This is a redo of a classic snickerdoodle recipe that I posted a few years ago courtesy of Betsy’s aunt. That recipe, as with most recipes made before 1980, used Crisco shortening and a lot of it.
I’m not a huge crisco fan so I thought it would be fun to redo the recipe with a slightly healthier (and tastier) fat: Coconut oil. I figured that the cookies might lose a bit on the texture side but would probably gain on the flavor side.
Turns out I was half right. The flavor was definitely excellent as the whole cookie had a subtle coconut flavor. The texture wasn’t really changed at all by the substitution so it’s definitely a keeper in my book!
1) Mix coconut oil (hardened) and sugar together with a hand mixer. Cream the sugar into the oil until it’s combined well and is a light consistency. Then add your egg.
2) Add all dry ingredients to the batter and mix together lightly.
3) Chill batter for at least 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
4) In a large plastic bag or big bowl, combine cinnamon, coconut and sugar topping and shake it together good to combine. Try to crush the flakes so they are fairly small. Then take about a Tablespoon amount of cookie dough and roll it into a ball between your hands. Drop 3 or 4 of these into your plastic bag and give it a good shake to evenly coat the balls.
5) Lay 6 – 8 balls out on an ungreased baking sheet.
6) Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
7) After a minute or two out of the oven, transfer each cookie to a wire rack to cool completely (approximately 15 minutes).
Crisco Equals Coconut
I listen to a dorky but wonderful podcast called Planet Money and last year they did an excellent story called “Who Killed lard?” and it was all about how Crisco essentially demonized lard to convince consumers that their product was somehow better.
I don’t necessarily want to start a debate here (although you can definitely comment) on whether shortening is healthier than lard, but I think most people would agree that coconut oil is healthier than shortening. It’s a completely natural product and is generally considered a healthier oil.
The downside, of course, is that it is more expensive and will also make your food taste like coconut (not a downside if you like coconut).
The one tricky part about using coconut oil is that we want it to be in a solid state while the dough for the cookies is made. This will make shaping the cookies easier. If your oil is liquid, stick it in the fridge for a few minutes and it should solidify.
Then you can cream together the coconut oil and sugar just like you would if it were butter or shortening.
Add in an egg for some binder.
And then add all the other dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together.
Importantly, chill this dough for 30 minutes before you try to make the cookies. If you don’t keep the dough cold, the coconut oil might liquify to quick and it’ll be hard to work with.
Typically you toss snickerdoodles in cinnamon and sugar before baking them, but I added in some coconut flakes for this version. The little flakes you see are not actually brown. They were white but when I mixed them with cinnamon, all the cinnamon stuck to the flakes!
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and make tablespoon-sized balls with the dough and then roll them in the sugar mixture.
Then place the balls on a baking sheet. I like to line my baking sheet with parchment paper but you could do an ungreased sheet as well.
Give these plenty of space as they will really expand. I only do six per sheet.
Bake these at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes and then check them. They might need an extra minute or two, but I like to under-bake if I’m ever in doubt so my cookies are still a bit on the chewy side.
Let the baked cookies cool for a bit and then serve the up!
Just like any good snickerdoodle, these are crispy around the edges but have a soft, chewy center that’s completely addictive.
I think I might the shortening – coconut oil substitution in some other recipes now also!