Cinnamon Orange Snickerdoodles

Columbia County, New York  I  Friday, 31 January 2020

I found a recipe called Orange Cinnamon Crisps many years ago, when I clipped it from a bag of Albertsons’ sugar.

I used to make these cookies all the time, but then I stopped, frustrated because they weren’t turning out right. They were spreading out too much, making them thin at the edges, and were impossible to remove from the cookie sheet, even though I’d greased it.

I never did figure out the problem for sure, but my best guess was that I’d moved, and my new oven wasn’t preheating as quickly as I thought it was. You can’t always trust a digital oven.

The oven I have now is an older, built-in wall unit, and I find it consistently heats to 50 degrees below what the dial reads. You can’t always trust an old oven, either.

I recommend you get an oven thermometer which hangs on your oven rack, the kind with a dial. They’re pretty cheap, and you can buy them right at the grocery store. You might be surprised to find out your oven hasn’t been baking at the temperature you thought it was!

Anyways, I don’t really like calling these cookies crisps. For one thing, in my mind, a crisp is more like an apple crisp, a pie-like baked dessert with a crumbly oatmeal topping.

For another thing, these cookies aren’t really crisp at all, they’re soft, just the way I like them. So I decided to call them snickerdoodles, instead. Snickerdoodles usually have cream of tartar in the recipe, and these don’t. Snickerdoodles are usually more crackly looking than these cookies, too. But snickerdoodles are always rolled in cinnamon sugar, and so are these cookies.  Besides, snickerdoodles is just fun to say!

I made these cookies again this month, after a long hiatus with the recipe, and they turned out perfectly, just the way I remember from when I first started making them. The dough smells wonderful, and the cookies taste light and delicious.

Hello again, old friends. Hello Cinnamon Orange Snickerdoodles!

for the dough:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 Tablespoons orange zest (from peel of one orange)
1 Tablespoon orange juice
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

for the sugar topping:
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small, shallow bowl, make sugar topping by combining sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg, vanilla, orange zest, and orange juice, stirring until well combined. Stir in flour and baking soda.

Form dough into small balls and roll in sugar topping, then place on a greased cookie sheet. Use a drinking glass to slightly flatten cookies.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, until delicately browned.

Helpful Hints and Ideas
If you don’t have a citrus zester, you can still make orange zest, although it takes a bit of time. Cut your orange in half (pretend the navel is the North Pole, and your cut will be the Equator), and peel it with a vegetable peeler.

Use a very light hand, so as to remove the orange part of the peel, and very little of the white part underneath. Then, cut the peels into very thin strips, and dice the strips into small pieces.

Use a wooden citrus reamer to juice the orange halves. If you don’t have a reamer, you can just squeeze the halves over a cup. Remove 1 Tablespoon orange juice for the recipe, and drink the rest. Yum!

The original recipe calls for 1 cup shortening. I substituted butter. Because, well, butter.

The original recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon salt. I omitted this. Partly because I never put additional salt in my cookie recipes, and partly because I use salted butter. (I don’t want to have to stock two different types of butter, and I really like my morning toast with salted butter.) But even if I was using unsalted butter, I would still omit the extra salt.

I like to use a clear drinking glass with a very flat bottom to flatten the cookies. This way I can look down through the glass to make sure the dough is getting pressed almost out to the edges. The cookies come out a pretty uniform size with this method.

If you’d like to go the extra mile, you can dip the bottom of the cookies in white chocolate, after they’re baked. Put a few white chocolate chips in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave a few more seconds, if necessary.

Spoon out some white chocolate onto the bottom of a baked, cooled cookie. Using the bottom of the spoon’s bowl, swirl the chocolate. Place cookie on a sheet of waxed paper, chocolate side up, until the white chocolate hardens.

Instead of coating the bottom of the cookies with white chocolate, you could put some white chocolate chips directly into the batter.  Be aware that the cookies might turn out looking differently, then, if you can see the chips from the top of the cookies.

To read more about my difficulties with this recipe:
(Originally published 19 February 2015.)

The pretty floral plate is made by Homer Laughlin. At, they call it pattern K4124. I have no idea if it has another name, as well, but I believe it dates to 1945. And yes, it came from Goodwill!

I don’t know the maker of the little off-white bowl. It’s unmarked.

I got the idea for dipping the cookies in white chocolate from another blog, but now I can’t find it! If and when I come across it again, I will post a link.