which makes a "middle-of-the-road" version of cinnamon-sugar.

Dough: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the shortening and sugar till smooth, then beat in the eggs, again beating till smooth. The mixture will become lighter, and lighter-colored, as you beat; this is the result of air being absorbed. And this is why cake recipes tell you to beat sugar, butter and eggs till they're very light, in both texture and color; the light color assures you air has been incorporated into the mixture, and your cake will be nice and light.

Beat in the vanilla, cream of tartar baking soda (or baking powder, in place of the cream of tartar and soda), and salt, then add the flour, mixing slowly till combined. (If you beat the dickens out of the dough at this point, your cookies run the risk of being tough.) Place about 1/2 cup cinnamon-sugar in an 8" or 9" round cake pan.

Shaping: Drop the soft dough by tablespoonfuls (a tablespoon cookie scoop works wonderfully well here) into the pan with the sugar, about 6 to 8 balls at a time. Gently shake the pan to coat the dough balls with sugar. Place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between them. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten each cookie till it's about 1/2" thick. Repeat until you've used up all the dough.

Baking: Bake the snickerdoodles in a preheated 400F oven for 11 to 12 minutes, reversing the position of the pans (top to bottom, and back to front) midway through. They'll be set and just starting to turn golden. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool them on a rack. Yield: about 40 3-inch cookies. For a yield of 6 dozen smaller, 2 1/4" to 2 1/2" cookies, use a teaspoon cookie scoop, and bake for about 10 minutes.

For caramel stuffed snickerdoodles, place a gumball-sized piece of soft caramel into the center of each ball of dough before rolling in cinnamon-sugar.
Nutrition information per serving (1 cookie, 23g): 101 cal, 4g fat, 1g protein, 5g complex carbohydrates, 9g sugar, 9mg cholesterol, 55mg sodium, 34mg potassium, 4RE vitamin A, 2mg calcium, 11mg phosphorus.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XII, No. 1, Holiday 2000 issue.