According to Wikipedia, the name “Snickerdoodle” either comes from the German word, “Schneckennudeln,” which means snail cookies, or it’s absolute nonsense, a word made-up based on a New England tradition of creating whimsical cookie names.
Something about that description just makes me smile. Eating these cookies also makes me smile. I took an absolutely fabulous recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker and slowly worked at making it just a little bit healthier, without sacrificing texture or flavor. It took a few attempts, and this isn’t as nutritious as, say, kale salad, but it’s proof that it is possible to blur the line between health food and delicious dessert.
What you’ll get with this recipe is a batch of cakey, soft, pillowy, cinnamony-sweet deliciousness. Yes, half of the words in that last sentence were about as nonsensical and whimsical as the word Snickerdoodle likely is, but one bite of these cookies and your eloquence will out the window, too. A few caveats to the healthification process — I’ve left the all-purpose flour in, because I feared the texture would be too challenging to achieve with whole wheat; and the new recipe makes fewer cookies than the original, which means my nutritional changes are less impressive than I was hoping they’d be. Even so, I’ve slashed the sugar and butter each by about half, and still have L’s stamp of approval (which is not all that easy to get — he’s very particular about his snickerdoodles, apparently).
Whether you, like me, have turned into a cookie baking maniac this holiday season (seriously, have I lost all my marbles?), or you’re just looking for one simple, festive treat to enjoy, you can’t go wrong with these cookies. The ingredient list is short, the dough is dreamy, and though I don’t believe you should associate guilt with any food, it’s always nice when the food you love also happens to be just a little bit healthier, too, right?
With their perfect blend of fall spice and sweetness and a gloriously cakey texture, these cookies taste like they should be a decadent treat. No one has to know they're a healthier twist on the classic!
- 1 ¼ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ tablespoon corn starch
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup plus 1 (heaping) tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Line two baking sheets with parchment and place in the fridge to chill.
- Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, corn starch, baking soda, and salt.
- Cream the butter, yogurt, and 1/3 cup granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla.
- Stir in the flour mixture a little bit at a time, mixing until the flour is just incorporated.
- Chill the dough at least 30 minutes (I did 3 hours).
- When the dough is well-chilled, combine the remaining tablespoon of sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
- Use a 1.5 sized cookie scoop to portion the dough into balls, working with only 1/3 - 1/2 of the dough at a time (leave the rest in the fridge to stay chilled).
- Roll each dough ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture before placing on the prepared, chilled cookie sheets, spacing roughly 2 inches apart.
- Place each cookie sheet, once it's full of cookies, in the freezer for a few minutes before baking.
- Bake for 10 minutes; the cookies will still be soft and should not develop a golden-brown color. Let the cookies set on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
- Store in an airtight container.
Nutrition Information: 115 calories. 4g fat (2g saturated). 22mg cholesterol. 72mg sodium. 18g carbohydrates (0g fiber, 8g sugar). 2g protein.
Source, adapted: Brown Eyed Baker