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Old 07-20-2014, 04:17 PM   #1
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Snickerdoodles Ingredient Question

SO made a batch of Snickerdoodles for a cookout using a Pillsbury box mix. They were really good.

Out of curiosity, I looked up recipes to make them from scratch. Every recipe called for baking soda and cream of tartar. As you know, C of T and baking soda makes baking powder. So why, I wondered, don't these recipes call for baking powder instead? The CofT and baking soda amounts are in the right proportions for baking powder.

What say you, bakers and food scientists?
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Old 07-20-2014, 05:14 PM   #2
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I think one thing is to give them their unique flavor. I'm willing to bet that it affects the texture as well.

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Old 07-20-2014, 05:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by bakechef View Post
I think one thing is to give them their unique flavor. I'm willing to bet that it affects the texture as well.

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Yes, one link I read said that C of T effects crispiness. But if you use baking powder, you achieve the same effect as adding soda and C of T don't you?
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Old 07-20-2014, 05:36 PM   #4
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I think I figured it out.

We often use double-acting baking powder in home baking. It often does not contain cream of tarter. That being the case, a recipe for Snickerdoodles would have to be for soda and C of T to ensure the desired effect.
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Old 07-20-2014, 06:10 PM   #5
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I believe you are correct. I think the second rise of the baking powder, when it hits the heat of the oven, would give you more of a dome shaped cakey cookie and you would lose the combination of crisp and chewy that is a big part of a snickerdoodle.

It would still be a good cookie just not a great snickerdoodle!
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Old 07-20-2014, 06:11 PM   #6
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Possibly using CofT and B/S separately is more precise than baking powder which usually has a starch carrier and sometimes uses a different acid.

I live a few miles from the McVitie & Price (digestive biscuits, hobnobs, etc) factory and a few years ago a (ahem) gentleman friend who was afood technologist there told me that commercial cookie/biscuit makers never use baking powder. They always use the baking soda and the acid agent separately. Perhaps this historical as, in the scheme of things, baking powder is a relatively recent invention.

The following is interesting and informative. Explains, to a certain extent, what the difference is between BP and using the chemicals separately.

Baking powder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It's Wikipaedia but the references are pretty reliable
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Old 07-20-2014, 06:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post
I believe you are correct. I think the second rise of the baking powder, when it hits the heat of the oven, would give you more of a dome shaped cakey cookie and you would lose the combination of crisp and chewy that is a big part of a snickerdoodle.

It would still be a good cookie just not a great snickerdoodle!
Could it be that the recipe was from an old source before double acting baking powder came on the market?

I went on the hunt and found after Googling "Retro Snickerdoodle" that those recipes all called for cream of tartar and baking soda. When I looked at just "Snickerdoodle Cookies" they called for just baking powder.
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Old 07-20-2014, 06:49 PM   #8
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With the double acting baking powder, the first reaction happens when the wet hits the dry, so this would essentially make a puffier cookie. There might be something about the cream of tarter making them rise and fall in the oven giving them the flat, wrinkly look. That's just a guess

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Old 07-20-2014, 06:52 PM   #9
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Could it be that the recipe was from an old source before double acting baking powder came on the market?
Most of the recipes that I looked at called for the combination of baking soda and CofT. I also looked at some recipes for ginger snaps and they called for baking soda only. I really think it is just a way of controlling the chemical reaction to give you a crispy and slightly chewy cookie instead of a puffy cookie.

I will never find out, my cookie baking days are behind me and so are many, many of the cookies I've eaten over the last 60 years!
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:16 PM   #10
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This prompted me to get out my late mother's recipe for snickerdoodles. It's the only one I ever use. I'm not much of a baker so I can't add anything about the chemical properties, but all I know is that these are good.

This recipe is about 40 years old and it's my go-to every holiday season. They are a fave with friends and family.


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