A question about a recipe: Aunt Clara's Anise Seed Cookies

I have a question about the recipe "Aunt Clara's Anise Seed Cookies" from Anna Hezel. Should this recipe include cream of tartar? In heirloom recipes article the ingredient list includes "1 teaspoon cream of tartar" but it is not listed here. So did Aunt Clara call for cream of tartar: yea or nay?

  • Posted by: Lindsey
  • December 11, 2013
  • 999 views
  • 6 Comments
67105f84 b068 4ca3 b580 1ef7f20c573e  anise cookie
Recipe question for: Aunt Clara's Anise Seed Cookies

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Maedl
Maedl December 11, 2013

I am not sure which heritage recipe article you are referring to, but the anise seed cookie recipe looks fine to me. The baking soda and eggs will help the cookies rise. Cream of tartar is usually used to prevent crystallization in candy and to stabilize egg whites, and neither of those uses applies to this recipe.

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Juanita Donahoe
Juanita Donahoe December 11, 2013

The recipe in question calls for 1 tsp. Cream of Tartar. I don't understand why the question.

boulangere
boulangere December 11, 2013

Biscuit recipes and snickerdoodle cookies used to call for a rather generous amount of it, too. Cream of tartar is also known as tartaric acid, and in addition to its other jobs, it also functions as a bittering agent. It adds an additional layer of flavor. Feel free to go ahead and add a teaspoon or so of it for a more traditional flair.

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Maedl
Maedl December 12, 2013

I looked at the recipe yesterday and I will swear that the cream of tartar was not included--perhaps the recipe was edited between then and now? At any rate, the cream of tartar along with the baking soda produces the equivalent of baking powder. If someone who has a good background in food chemistry reads this, I would like to hear how much of a difference it would make just to use baking soda. Would the difference be in the way the cookies rise, or would there be a taste difference as well? I know that baking soda reacts with acids in other foods like chocolate or buttermilk. But does the cream of tartar inhibit that reaction?

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Lindsey
Lindsey December 12, 2013

The cream of tartar is included in the ingredient list on this page: http://food52.com/blog...

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Maedl
Maedl December 12, 2013

Thanks for the link--that explains the heirloom recipe article mentioned in the initial question.

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