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Old 03-18-2010, 09:05 PM   #1
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Purpose of Cream of Tartar?

I have a few cookie recipes that call for Cream of Tartar. I'm never happy with the end product when I use it, for lack of a better word, it makes them sort of salty? Hard to explain, it just leaves a funny feeling on your tongue. What is the purpose of C of T? Is there a substitute? Can you eliminate it, and bump up the baking soda or something?

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Old 03-18-2010, 09:26 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Lindsay View Post
I have a few cookie recipes that call for Cream of Tartar. I'm never happy with the end product when I use it, for lack of a better word, it makes them sort of salty? Hard to explain, it just leaves a funny feeling on your tongue. What is the purpose of C of T? Is there a substitute? Can you eliminate it, and bump up the baking soda or something?
I would guess the CT supplies the acidic environment that baking soda needs to work.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:32 PM   #3
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Without seeing the recipe, it's hard to say. Just as a guess, it's probably being used as a leavening agent. It's one of the components of baking powder. If that's the case, you can replace the soda and cream of tartar in the recipe with baking powder.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:52 PM   #4
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it precipitates out of wine , it is an acid and helps to stabilize and give volumn to eggs , amongst other things ,it you whip egg whites in a copper bowl you don't need it ,otherwise use it ,or don't if if you don't like it. Most good cookbooks would explain it to you ,too much baking powder can be a little offensive so measure cafefully and compensate for substitions.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:58 PM   #5
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If you are beating eggs whites and don't have cream of tartar, you can substitute white vinegar (in the same ratio as cream of tartar, generally 1/8 teaspoon per egg white).

Substituting for cream of tartar in a baking recipe is a little more problematic. Substituting white vinegar or lemon juice, in the ratio of 3 times the amount of cream of tartar called for, will provide the right amount of acid for most recipes. But that amount of liquid may cause other problems in the recipe, and cakes made with vinegar or lemon juice have a coarser grain and are more prone to shrinking.

If you are not happy with the way the recipes turn out using cream of tartar, I think I would just look for another recipe that doesn't have it.

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Old 03-18-2010, 10:17 PM   #6
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The recipe!

I should have posted the recipe, that would have helped! It's for Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies, and it's 1 c. salted butter, 1 1/2 c sugar, 2 eggs - dry ingredients: 2 1/4 c flour, 1/2 c cocoa, 2 t cream of tartar, 1 t baking soda. Roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture, bake 400 for 10 mins.

I have a similar recipe for snickerdoodles, and I just find whenever there's C of T it changes the flavour in a way I don't like - maybe it's just me though - they are a hit with my family!!!
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:34 PM   #7
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Note to self --snickerdoddles are not for eating .That just isn't a name for food.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:39 PM   #8
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Cream of tartar (and baking powder for that matter) can definitely give cookies a weird almost metallic taste.

The way it's used in that recipe, you're basically making baking powder with the soda and the CoT. There are different compositions of baking powder out there, so you could experiment. I'm fond of Argo.

There are also some weird substitutions you can do. Buttermilk and soda comes to mind as one that might work out, although vinegar, yogurt and lemon or lime juice (all with soda) can do the same job....albeit with vastly different tastes.
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Old 03-18-2010, 11:22 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone

I'll experiment with those substitutions, James, and I agree Gage, snickerdoodles is a dumb name, but they are very tasty! Try them sometime!
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Old 03-19-2010, 07:15 PM   #10
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Note to self --snickerdoddles are not for eating .That just isn't a name for food.
I agree 100%---although snickerdooddles are great.


My first grammar nazi post ----ever
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