I am a big fan of snickerdoodles, the classic American sugar cookies rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture. Not only to I like the original cookies, but I’ve used the idea to make a few spinoffs, including Snickerdoodle French Toast and Snickerdoodle Scones. So, when I was flipping through my files of recipes clipped from magazines and newspapers and noticed that I had saved one for Snickerdoodle Pie from an old issue of Better Homes & Gardens (not sure what issue, possibly in 2008), I immediately put it on the “must-try” list.
The pie is one that should have a very wide appeal, with the look and flavor of a snickerdoodle in pie form. I think it’s actually better than the cookies themselves, although one could argue that it’s not quite as easy to munch on as a cookie would be. It consists of a vanilla-flavored top layer that is a cross between a cookie and a cake. This layer has a cinnamon overlay that gives the pie the look of an actual snickerdoodle cookie. Underneath the cookie layer, there is a thin caramel layer that adds a lot of moisture and flavor to the cake, with notes of both caramel, cinnamon and browned butter. It really takes the pie from good to great. Of course, there is also a crisp pie crust at the bottom holding the whole thing together.
The pie is easy to make, with a method that is similar to that of a pudding cake. First, the cookie layer is poured into an unbaked pie crust. Then, the pie is topped with a sweet, syrup mixture. It is put into the oven and the layers meld together, then separate into caramel and cookie as the pie bakes. You can use a homemade pie crust for this recipe or a storebought one for this pie.
Serve the pie warm – either warm from the oven or reheated in the microwave – so that the caramel layer is oozing and juicy. The pie is great on its own and also goes well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
adapted slightly from Better Homes and Gardens
1 9-inch pie crust (unbaked, rolled into a pie pan)
2 tsp butter, melted
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature and divided
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp corn syrup
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350F.
Prepare the pie crust by brushing the inside of the crust with melted butter. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Pour into pie plate and turn to coat the entire inside of the crust with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Set aside.
Prepare the filling.
In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, water, corn syrup and cinnamon. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Once sugar has dissolved, boil the syrup for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together remaining 1/4 cup butter, sugar and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in baking powder, cream of tartar and salt. Beat in egg and remaining 1 tsp vanilla extract, followed by the milk. When mixture is smooth, blend in the flour, mixing only until no streaks of flour remain visible.
Pour flour mixture into prepared pie crust. Pour syrup over the cookie mixture. Do not mix. Carefully transfer pie to the oven.
Bake for about 45 minutes, until pie is browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm.