These were the cookies I loved most as a kid. They’re all cake-y and buttery, with that 360-degree dusting of crunchy, sugary crystals on top; they always reminded me of cinnamon toast, only better. I’m not sure where my mom’s original recipe comes from — it’s hand-written, in her cursive, on a recipe card so old and well-used that it’s practically translucent with butter grease — but I’m guessing it’s something classic, like Fanny Farmer or The Joy of Cooking. It’s got that simple, no-frills quality to it. You can think of snickerdoodles as the Ford F150 of cookies. They’re solid, sturdy, reliable. They’re not gonna win any fancy-pants awards, they’re too humble to get you the girl, but they’re also not going to let you down, either. There’s a certain underdog quality to them, for sure. If you want bells and whistles, you won’t find ’em here. But if you want something that works…
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, mix together:
1 cup softened unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a separate bowl, sift together:
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Gradually mix in the dry mixture to the wet mixture until it’s all blended. Wrap dough in parchment paper and chill for about one hour in freezer.
Remove dough from freezer and form round balls of dough the size of small walnuts. Roll balls in mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (the key!).
Bake for 8 minutes and cool on a rack. Makes 5 dozen 2-inch cookies.