Is Meringue Powder The Same As Cream Of Tartar: Debunking The Myth

Is Meringue Powder The Same As Cream Of Tartar: Debunking The Myth

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Let’s get one thing straight: meringue powder and cream of tartar are not the same thing. They may look similar and have some overlapping uses, but they are two distinct ingredients. In fact, using them interchangeably can lead to disastrous results.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s dive deeper into the world of meringue powder and cream of tartar and explore their unique properties and uses.

What is Meringue Powder?

Meringue powder is a dry powder made from pasteurized egg whites, sugar, and various stabilizers. It is commonly used in baking and confectionery to make meringue, royal icing, and other types of icing. Meringue powder is a convenient alternative to fresh egg whites, as it eliminates the need to separate eggs and allows for more consistent results.

What is Cream of Tartar?

Cream of tartar, on the other hand, is a powdery byproduct of winemaking. It is technically known as potassium bitartrate and is used as a leavening agent in baking. Cream of tartar is often used to stabilize egg whites, prevent sugar crystallization, and activate baking soda in recipes.

Can Meringue Powder be Used Instead of Cream of Tartar?

No, meringue powder cannot be used instead of cream of tartar. While both ingredients are used to stabilize egg whites, they have different properties and functions. Meringue powder contains sugar and stabilizers, which can affect the texture and flavor of a recipe. Cream of tartar, on the other hand, is a pure acid that has no impact on flavor or texture. Substituting meringue powder for cream of tartar can result in a failed recipe.

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Recipes with Cream of Tartar

Recipe 1: Classic Snickerdoodle Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining sugar and cinnamon.
  7. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and roll them in the sugar-cinnamon mixture.
  8. Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
  9. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutritional Information:

  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 130
  • Total Fat: 6g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 30mg
  • Sodium: 105mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 18g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 9g
  • Protein: 1g

Cooking Time:

10-12 minutes

Equipment:

  • Mixing bowls
  • Mixer
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper

Serving Suggestions:

Enjoy these classic snickerdoodle cookies with a glass of cold milk or a hot cup of coffee.

Variations:

Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract for extra flavor.

Substitutions:

If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can substitute it with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar.

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Storage:

Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Tips:

  • Make sure the butter is at room temperature for easier mixing.
  • Don’t overmix the dough or the cookies will be tough.
  • For even-sized cookies, use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to measure the dough.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can I use salted butter instead of unsalted butter?

A: Yes, but you may need to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe.

Recipe 2: Lemon Meringue Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made pie crust
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Place the pie crust in a 9-inch pie dish and prick the bottom with a fork.
  3. Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Let it cool while you prepare the filling.
  4. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, water, lemon juice, and lemon zest until smooth.
  5. Whisk in the egg yolks and butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the filling into the cooled pie crust.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form.
  9. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  10. Spoon the meringue over the filling, making sure to spread it all the way to the edges of the crust to seal the filling in.
  11. Bake the pie for 10-12 minutes, or until the meringue is lightly golden brown.
  12. Let the pie cool to room temperature before serving.
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Nutritional Information:

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 270
  • Total Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 75mg
  • Sodium: 160mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 46g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 33g
  • Protein: 3g

Cooking Time:

40-45 minutes

Equipment:

  • 9-inch pie dish
  • Medium saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Mixing bowls
  • Mixer
  • Measuring cups and spoons

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