The snickerdoodle is kindergarten in a cookie. (…And watered-down Hawaiian Fruit Punch – direct from the large can please – is kindergarten in a glass, but I digress.)
If you, like me, wondered how the snickerdoodle came to be and what cream of tartar is all about… then you are in the right place, and if you just want to bake and eat the damn cookie (please get on with it Thia) then scroll down and you can happily skip all the fabulous things I have learned.
First, according to foodtimeline.org (you should go check out this website because it is filled with fascinating information), the snickerdoodle as we know it, complete with cream of tartar, first appeared in an American cookbook in 1902. Estherville, Iowa housewives contributed the recipe. Good Housekeeping included a similar recipe in their 1958 Book of Cookies and Betty Crocker followed suit in 1963. Americans have been enjoying their tangy deliciousness ever since.
So why cream of tartar and how does it create that great snickerdoodle flavor?
Cream of tartar is an acid, potassium bitartrate. When it reacts with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) it releases carbon dioxide bubbles. This same reaction also cleans out your drain when combined in larger quantities and with salt.
Cream of tartar on its own is useful for cleaning burned aluminum pans.
So where does cream of tartar come from? Created from the grape fermentation process, it can be found in wine casks and crystallize on the bottom of wine bottle corks.
And now let’s bake some delicious cookies with signature cream of tartar and cinnamon…
To be honest, my snickerdoodle recipe search is a shallow one. I own Baking Illustrated by American’s Test Kitchen. I enjoyed their snickerdoodle cookie at first bite, and have not bothered to look any further.
So give it a try and let me know if I’m wrong.