I never had a Snickerdoodle before. This might sound weird to you but in my family, snickerdoodles were never really the cookie of the day. Chocolate Chip, Mincemeat, Oatmeal Raisin, Sugar Cookies, Gingerbread…yes but Snickerdoodle…not really.
However, on my quest towards 25 days of holiday treats and goodies, I felt that I needed to add Snickerdoodles to the list…and they also were requested by one of my co-workers. 🙂
I looked up some Snickerdoodle recipes and similarly to many sugar cookie recipes, many recipes required cream of tartar. Now, I have never bought cream of tartar. I have never made my sugar cookies with cream of tartar. I think cream of tartar sounds weird and I think it probably tastes weird too.
Because I am a science geek, I looked up what exactly cream of tartar is. To my science enthusiast buds (there are many), Cream of Tartar is potassium hydrogen tartrate. Now, the tartrate from this compound is more technically known as tartaric acid. Tartaric acid is actually the by product of winemaking, and it is the white filmy powder that is produced in wine barrels when grapes are being fermented, so therefore, grapes are high in tartaric acid. Who knew? Therefore, not only does tartaric acid help maintain the pH inside the barrels to make wine delicious, but it also acts as a preservative. Pretty cool stuff (I kind of feel like Alton Brown right now). So, when cream of tartar is used in baking, it is always going to be used in conjunction with baking soda (obviously), to help hasten and make the rising process more robust (because it is an acid-base reaction). People always wonder how I love science, medicine and baking…this is exactly why! It is all intertwined! I’m geeking out so much right now.
Ok. So that was your science/baking lesson for the day, but I actually am too cheap to go out and buy cream of tartar because he is not completely necessary. So, I found a snickerdoodle recipe that did not call for cream of tartar, and because these cookies are so easy and quick to make, I highly recommend that you make these for your holiday cookie platter.
Adapted from: Food Network
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (or you could use 1 stick unsalted butter, 1/2 cup shortening)
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Sift the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl.
3) With a handheld or standing mixer, beat together the butter (and shortening, if using).
4) Add the 1 1/2 cups sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
5) Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
6) Add the flour mixture and blend until smooth.
7) In a small bowl: Mix the 3 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon.
8) Roll the dough, by hand, into 1 1/2-inch balls.
9) Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar.
10) Flatten the balls into 1/2-inch disks, spacing them evenly on cookie sheets.
11) Bake until light brown, but still moist in the center, about 10 minutes.
12) Cool. Share and Enjoy!
So as I previously mentioned, these are quick, easy and good. To make them more festive, I would consider using red and green sugar to top them. 🙂
On another note, for Day 5, I made an oldie but goodie, Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip. As I mentioned on that post, that is a go-to cookie every year.
Source: Cream of Tartar