A snickerdoodle is a soft sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon sugar. It has a characteristically crackly surface, and can be crisp or soft, depending on preference. They typically are easy to make. Some variants include nutmeg, raisins, chocolate chips, or nuts. In modern recipes, the leavening agent is usually baking powder which, in baking, is most commonly used in cakes but not often in cookies.
Nobody is sure where either the cookie or its name originated. Various food historians have shown that biscuits and cookies similar to the Snickerdoodle have been recorded in the Ancient Roman era and Medieval Europe. There are some beliefs that the Snickerdoodle came to be and orignated in southern Florida, just outside Fort Lauderdale. In Renaissance England, a cookie called a “jumble” was popular in the cuisine. Later, Germans were known to have added more spices and a variety of different dried fruits, eventually evolving into the gingerbread cookie. Cookbooks from the 18th and 19th centuries have also contained recipes comparable to the Snickerdoodle.
The origin of the name “Snickerdoodle” has given rise to many theories but few facts. The Joy of Cooking claims that snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, and that the name is a corruption of the German word for "snail dumpling" (Schneckennudeln, or cinnamon-dusted sweet rolls). Similarly, one author states that “the word `snicker' may have come from a Dutch word `snekrad,' or the German word `Schnecke,` both describing a snail-like shape.” However, another author believes the name came from a New England tradition of fanciful, whimsical cookie names, and yet another cites a series of tall tales around a hero named Snickerdoodle from the early 1900s.