Cream of Tartar

Have you ever come across a recipe you are dying to try, then realize you are short one ingredient? What do you do? Do you look for another recipe to try or are you like me, who will think of a way to substitute this, that, and/or the other, to make that recipe happen? It doesn’t always work in my favour, but I do try.

I often hear my mother-in-law saying things such as: “Well, I didn’t have any cornstarch, so I used flour instead.” OR “My cupcakes are a little flat because I didn’t have any baking soda.” I get it! I’ve been there so many times! It’s not always possible to make substitutions, especially when baking, as it is so unforgiving. Baking CAN be an art, but compared to Cooking, clearly, it’s a science. Measurements and ingredients must be precise. You cannot eliminate a binder without adjusting sugar, etc. as the ingredients may not hold together properly, etc., thus having breads and cakes looking disastrous.

In the last few years, I have come across recipes asking for Cream of Tartar, in cookies, cakes, and frostings. It is not a basic ingredient for a lot of people. I typically use CoT to stabilize egg whites, but rarely use it as a leavening agent in cookies and cakes.

If you are making something for an event, I suggest checking your cupboards and ensuring you have all your ingredients. This would not be a good time to try substitutions. I usually experiment with substitutions as I am making something I’ve made many times before. Take notes while you’re experimenting – I always take notes, as each experience will be different. Substitutions with the same ingredient will have different results with cookies, cakes, breads, etc.

Up until recently, I had not come across a cookie recipe requesting Cream of Tartar. This got me thinking … I actually started to doubt the recipe! Up until now, CoT was only called for in one capacity only – stabilizing & adding volume to egg whites. This opened up a whole new world for me, or not …. either way, I had to find out!

I checked in with a few friends who use CoT in a variety of ways:
Preventing sugar from forming crystals when making icing, syrups, and some candies
Stabilizing whipping cream
Preventing discolouration of vegetables while boiling (I use tapioca starch for this)

And there it is, now I can justify adding CoT to the spice cabinet as a regular resident … here’s another fact which an old friend told me about long before I even started buying CoT, as she, too, was an avid baker, and loved to experiment. Did you know that CoT is found in baking powder? Yes! And apparently, one can make her own by combining 2:1 (each) CoT : Baking Soda and Cornstarch.

There are many ways to use CoT but not in the culinary sense. I will leave you all to do that research on your own.

Thank you for reading. It has been a while since I last posted anything. Travelling, family, school, and training (yes, I have decided to complete another half marathon!) have kept me very busy. My schedule is a bit more manageable now, and I am hoping to write more regularly.

Stay tuned, love to you all!

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This entry was posted by Lillian on Thursday, February 25th, 2016 at 12:22 pm and is filed under Baking, Breads, Cookie Crush, Desserts / Pastries, Ingredients. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.