It’s perfect weather for baking sweet treats. When my son Jon asked if he could bake brownies for the fourth time this week, I suggested we try something different. That sent us in search of something that Jon had never baked before…Snickerdoodles!
I remember helping my mom make Snickerdoodles when I was a very little girl. Rolling them in cinnamon sugar before putting them on the cookie sheet was my job and I did it proudly. The aroma of hot Snickerdoodles is definitely the smell of childhood for me. Here’s the recipe for the Snickerdoodles we made tonight:
- 2/3 c. butter (room temperature)
- 1/3 c. oil
- 2 c. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 t. cream of tartar
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/8 t. salt
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 T. ground cinnamon
Mix together the tablespoon of cinnamon and 1/4 c. sugar and set aside. Cream together shortening and sugar. Add the eggs. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar. Roll into 1-inch balls and roll the balls in cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake on parchment on a cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool cookies by sliding parchment off the hot cookie sheets and onto a cool surface.
While we were making the cookies, Jon asked me what cream of tartar actually IS and I had to confess that I had no idea. So I went digging and learned a few interesting details about it. It actually comes from the wine-making process and is found on the inside of wine barrels. Cream of tartar is an acid salt, potassium hydrogen tartrate, and can be used to help stabilize and volumize beaten egg whites. It is also used to make baking powder. If it’s used in cookies, it’s almost always used with baking soda. Together, the baking soda and cream of tartar acts as a double-acting leavening agent–basically, baking powder.
I also read several places that if you must substitute for cream of tartar, you can often substitute baking powder for both the cream of tartar and the baking soda. The final result might be slightly different, but it should work.
Last, but not least, cream of tartar can be used to clean brass and copper cookware!