These Snickerdoodle Scones are kissin' cousins to the beloved classic cookies with soft buttery insides and crisp cinnamon-sugar exteriors! They're ridiculously easy to put together and ridiculously delicious!
A few weeks ago, I made a batch of these Snickerdoodle Scones for two of our grandchildren who were spending the night. As they tasted the first bite, their eyes got big and they both exclaimed, "These have to go on the blog, they're SO good!". I've tweaked and perfected the recipe using the same magically easy technique that I employ for all of our biscuits and scones and they are ready for your baking pleasure!
This Snickerdoodle Scone recipe definitely falls into The Café's most beloved category of recipes which we call Ridiculously Easy. You can check out this delightful collection here and you can read all about the criteria that recipes need to include to be eligible for our Ridiculously Easy labels in this post. But my simple, one-line explanation is..."these are recipes that make you look like a kitchen rock star, with minimal effort on your part".
The magical technique
What is this magical technique that I referred to in the first paragraph of this post? It's something I discovered a number of years ago that I can't personally take the credit for. It was the smart folks over at Cook's Illustrated that came up with it.
This is how it works. Traditional recipes for flaky biscuits or scones call for a step where you have to "cut" butter into dry ingredients (mostly flour) with a fork, two knives, a pastry blender or your fingers. The method results in little "pockets" of butter that melt in the oven, creating steam which causes separation in the structure of the finished product, hence a tender, flaky consistency.
It's not a terribly difficult task but rather just a tedious pain in the neck. Some chefs think that it's easier to freeze the butter, then grate it before adding it to the dry ingredients. Again, a tedious chore.
The Cook's Illustrated technique for creating those same "pockets' of butter is quite brilliant and so simple. The way it works is to place the liquid in the recipe (usually heavy cream for scones and buttermilk for biscuits) freezer for 15-20 minutes and get it really cold. At the same time you melt butter in the microwave and let it cool while the cream chills. Then simply combine the two to result in little "globules" of butter suspended in the liquid (see the picture below).
This "gloppy" liquid is then simply combined with the dry ingredients, resulting in the same pockets of butter that you get from the "cutting" process. SO much easier. Ridiculously easy!
Drop scones or traditional, your choice
Because I'm a little lazy and because I know that many of you are super busy and appreciate saving time, I simply scoop up the dough for these Snickerdoodle Scones with a retractable cookie scoop and drop them onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. If you prefer to be more traditional, just turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and turn it over a few times to coat it with flour. Then form the dough in a disk, 6-7 inches in diameter and use a long sharp knife to cut the dough, like a pie, into wedges.
What are Snickerdoodles?
Snickerdoodles are a classic and beloved American cookie. According to Sprinkle of History, "The Snickerdoodle, with its silly name, was first baked in 1891 by Cornelia Campbell Bedford. The New York cooking teacher and newspaper writer had been working on a recipe for the Cleveland Baking Powder company when she came up with a sugar cookie covered in sugar and cinnamon."
What makes Snickerdoodles Snickerdoodles? In other words, what's the difference between a sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon and sugar and a Snickerdoodle? Actually, they're quite similar and made with a simple cast of ingredients, usually butter, sugar, flour, and eggs. There is one thing that differentiates the two, in most recipes. Snickerdoodle recipes generally call for one extra ingredient - cream of tartar.
What is cream of tartar and why is it in Snickerdoodle cookies?
According to Healthline, cream of tartar "is the powdered form of tartaric acid which is found naturally in many plants and also formed during the winemaking process." If you think you've never used cream of tartar, you may be surprised to find out that cream of tartar is a component of baking powder along with baking soda and cornstarch. So it's much more common than you think.
An extra dose of cream of tartar gives Snickerdoodle cookies a bit of tanginess and keeps the sugar in the recipe from crystallizing giving the cookies a unique chewy texture. This Snickerdoodle Scone recipe also includes the addition of cream of tartar to give that signature flavor and classic tang.
If you have a breakfast or brunch get-together coming up, you have a friend, neighbor, co-worker, etc. that you want to treat or you just want to transform an ordinary day into something special, make a batch of these Ridiculously Easy Snickerdoodle Scones! You'll be sure to hear lots of "mmms" when they take the first delicious, melt-in-your-mouth bite!
Cafe Tips for making these Ridiculously Easy Snickerdoodle Scones
- As mentioned above, this recipe calls for cream of tartar. I do highly recommend it for these Snickerdoodle Scones. That being said, if you're in a big pinch and don't have any cream of tartar, this recipe will still be delicious... just not as Snickerdoodle-ish. (Just a little heads-up, we do have a couple of other recipes coming up that call for cream of tartar, so it won't be a waste to pick some up if you don't regularly stock it.)
- Work quickly as you prepare this recipe as scone dough does not rise as well if the dough gets too warm. If you're not baking the scones right away, refrigerate or freeze the cut scones until ready to bake.
- If your cream mixture doesn’t form the “clumps” or "globules", your cream probably wasn’t cold enough. You can stick the whole mixture in the freezer for another 5-8 minutes, then stir with a fork and you should see the clumps.
- Don't overmix this scone dough but do make sure all of the flour at the bottom of the bowl is incorporated into the dough. It helps to stir from the bottom up.
- This batter is quite thick. You’ll want a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon to stir it. At first, it might seem like all the flour mixture will not be incorporated, but keep going. All of a sudden it will be all mixed in. Don’t be tempted to add more liquid.
- You can make these scones several hours ahead of time. Just scoop them up onto your sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and pop the whole tray into the refrigerator. When ready to bake, transfer direcctly to the oven and bake as directed. They may take a minute or two longer to bake.
- You can also make these Ridiculously Easy Snickerdoodle Scones and freeze them, unbaked. Pull as many as you want out of the freezer and bake as directed, adding about 3-5 minutes extra to the total baking time. You're looking for a light golden brown color.
- This recipe calls for lining a sheet pan with parchment paper. This is optional, but it's nice for easy cleanup. I love these pre-cut parchment paper sheets. They come in a flat box for easy storage, are perfect for cookies, scones, biscuits, cake, etc. and a box will last forever.
- I use a medium-size retractable (4 tablespoons) ice cream/cookie scooper to scoop up consistent sized scones. A medium-size scoop will yield about 12 scones. If you use a larger scoop the yield will be closer to 8.
- I spray my cookie scoop with non-stick cooking spray which makes scooping up the scones really easy.
Thought for the day:
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup heavy cream approximately
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Add the egg to a measuring cup. Add enough heavy cream to equal 1 cup (237ml).
Place the egg/cream mixture in the freezer for 15-20 minutes while proceeding with the recipe.
Place butter in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a paper towel and heat on high for 40-60 seconds or until just melted. Remove the paper towel and set it aside to cool a bit while prepping other ingredients.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar and salt in a large bowl until well combined.
After heavy cream has been chilled in the freezer for at least 15 minutes, pour the melted butter into the cold cream, scraping the container to get all of the butter out. Stir with a fork until butter forms small clumps or globules.
Add butter/cream mixture to dry ingredients (again, scrape all of it out) and stir (from the bottom of the bowl up) with a rubber spatula until all flour is incorporated and the batter pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Don’t over mix, but do make sure all of the flour at the bottom of the bowl has been incorporated.
Scoop the dough up with a retractable ice cream scoop. I use a 4 tablespoon Bake for 14-18 minutes or until nicely light golden brown.
Transfer to a cooling rack brush two at a time generously with the glaze. Grab a nice pinch of the cinnamon-sugar mixture and sprinkle over the wet glaze.
Serve warm or at room temperature with butter, if desired. Warn guests that taking a half scone is a serious mistake!
While the scones are baking, mix up the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, water and vanilla. Whisk with a fork or small whisk until any small lumps disappear. Set aside.
Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
When scones are finished baking proceed with step 9 above. ENJOY!
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.