Baking Tips

The Secret to Great Snickerdoodles

Posted on Oct 1, 2013 in Baking Tips, Cookies, Drop Cookies | 14 comments

The Secret to Great Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are definitely a classic and simple cookie but one that took me at least a few… okay many attempts to master. Some may say it is a simple sugar cookie but they are so wrong.  Snickerdoodles are buttery & soft, crispy & crinkly on the outside but deliciously chewy on the inside.  And to get that signature Snickerdoodle taste made with Cream of Tartar.

For the longest time, whenever I saw a recipe with Cream of Tartar, I’d always think to myself, is that really necessary?  Sometimes substitutes are perfectly acceptable, however in this case I think not.  Cream of tartar is used for many different reasons, most commonly in meringues to stabilize egg whites. It’s acids help strengthen the proteins in the egg whites allowing them to trap more air as they are beaten and we all know the trick to mile high meringue is air.  However in the case of the Snickerdoodle, it is combined with baking soda to aid in leavening and provide the classic Snickerdoodle tang.  If you don’t have it on hand, I’ve heard you can substitute 2 teaspoons of baking powder but I’ve never tried it and it wouldn’t be a true Snickerdoodle, now would it?

So what’s the secret to great Snickerdoodles? Here’s what I think.  1.) Softened butter 2.) Cream of Tartar 3.) Chilled Dough 4.) Slightly Underbaking

Perfect Snickerdoodles

1.) Softened butter is necessary to get good creaming action out of the butter and the sugar. Cold butter is good for flaky pastries but not cookies. The creaming process incorporates air bubbles into the mixture giving the cookie it’s soft interior. When creaming this cookie, cream until it is light and fluffy.  About 3-4 minutes.

2.) Like we mentioned before cream of tartar gives the Snickerdoodle its signature tang.  It also aids in lightening up the dough so you don’t have a super dense cookie.

3.) Chilling the dough for at least an hour before baking.  Most of the time I actually let it chill covered in the fridge overnight. This topic has been heavily debated in the baking world and by all means if you can’t chill your cookie dough because self control is definitely a virtue then bake the cookies as soon as you can! However, I have found that whenever I chill my cookie dough at least overnight before baking, the dough is easier to handle and the cookies are browner in color, with a more chewy soft texture and have a much deeper caramelized buttery flavor.  And we all know I LOVE chewy cookies.  Chilling the dough also helps cut down on the spreading so your Snickerdoodles don’t end up thin and crispy. Crispy cookies are only good for dunking in milk and so I’d rather have an Oreo. 🙂

Soft & Chewy Snickerdoodles

4.) Slightly under-baking cookies is my little trick to making sure they are chewy every time.  A couple minutes in the oven in the world of cookies can be the difference between soft & gooey cookies and hard, crunchy and dry cookies.   Bake these babies until you see the edges start to turn a light golden brown and firm up, the center will still look soft and not quite done, that means they are ready to come out.  Once out of the oven they will continue to bake.  If they look done in the oven then they are overdone.

Now we are all ready to bake some delish Snickerdoodles!

Chewy & Soft Snickerdoodles

The secret to perfect soft & chewy snickerdoodles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon (Reserve for Cinnamon Topping **Just remember the 1:3 Ratio for any cinnamon topping)
  • 3 tablespoons Sugar (Reserve for Cinnamon Topping **Just remember the 1:3 Ratio for any cinnamon topping)

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream softened butter and sugar in a mixer until it becomes light & fluffy. Approximately 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time making sure they are incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
Step 2
Sift the flour, salt, baking soda & cream of tartar in a separate bowl. Add it to the wet ingredients slowly in increments until combined.

Cover and chill the dough for at least an hour.
Step 3
While the dough is chilling, in a small bowl combine the cinnamon sugar for the topping. After the dough has chilled roll the dough into 1 inch balls and roll them in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. The dough will be tough to scoop out at first but the warmth from your hands will soften it very quickly.
Step 4
Place them 2 inches apart on a silver or light colored baking sheet with parchment. And bake for 10-11 minutes until you see the edges of the cookies turn a light golden brown color and firm up.

If you roll out dough that is waiting to be baked, chill the cookie balls on the baking sheet in the fridge.

Let cool completely before moving or eating. Enjoy!
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How to Make Homemade Soft Pretzels

Posted on Sep 27, 2013 in Baking Tips, Breads, Sides & Appetizers | 0 comments

How to Make Homemade Soft Pretzels

 So what’s the secret to making the most delicious chewy Homemade Soft Pretzels? Dipping them in a boiling water & baking soda solution before baking them.  This little extra step is what gives yummy soft pretzels their signature crusty pretzel flavor, color and texture.  Some people skip this step when making pretzels at home.  But DON’T! It’s totally worth the extra 15 minutes to get your pretzels brown & crusty.  Traditionally pretzels are dipped in lye and there is food grade lye but it can be hard to find and you might need safety goggles & rubber gloves, which just seems to weird to me since I will be eating it, so instead I always opt for a baking soda solution which produces nearly the same results.

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Different Uses for Different Types of Flour Cheat Chart

Posted on Sep 21, 2013 in Baking Tips, Ingredient Knowledge | 0 comments

Different Uses for Different Types of Flour Cheat Chart

Flour is not flour is not flour! Everything from the soil the wheat is grown in to the amount of rainfall  before harvest can influence the flour you get.  Luckily for us, we don’t need to worry about the temperature of the soil of the wheat when it was harvested to determine if the flour is right to use, but knowing the different types of flour available in your every day grocery store and what to use them for is incredibly important when it comes to baking.  The biggest factor that will affect the quality product your flour will product is the amount of protein in the flour.

Different Types of Flours

**As a general rule, high protein bread flour is best for yeast breads and low protein cake flours is best for cakes.**

The higher the protein breads produce more gluten, which gives elasticity, strength and a great chewy texture to yeast breads but is disastrous for quick breads, cakes, muffins and pancakes and anything that needs tenderness.

Here is a quick chart of flours from low protein to high protein and the best uses for them.

You can also play around too! I remember when I was creating recipes for my cookie company, because I LOVE LOVE LOVE chewy cookies, I played around with using bread flour for even a little more gluten and chewiness, but in the end I stuck with All Purpose Flour because they could get a little tough.  But who knows, you might just love that! 🙂

 

Kitchen Printable Flour Chart

Free Printable of the Different Type of Flours

 

 

 

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