A Scientific Snickerdoodle Recipe

UMKC faculty and staff share cozy winter dishes
Megan Hart portrait in the quad

While winter break may not look the same this year, there's something cozy about preparing – and then eating – a great dish. So we asked UMKC faculty and staff if they could share recipes for some of their favorite winter treats.

Baking is a well-known hobby for civil and mechanical engineering professor Megan Hart, who has a scientific take on treats. Here's insight into why she bakes and the latest recipe she's developed.

Do you enjoy cooking or baking? Why? 

I love to bake! Baking for me is cathartic, because in the end I usually have something I can share with people I care about and it provides nourishment for their body and soul. In my extended family we tend to stress bake. For me, it is also procrastibaking – putting off what needs to be done with the excuse of needing to bake something. Most of my department knows when I have a big project due or proposal going in because they are treated with something sweet in the faculty kitchen. Since COVID hit, I have had to change from random stress baking products delivered to the faculty lounge, to a baked good that goes over well with my COVID “bubble.”

What recipe do you enjoy making this time of year? 

With the change in seasons, I tend to change to baking more traditional holiday spiced goods. I think cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg along with fruits and nuts. My colleagues enjoy my rum cake the best and I love to play with flavors in my rum cake such as a pumpkin spice variation, pina colada, and chocolate or Mexican hot chocolate variations.

Do you have any stories attached to the snickerdoodle recipe you're sharing? 

I love to bake for my graduate students, but my current graduate student is allergic to gluten. Most of my recipes are developed using whatever I have in the house but I did not always have gluten-free flour, so I made my own from basic components. These snickerdoodles taste just like my original snickerdoodles with minimal variations in texture or taste.

Want to share a recipe with your fellow Roos? Submit yours to the UMKC Taste of Home cookbook project. 


Graduate student Hannah McIntyre snacks on delicious gluten-free snickerdoodle cookies with Hart's children.
Hart's Gluten-free Snickerdoodles

20 min prep, 1 hour baking time, yields 48 cookies


3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Gluten-Free Flour Blend
1 large egg
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt 

Cinnamon sugar mix: 

3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 

1. Heat oven to 400°F.

2. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and butter in bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add all remaining cookie ingredients; beat at low speed until well mixed.

3. Combine all cinnamon sugar ingredients in bowl; mix well.

4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

5. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Published: Dec 14, 2020