I'm making cut out sugar cookies. Of course, I don't remember which recipe I used last year. So one recipe I have includes baking powder, and one doesn't. Curious what everyone else is using and if your recipes include baking powder??



mrslarkin December 26, 2010
Finally, here are my results! The batch with no baking powder were flatter, not surprisingly. I preferred the ones WITH the baking powder, which produced an ever-so-slightly-more puffier cookie.

I made a bunch of different batches, some using confectioner's sugar, some granulated sugar, some w baking powder, some w/o. All the recipes produced a great roll-out dough. The confectioner's sugar recipe was a little sandier in texture. My favorite was the cookie made with granulated sugar and baking powder - slightly puffy and less sandy.

Here are some of the finished product, below. I decorated with royal icing, from this recipe: http://onetoughcookienyc.com/blog/2010/04/a-royal-dilemna/ with a touch of cornflower blue coloring gel. I added a tsp. of almond extract to my icing, as well.

Happy holidays, everyone!
mrslarkin December 17, 2010
@iuzzini!! I love it!!
drbabs December 17, 2010
iuzzini December 17, 2010
speaking of sugar cookies, did anyone see this in the times this morning? http://niemann.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/16/let-it-dough/
cowgirlculture December 17, 2010
Let us know what recipe you end up liking best!
mrslarkin December 17, 2010
Met too, re chicken, i use the michael ruhlman high heat method. Delicious.

betteirene, neither of my recipes uses liquid besides a teeny bit of vanilla and an egg. Thanks for your recipe - I'll add it to my stash.
phyllis December 17, 2010
I'm with drbabs on the chicken. I use Thomas Keller's method and will leave the baking powder for baking,
drbabs December 17, 2010
Re:chicken skin. I'm thinking that baking powder-crisped chicken skin might be crispy all right, but how would it taste? I actually like Thomas Keller's high-heat method for roasting chicken, and you can season with whatever you like.
Soozll December 17, 2010
Oh my goodness! Rumford does say double acting right on the can! I'm glad you pointed that out mrslarkin. I had read that it was the double acids in a baking powder formula that indicated it was double acting. My mistake!
betteirene December 17, 2010
I started with the Land o Lakes recipe for Best Ever Butter Cookies, and tweaked it, of course--the original called for orange juice and no zest:

With a hand mixer, beat together 1 cup softened butter and 1 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1 egg, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Beat until blended. With a wooden spoon, stir in 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder until very well blended. On plastic wrap, pat dough into a flat disc, wrap and refrigerate.

Heat oven to 400°F. Roll chilled dough 1/4" thick between two pieces of plastic wrap. (If you do this instead of rolling the dough on a floured surface, your cookies will be more tender-crisp and less flour-y tough.) Cut into desired shapes. Place 1" apart on ungreased baking sheets, or line baking sheets with parchment. Bake in center of oven for 6 to 10 minutes (depending on size) or until edges are lightly browned.

For easy storage, stackability and a longer shelf life, I decorate with thinned royal icing flavored with Wilton clear vanilla.

To get a rise out of muffins, biscuits and scones, the proportion is usually 1 teaspoon baking powder for each cup of flour. The LoL recipe is 1 teaspoon baking powder per 2 1/2 cups flour, so the rise is minimal.

Do either of your recipes contain baking powder and milk? You'll have a puffier, more cake-like texture. Growing up, my boys liked these kind of sugar cookies better than the flat ones--for eating.

The Cook's Illustrated recipe starts out like a dream (Mix 1 tablespoon kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Rub this mix evenly all over an unbrined chicken that weighs about 4 pounds. Refrigerate it uncovered for 12 to 24 hours.) before turning into a nightmare that involves a V-shaped rack, a pan, precautions to prevent your kitchen from filling with smoke, poking holes into the kitchen in 16-20 places, and two temperature changes, one at 500 degrees. The result is a chicken that, yes, has crispy skin (although my chicken roasted at a solid 425 degrees is also very crispy and juicy), but it's not the deep dark brown color I like and it's flavored only with salt and pepper. It's not erverything it's crisped up to be.

iuzzini December 17, 2010
haha- well- I figure it will either be delicious and we will all be pleasantly surprised, or it won't and so I will eat less chicken skin. win win, am I right? :)
mrslarkin December 16, 2010
My red can of Rumford says it's double acting. Shirley Corriher says in her book BakeWise (here I go again) that Rumford, Calumet, and Clabber Girl are double-acting, and that since Rumford is an all-phosphate baking powder, it's faster acting than most double-acting powders. So, she says to be speedy when using Rumford and get it into the oven quick because most of the bubbles are released just after mixing. But I don't think this would be as critical in a flat, rolled cookie as it would be for say, a cake.

Ok, I just tasted the baking powder, and I am NOT rubbing it on my chicken! Looks like iuzzini will be testing that one. Or drbabs??

iuzzini December 16, 2010
Wow! Who is gonna rub baking powder on the next chicken they roast? It kind of freaks me out, but I will do it if I remember!
Soozll December 16, 2010
Rumford Baking Powder is single acting. It's made with monocalcium phosphate, baking soda and cornstarch. It's the baking powder David Lebovitz recommends for most baked goods. He says that the sodium aluminum sulfate gives a slightly metalic flavor to delicately flavored baked goods. (frankly, my taste buds aren't quite that sensitive to pick up on that..but I obey!)
mrslarkin December 16, 2010
Thanks guys.

Interesting. I think the baking powder for sale in the stores is always the double-acting...I've never seen single-acting over the counter.

CI sure does love cream cheese! They put it in a lot of their cookies (even the chewy sugar cookie that won the contest.)

And interesting about chicken skin...i wonder if it would taste weird though?

I think I will try both my recipes and see which one I like better. I'll keep you posted!
drbabs December 16, 2010
Here's more from CI:

Published July 1, 2004. From Cook's Illustrated.

How does baking powder work and when should I use it?

Baking Powder, like baking soda, is a leavener that when activated, creates carbon dioxide to provide lift to a baked good. The active ingredients in baking powder are baking soda and an acidic element, such as cream of tartar. (Additionally, baking powder has cornstarch to absorb moisture and keep the powder dry). Since carbon dioxide gas is produced when baking soda comes in contact with a moist, acidic environment, cooks uses baking powder rather than baking soda when there is no natural acidity in the batter.

There are two kinds of baking powder. A single-acting baking powder has only one acid combined with the baking soda—a quick-acting acid that begins to work when liquid is added to the batter. A double-acting baking powder (like most supermarket brands) has two acids added to the baking soda. The second acid (often sodium aluminum sulfate) begins to work only when the dish is put in the oven, after the temperature has climbed above 120 degrees. We recommend using double-acting baking powder in all recipes—baked goods rise higher since most of the rise with baking powder occurs at oven temperatures. Double-acting baking powder also provides sufficient lift in the oven to allow you to bake frozen (unbaked) dough. Also, we have also found that single-acting baking powder doesn't provide sufficient leavening for doughs with little liquid such as scones or muffin.

Besides leavening, baking powder can help crisp the skin of roasted chicken. When rubbed on chicken skin, baking powder reacts with the proteins in the chicken skin, speeding up dehydration and producing crisper skin.

(Isn't that interesting about chicken skin?)
drbabs December 16, 2010
Interesting. There's no baking powder in the Cooks Illustrated roll-out cookie dough recipe:
Butter Cookie Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup superfine sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter , ( 2 sticks) cut into sixteen 1/2-inch pieces, at cool room temperature (about 65 degrees)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream cheese , at room temperature
hardlikearmour December 16, 2010
According to Cooks Illustrated baking powder in cookies makes for a "fine, tight crumb and smooth top." Martha Stewart's cut out sugar cookies use baking powder.
hardlikearmour December 16, 2010
The recipe I use does not call for baking powder.
drbabs December 16, 2010
Doesn't baking powder make baked goods rise and get puffy? I would think that a cookie you cut out wouldn't have baking powder--it would be more like a shortbread cookie.
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