A couple weeks ago, I had a sudden hankering for some Snickerdoodles cookies and realized the dreaded... I failed to purchase more cream of tartar for the pantry!
Thanks to the Internet, I was able to research information about cream of tartar, and read about people's (successful and failed) experiences trying to substitute it. I was happy to discover I could still bake the cookies without having to go out in the rain and drive to the store for one ingredient!
From the information gathered, I used a combination of three resources into one result that would work best for my recipe. A mixture of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (aka cornflour) and 2 teaspoons of baking powder to replace the cream of tartar and baking soda.
The results were better than expected. Not only did they taste wonderful, but the texture was perfect: the cookies on the outside were slightly crisp with the inside soft and tender.
As you can see from my photo, my hankering was satisfied!
Edited to include recipe.
Makes 36 - 42 cookies. (See notes and secrets.)
1 cup / 2 sticks / 240 ml of butter* (room temperature)
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1 cup / 240 ml white sugar
1/2 cup / 120 ml brown sugar (packed)
1 tsp / 5 ml vanilla
2 tsp / 10 ml baking powder
1 Tbl / 15 ml cornstarch
2 3/4 cups / 660 ml all-purpose flour (measured then sifted)
1/4 tsp / 1.25 ml salt
1/2 tsp / 2.5 ml ground nutmeg (preferably freshly ground)
4 Tbl / 60 ml white sugar
4 tsp / 20 ml cinnamon
Mix together sifted flour, baking powder, cornstarch, salt, and nutmeg into a medium size bowl. Put butter, 1 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. (Alternatively, use a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer on medium-high speed.) Mix in vanilla, then mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in the flour mixture.
At this point, dough can be refrigerated up to 6 hours; although the flavor of the dough will begin to deteriorate if refrigerated longer. Usually the dough is too soft or warm to handle anyway, so I recommend refrigerating for at least 1 hour before proceeding.
Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and place rack in middle of oven.
Stir together the 4 teaspoons cinnamon and 4 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Using a tablespoon, scoop approximately 1-inch mounds of dough into the cinnamon mixture bowl, then gently roll the mounds into balls. Space balls 3 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper; the dough will spread while baking. If dough is very stiff from storing in refrigerator for more than hour, press lightly the top of each ball and sprinkle tops with additional cinnamon sugar mixture.
Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 14 to 16 minutes. Cool on sheets using wire racks before removing. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.
Notes and Secrets:
1. This recipe is originally for US measurements. I've included the metric measurements printed on my US measuring cups and spoons for your convenience.
2. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before preparing dough.
3. If you don't have parchment paper or an "airbake" (US) / "circulon" (EU) insulated cookie tray, chill your cookie tray before baking so your cookie bottoms are crisp but not over baked.
4. The original recipe called for 2 teaspoons cream of tartar and 1 teaspoon baking soda. When I didn't have cream of tartar on hand, I made a substitution by eliminated the baking soda, and added 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (cornflour) with 2 level teaspoons of baking powder.
5. If you only have medium size eggs, adjust the recipe to 3 egg whites and 2 egg yolks. It really makes a difference!
* I actually used a 200g stick of "lactose-free" butter for the cookies in this photo. The cookies were still a success.