The Scientific Reason Cream Of Tartar Makes Cookies Chewier

Have your baked goods ever fallen flat? Have your cookies crystallized hard? Your meringues collapsed? It's probably because you didn't use cream of tartar. It tastes powdery, tangy, and a touch acidic, but don't worry, using it will not make your meringue cookies taste any less delicious. Cream of tartar is actually crystallized tartaric acid collected from the inside of wine barrels and sold as a white powder that you can find in grocery stores and use in your baked goods.

According to Simply Recipes, we often use cream of tartar in egg-based dishes such as meringues, candies, soufflés, or whipped cream, but what does it do? Well, cream of tartar is most often used to help activate leavening ingredients like baking soda. This keeps foods from falling flat which is what makes it the perfect ingredient to add to your cookies if you want them to be delightfully puffy.

Don't let cookies fall flat

When it comes to cookies, folks don't mess around. Family recipes are held sacred once the perfect mix of soft to crumbly, buttery to crispy is achieved. But if your recipes are wanting, try fluffing up your baked goods by adding cream of tartar, because it is essential for chewy cookies. 

According to Food Network, cream of tartar is added less for its tangy taste (though it actually can help balance out some sweeter recipes), and more for its chemical ability. Cream of tartar prevents the sugar in cookie dough from crystallizing when cooking. Without it, cookies tend to form a crispy texture. EHow claims that cream of tartar also encourages cookies to bake lighter by creating more air bubbles when it comes into contact with liquid. Steam is, after all, also considered a leavening ingredient, according to KitchenAid. So if you haven't tried incorporating cream of tartar into your cookie recipes, give it a shot! You might discover what you've been missing.