Gus’s Cookies from Stardew Valley

To those not in the know: Gus is a non-playable character from the game Stardew Valley who runs the local restaurant and bar known as the Stardrop Saloon. While very dedicated to his business, Gus still finds the time to cater community events—the Stardew Valley Fair, for example—and share food with hungry locals in need.

He is also well known for his interest in food and will talk anyone’s ear off about it; during the Feast of the Winter Star event, he rambles about the secret to his homemade candy canes. Can you see why I like him?

As a player, you can buy cooking recipes, alcohol, and food from his restaurant. Sometimes the Stardrop Saloon sells cookies, and I just get the feeling Gus would make his own cookies with a special twist.

There’s something about his aesthetic and personality that strikes me as a snickerdoodle kind of guy. There’s also got to be something that makes them special, makes them him.

The result?

Gus’s butterscotch snickerdoodle cookies.

A chubby pixelated white man with brown hair and a mustache. He wears a yellow and blue button down over a blue shirt.
“Pam and Clint come into the saloon almost every night. I’d probably go out of business if they stopped coming. So make sure you don’t drive them away!”—Gus © ConcernedApe 2016

The History of Snickerdoodles

So unfortunately the origin of this cookie is…vague at best. Cookies as we understand them were brought to the United States by English, Scottish, and Dutch immigrants. Although snickerdoodles or “snipdoodles” appear in printed recipes dating back to the late 19th century, it’s unclear who invented them.

Some folks say they were brought to New England, which has a tradition of strange cookie names, through Dutch or German immigrants. The Joy of Cooking (1997), a famous cookbook,  claims that snickerdoodles are of German descent and might be a corruption of the word Schneckennudein, meaning “crinkly noodles.”

Other sources claim snickerdoodles come from Pennsylvania, originating from Dutch and German sweets. Snickerdoodles are still sold at Amish markets in Pennsylvania Dutch country!

Whatever their origins, snickerdoodles have become a delicious American cookie staple.

What is the perfect butterscotch snickerdoodle?

Quick confession: I grew up in the southeastern United States and never had a snickerdoodle in my life until I moved to New England. 

Shortly after dropping out of graduate school, I worked at a cookie shop on the same campus. I tried one of the snickerdoodles the shop sold and they quickly became my favorite (besides the M&M cookies). Despite my love for them, I never ate or made them after I left the shop. Until now, anyway!

Those particular snickerdoodles set the bar of what I look for: a chewy cookie, not too sweet, and full of slightly spicy cinnamon.

What I’m saying is that this recipe tries to recapture those characteristics. Purists may balk, but this is meant to be my personal perfect cookie. But don’t worry! If you have different preferences, I’ll give some tips to update the recipe to suit your tastes.

Three pixelated tan cookies with dark brown spots on them.
Very chewy.—Stardew Valley item description © ConcernedApe 2016

How to Make Butterscotch Snickerdoodles

These butterscotch snickerdoodles follow a basic cookie formula: cream sugars and room temperature butter, add in wet ingredients, combine the dry ingredients separately, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then fold in butterscotch chips.

Once you mix the cookie dough, you’ll want to age it at least a few hours to overnight. Scoop the dough into balls, roll them in cinnamon sugar, and then bake until the edges are golden but the middles are still a little soft.

Easy, right?

Right!

But what if you want to change the recipe a little?

Simple! Here’s some tips.

  • These snickerdoodles use cream of tartar (an acidic powder also known as potassium bitartrate) and baking soda to leaven the cookies, add a little tang, and contribute to their soft and chewy texture. If you don’t have cream of tartar on hand or can’t find it, replace the baking soda and cream of tartar with 2 teaspoons of baking powder.
  • Most snickerdoodles only use white granulated sugar in the cookie dough, but this recipe includes light brown sugar to guarantee chewy, flavorful cookies. If you plan on making snickerdoodles with no butterscotch chips, increase the white granulated sugar to ¾ cup to make up for lost sweetness.
  • If you want a snickerdoodle with more sweetness than spice, reduce the cinnamon to 1 tablespoon in the cinnamon sugar mixture. I just prefer desserts than are a little less sweet!

So tell me y’all, what is YOUR perfect cookie? What changes would you make to this recipe? Feel free to comment below and consider following for more recipes!

Pile of tan and brown cookies on a blue and white plate
Make a big pile of these cookies for your loved ones any time of year.

Makes about 32 cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup light brown sugar

½ cup white granulated sugar, plus 3 tablespoons for coating

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, a hand mixer, or a wooden spoon, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and ½ cup white granulated sugar at a medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula!
  2. Add eggs one at a time, beating at medium speed until combined between each addition, then mix in vanilla extract. Again, don’t forget to scrape down the sides!
  3. Sift together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a medium bowl. Slowly add to the butter mixture until just combined, then fold in your butterscotch chips.
  4. Let the dough rest at least 3-4 hours before baking; overnight is best. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Mix the remaining 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  6. Scoop up cookie dough with a cookie scoop or tablespoon and roll into a ball before dropping into the cinnamon sugar. Roll to coat, then place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies by about 3 inches.
  7. Flatten each ball with your palm to ½ inch. Bake on the middle rack for 10 minutes or until cookies are golden brown on the edges but still a little soft in the center. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Serve with a tall glass of milk, a mug of hot cocoa, or a cup of cranberry candy. Store remaining cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days; unbaked dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Sources:

Best Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe. (2019, July 11). Retrieved January 29, 2021, from https://whatscookingamerica.net/Cookie/Snickerdoodle.htm

Chang, J. (2010). Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.

Chesman, A., & Raboff, F. (2009). 250 Treasured Country Desserts: Mouthwatering, Time-honored, Tried & True, Soul-satisfying, Handed-down Sweet Comforts. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub.

Fields, D. (1992). Mrs. Fields Cookie Book: 100 Recipes from the Kitchen of Mrs. Fields. Time Life Books.

Morrissey, E. (2020, June 26). What Is a Snickerdoodle, and What Makes This Classic American Cookie So Irresistible? Retrieved January 29, 2021, from https://www.marthastewart.com/7839907/snickerdoodle-cookie-explained

Rombauer, I. S., Becker, M. R., & Becker, E. (1997). Joy of Cooking. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Snickerdoodles Recipe & Video. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2021, from https://www.joyofbaking.com/Snickerdoodles.html


Gus relies on local farmers to provide for his saloon; he also hires his neighbor, Emily, to help him run it. Unfortunately not all farmworkers and service workers have this kind of stability right now.

If you have a little extra money, please consider donating to the Farmworkers’ COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund by Justice for Migrant Women or to One Fair Wage’s Emergency Fund for Tipped and Service Workers to help support the farmworkers and food service workers who have been working through the pandemic to keep the United States fed.

If you can’t donate but know folks who would benefit, please consider pointing them to these funds as well!

2 thoughts on “Gus’s Cookies from Stardew Valley

Add yours

  1. Mmmm, these sound so yummy! And as always, I really appreciate the interesting research you share in your posts. Thank you!

    Like

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