These Snickerdoodles Are the Best Cookie to Make with Your Kids This Fall

published Oct 12, 2020
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Sweet Potato Snickerdoodles

Chewy, cinnamon-y sweet potato snickerdoodles made with brown butter.

Makes24 cookies

Prep20 minutes

Cook10 minutes to 12 minutes

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Close up snickerdoodle cookie with bite taken out.
Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

I’ll be honest with you: Classic snickerdoodles are one of my least favorite cookies. I love their crunchy cinnamon-sugar coating, but I’ve always wanted something more—something to really kick them up a notch. So in an attempt to reimagine the snickerdoodle into a cookie I would actually get excited about, I added an additional layer of flavor to the mix, completely transforming them into a brand-new treat that’s bold, delicious, and unexpected. My secret ingredient? Sweet potatoes.

These sweet potato snickerdoodles are chewy, nutty, and full of razzle-dazzle shine—and they’re a heck of a lot more fun than the classic. Plus, their spiced flavor is perfect for fall. Here, I’ll show you how to make them in four simple steps. (P.S. several of these steps are perfect for kids, from the simple rolling to the dunking in cinnamon sugar to the smashing with a glass. It’s an entire afternoon of fun.)

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

First, start with canned sweet potatoes.

Although you can use fresh sweet potatoes in this recipe, I found that the canned, cooked varieties packed in syrup result in the best texture and flavor—and using them is way easier! You just drain them and mash them with a fork until smooth. A standard 15-ounce can yields the perfect amount for this recipe.

If starting with whole sweet potatoes, roast them in the oven (or microwave until tender), mash until smooth, and measure out one cup of mash to use.

Read more: How To Make Baked Sweet Potatoes

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Next, brown your butter for rich, nutty flavor.

Browning the butter lends these cookies a rich, toffee-like flavor that’s the perfect complement to the sweet potatoes. To do so, cook your butter over medium heat, stirring often, until the bubbles subside and the butter darkens in color slightly. This not only adds flavor, but it also cooks out some of the excess water in the butter, helping make these cookies turn out chewy instead of cakey. After the butter is browned, you just mix everything together in one bowl. There’s no need to use an electric mixer, and the dough comes together fast (within 10 minutes!).

Read more: How To Brown Butter

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Then roll in cinnamon sugar for extra crunch and sparkle.

After a quick chill in the fridge, it’s time to roll the cookies (kids can help!) After all, these wouldn’t be snickerdoodles without a cinnamon-sugar coating! I like to use a full tablespoon of cinnamon to add a bold flavor and beautiful brown color. The cinnamon stains the outside of the dough balls a light brown color as you roll them, giving them a picture-perfect color that pops. I’m a firm believer that more is more — especially when it comes to cookies.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Flatten the dough balls to get the perfect cookie shape.

To help make sure these cookies turn out flat and perfectly round, I suggest lightly smashing the dough balls with a drinking glass to about a half-inch thickness before baking them. (Demo the technique and kids can help with this too). Pressing will help them spread in the oven so your cookies are perfect little discs rather than large, irregular mounds. You can also use your hand to flatten them, although I find a drinking glass helps keep their shape a bit more even. The cookies will spread out and form beautiful ripples as they bake. Let them cool on the sheet pans, and then dig in! It’s a super-special cookie that’s surprisingly easy to make.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Sweet Potato Snickerdoodles

Chewy, cinnamon-y sweet potato snickerdoodles made with brown butter.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes to 12 minutes

Makes 24 cookies

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks

    (1 cup) unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup

    vegetable shortening

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    cut sweet potatoes in syrup (not purée)

  • 1 1/2 cups

    granulated sugar, divided

  • 3/4 cup

    packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1

    large egg yolk

  • 3 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon

    cream of tartar

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Cut 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter into 1/2-inch cubes and melt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring constantly while scraping the bottom of the pot with a rubber spatula to release any browned bits, until the butter is light brown, smells nutty, and no longer foamy, 3 to 4 minutes.

  2. Immediately scrape into a large heatproof bowl. Add 1/4 cup vegetable shortening and stir to combine. Let cool at room temperature for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, drain 1 can sweet potatoes in syrup and place the sweet potatoes in a medium bowl. Smash with the tines of a fork until no large pieces remain and the mixture is mostly smooth.

  3. Add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and 1 large egg yolk to the bowl of melted butter. Whisk until completely smooth and glossy. Add the mashed sweet potato (reserve the bowl) and whisk until incorporated.

  4. Add 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. Stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the flour is completely incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, divide the oven into thirds with 2 racks and heat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  5. Wipe out the sweet potato bowl bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon to the bowl and stir to combine. Scoop out the dough with a 1 1/2-inch wide cookie scoop or into 24 (about 2 rounded tablespoon) portions, and roll into balls. Roll each ball completely in the cinnamon sugar and place at least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

  6. Sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar. Gently flatten each dough ball with the bottom of a drinking glass until about 1/2-inch thick. Bake until lightly browned and the tops crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Sweet potatoes: Do not use canned puréed sweet potatoes to make these cookies. Cans labeled candied yams in syrup or cut sweet potatoes in syrup can both be used interchangeably. If using fresh sweet potatoes, roast, mash with the tines of a fork, and measure out 1 cup (8 ounces) of the mash.

Storage: The baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: Sweet Potato Snickerdoodles