October 26, 2009

No-butter Snickerdoodles

For some inexplicable reason, I've been fascinated with Mona Simpson lately. She happens to be a creative writing professor at my alma mater and the biological sister of Steve Jobs. And just from reading her novel, you can tell that brains run in the family; she really knows how to write. I once saw her speak in person and was not impressed, but when I started reading her book, I was hooked.
"The white VW gleamed in the sun and she carried me, hers again, my legs sticking out from her back. I felt sorry for my grandmother that day, moving around the kitchen in a blue print dress, there was flour all through the yellow light, she was baking, rolling out dough. She cut around our fingers, making cookies the size of our hands, all day she looked down at her work on the table, because I was not hers to watch anymore."
--Anywhere but Here, Mona Simpson
Few of her sentences are as lengthy and run-on as the above--it's just that I liked the imagery of this particular passage. There is something quite tragic about a grandmother rolling out cookie dough, concentrating on cutting perfect shapes for a little girl who is not her own. It's passages like this, and the fact that I have very little counter space, that confirm why I prefer to make drop cookies.

One drop cookie I absolutely adore is the snickerdoodle. Those who remember elementary school will understand why I feel pure joy at the words "book order." It was book order that exposed me to the wonders of Magic Eye, Paddington bear, and Pogs. And it was through book order that I got a hold of The Cookie Lovers' Cookie Cookbook, a tiny little thing that contains a recipe for snickerdoodles that I recently adapted into a batch of seriously delicious cookies.

The unusual thing about these snickerdoodles is that they are made with oil. The original recipe called for melted butter, but I discovered that using vegetable oil makes for tastier cookies. Why? I do not know. I do not question. I simply eat.

Recipe follows.

I Can't Believe It's No-Butter Snickerdoodles

For the Dough
scant 1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
For the Sugar Coating
*1 tbsp sugar
*t tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix ingredients for dough in order listed. Form into walnut-size balls and roll generously in sugar coating. The more coating, the most sparkly and pretty the cookies will be.

Place the cookies a few inches apart on a foil-lined ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly if desired (flattening has a negligible effect -- I tried making both flattened and unflattened cookies, and they looked and tasted practically the same). Bake 8 min. for chewy/soft cookies, and 10 min. for crispy...they're delicious either way.


Minh Le said...

LOVE this post.

Hey, I didn't know she was Steve Jobs' sister. Heading to the Ackerman bookstore ASAP (plus the Winter qtr registrar) to check this wonder woman out.

Christine said...


So cute! (even though his stomach is so big that it's sort of stealing the cookie's thunder). I can't believe I didn't see this sooner. :) and I didn't know she was Steve Jobs' sister either! Has she written anything else?

"I do not question. I simply eat." Amen, sister!

Unknown said...

haha! this is funny! you do not question you simply eat!


Anonymous said...

i found this recipe by googling for a snickerdoodles recipe that didn't call for butter or cream of tartar. just wanted to say that i made them, and they're awesome. thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

these cookies are absolutely AMAZING.

Anonymous said...

I was looking for a snickerdoodle recipe without butter because we didn't have any left. We found your recipe via a google search, and oh my goodness! We are in LOVE! We added quite a bit more of the cinnamon than what was written to the cookie dough, but they turned out great!!! I will be making these tomorrow with the 2 year old twins I care for. Everyone said that this will be the new Christmas cookie we give away!! Thanks so much! <3

heather said...

These cookies are delicious! One of the best things about them are their stir-ability by my young children, in contrast to butter-based cookie recipes.

Anonymous said...

This was so good!! I had all the ingredients involved at home, which was awesome, and the finished product was also gold :)

Anonymous said...

Hey! I ran out of butter - these were awesome and super easy to make!!!! Thanks for posting :)

Anonymous said...

I am so excited to try these, just put them in! The dough is kind of crumbly... is that normal? Should I add anything? I'll let you know in 8 minutes how they come out!

Anonymous said...

The crumbliness was good- they came out great! Thanks so much, this is exactly the recipe I was looking for!

Anonymous said...

The dough was crumbly, but then the cookie was crumbly too :(

Anonymous said...

AWESOME no butter recipe. I believe the dough should be a bit crumbly, but if it cannot be pressed together i suggest adding a drop of milk or more oil. I used raw sugar for the coating, and they were absolutely divine:) baked nine mins, cooled for two.

Anonymous said...

I love anything butterless! I think these turned out great, but I had to add another 1/2 cup of canola oil since the dough was too dry to mold together. I added peppermint Hershey Kisses on top. Yum!

Unknown said...

Your recipe came out perfect. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

These are wonderful!
I'm having my daughters sale them for there bake sale! :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank You! I had to use brown sugar and olive oil and they tasted delicious. My sweet tooth is now satisfied and I have lots left over.

Unknown said...

My dough was also way to crumbly and wouldn't hold together. I added and extra egg and that worked perfect. They are delish .

Anonymous said...

I made these cookies tonight and I decided to go for 10 minutes so they would be crispy so me and my boyfriend could dunk them in milk. When I took them out the tops were cracked and beautiful but the bottoms where black. I was so upset. I had to saw off the bottoms of the cookies to salvage them. Now for my second batch I am trying to figure out what the correct temperature should be. I was disappointed with this recipe.

Anonymous said...

I posted the last comment and I found that for me the the correct temperature and time was 350 for 12 minutes. They were crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside and were very delicious!

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