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Absurdly, stupidly basic pastry & baking questions


Toliver
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I recently made Kim Shook's Dream Cookies recipe. It calls for 1 cup of butter to be creamed with 1 cup of sugar. So my stupid question is, could I use powdered sugar/confectioner's sugar for the sugar in the recipe instead of the called-for granulated sugar? 

Would it make a difference and why would it make a difference?

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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One thing I can point out immediately would be that a cup of granulated sugar and a cup of powdered sugar would be two totally different actual amounts of sugar. You could possibly maybe weigh out a cup of granulated sugar and use the same amount by weight of powdered sugar. Although, I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't some other reasons as to not use powdered sugar as a replacement. I'll let a baking expert chime in on that.

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I don't think you'll get the maximum "fluff" that you're looking for in the creaming method. Confectioner's sugar won't beat as much air into the butter as granulated sugar will. (Scientific explanations are not my thing, but I think that's the gist of it.) MisterKrazee is right as well. One cup of granulated sugar is 200 grams. One cup of confectioner's sugar is 125 grams. 

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and remember, powdered sugar and confectioners sugar contains cornstarch.

Yep, and cornstarch has a tenderizing effect on cookies when subbed in for part of the flour. I suspect using an equal amount by weight of powdered sugar in place of granulated without adjusting the flour accordingly could lead to noticeably drier cookies as well... but I haven't actually tried it.

 

Edited by Tri2Cook (log)

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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and remember, powdered sugar and confectioners sugar contains cornstarch.

 

Not in Australia though ;) Ours is labelled "icing mixture" whereas pure powdered sugar is labelled "icing sugar"

 

I know this is completely irrelevant to the original post ;)

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It's been pretty well covered: you won't get much lift from creaming since the sugar is smaller, cornstarch affects tenderness & liquid content, and the recipe will be off balance due to using volume instead weight to measure.

 

Granulated sugar is one of the few dry ingredients to measure out pretty consistently at about 6¾ - 7¼ oz per cup. Powdered sugar, confectioner's sugar, icing sugar, etc. tends to be fluffy and doesn't pack a container in the same way. A cup of it varies widely in weight.

 

If you had made the substitution by weight, I'd say the recipe would turn out close to the original: flatter, denser, but softer with less chew.

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  • 2 years later...

A different subject today:

I enjoy Snickerdoodle cookies.

My stupid question is why we don't see Snickerdoodle cookies for sale on the cookie aisle in our grocery stores?

Too short of a shelf life?

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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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4 hours ago, Toliver said:

A different subject today:

I enjoy Snickerdoodle cookies.

My stupid question is why we don't see Snickerdoodle cookies for sale on the cookie aisle in our grocery stores?

Too short of a shelf life?

Not in the grocery aisles, but most of the grocery store bakeries have them around here.

Edited by Kim Shook (log)
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I guess I'm looking in the wrong place! Thanks...

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I did once buy boxed snickerdoodles, I don’t recall the brand (it wasn’t one of the big companies) but I remember they were disappointing.

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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On 1/4/2018 at 9:13 PM, blue_dolphin said:

Trader Joe's sells something called "Soft Baked Snickerdoodles"  but I have never tried them.

I did. And I was sorry. (I think they're gluten-free, and free of a lot of other things as well. If you eat that way, you might enjoy them. I tried a couple and passed the box on to a young friend with celiac disease.)

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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I see Snickerdoodles and other cookies at supermarkets.  In both Walmart and Vallarta markets, that have in-store bakeries, they have the cookies up front where the deli sections are.  Same at Vons.  

 

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I've been following this discussion about Snickerdoodle cookies...which, by the way I've never made and never tasted...and keep on wondering about my own recipe for Snicker Doodle Cake.  It was given to me about 57 years ago by a friend and I used to make it a lot.  It was a 1.2.3. cake, as in 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar and 3 eggs; 1 cup of milk, 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 3 cups of flour.  Topped with cinnamon and sugar.   I have no idea of its origin.  I found the recipe again and might try it again.  

 

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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  • 5 years later...

Hello, 

I love my food savouries but I'm tryi g to get a bit more into my baking sweet things.

I just made some good cup cakes but the recipie didn't require me to cream the butter and sugar. I just put it all in and beat.

Can someone explain when one is to cream and when it's not necessary?

Another newbie question.

What's the point of self raising flour?

the same recipe above required self raising flour and extra bicarb of soda. I wonder why you wouldn't just go plain flour and bicarb.

I have sussed the difference between baking powder and bicarb and so I wonder if using self raising is just a simple way of omitting the baking powder but I would like to be sure.

Is it that the extra bicarb in the recipe reacts with the creame of tartare in the baking powder present in the self raising flour?

Any help/thoughts gratefully received.

 

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flour self-rising: 1 c. flour + 1.25 tsp baking powder

some suggest also adding salt.

why do people use self-rising?  no clue, but perhaps because their can of BP is 5-10 years old . . .

almost all BP now is "double acting" - it releases CO2 when wetted with acid ingredients, it releases more CO2 when heated.

bicarb is "single acting" - it releases CO2 on by wetting with acidic stuff.

why both?  provides an extra "boost" to leavening at the start.

 

purpose of creaming butter&sugar:

(1)  beats air into the butter - you'll notice the color goes to very pale yellow with time....

(2)  allows the water in the butter to dissolve the (granulated) sugar for a smoother texture - esp for icings

 

for batters it may not be necessary to cream the butter&sugar

 

 

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We never used self-rising flour until my husband started baking biscuits. For reasons unknown it makes better biscuits, or at least it does so for his biscuits. I haven't found any reason to use see-rising flour for anything else. It's a little salty tasting, which is fine for biscuits, but for most recipes that use AP flour I think it is safer to use the baking powder and salt as specified.

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Stella Parks (Brave Tart) wrote an article on the why ceam butter and sugar a while ago.  https://www.seriouseats.com/cookie-science-creaming-butter-sugar

 

Self-rising flour? - I have baked a lot over my life and have never purchased the stuff. Stepmother bought some and when I asked why??? her response was "because you have to for the rrrecipe". She cant bake to save her life. I have seen it as notedbov for biscuit recipes but not a biscuit oerson.

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23 hours ago, AlaMoi said:

flour self-rising: 1 c. flour + 1.25 tsp baking powder

some suggest also adding salt.

why do people use self-rising?  no clue, but perhaps because their can of BP is 5-10 years old . . .

almost all BP now is "double acting" - it releases CO2 when wetted with acid ingredients, it releases more CO2 when heated.

bicarb is "single acting" - it releases CO2 on by wetting with acidic stuff.

why both?  provides an extra "boost" to leavening at the start.

 

purpose of creaming butter&sugar:

(1)  beats air into the butter - you'll notice the color goes to very pale yellow with time....

(2)  allows the water in the butter to dissolve the (granulated) sugar for a smoother texture - esp for icings

 

for batters it may not be necessary to cream the butter&sugar

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to reply.

I'm wondering why we wouldn't simply cream everything if it guarantees to add air and give a smoother texture.

Why do some sponges call for it and others not?

As I said, the batter I made for simple cupcakes was delightfully light and I didn't cream. I wonder if it would have been even lighter had I creamed.

I wonder if it was felt the recipe didn't require creaming because the sponge turns out light enough anyway.

Any thoughts greatly appreciated.

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prolly need to draft some pastry experts into the conversation.  I cream the b&s as directions call for it - some cases are obvious, other cases not so much.

I'm thinking that some batters are wet enough they will dissolve the "free sugar" without issue during mix & bake....  where the borders are, I do not know.

pancakes for example - you don't find sugar grit in a pancake . . or a waffle

or a muffin

the creamed butter is reported to add fluff to a batter - same as beating egg whites for an omelette.  the entrained air expands and ....

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On 1/9/2023 at 10:27 PM, heidih said:

Stella Parks (Brave Tart) wrote an article on the why ceam butter and sugar a while ago.  https://www.seriouseats.com/cookie-science-creaming-butter-sugar

 

Self-rising flour? - I have baked a lot over my life and have never purchased the stuff. Stepmother bought some and when I asked why??? her response was "because you have to for the rrrecipe". She cant bake to save her life. I have seen it as notedbov for biscuit recipes but not a biscuit oerson.

This is a great article thank you for posting it.

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On 1/10/2023 at 10:30 PM, AlaMoi said:

prolly need to draft some pastry experts into the conversation.  I cream the b&s as directions call for it - some cases are obvious, other cases not so much.

I'm thinking that some batters are wet enough they will dissolve the "free sugar" without issue during mix & bake....  where the borders are, I do not know.

pancakes for example - you don't find sugar grit in a pancake . . or a waffle

or a muffin

the creamed butter is reported to add fluff to a batter - same as beating egg whites for an omelette.  the entrained air expands and ....

Well I tried exactly the same recipe for cupcakes but creamed the butter and sugar first.

The difference was that the creamed version formed mountainous peaks on my cupcakes which I of course lopped off and ate!

So I'm thinking the batch I creamed rose even more than the first batch - which rose nicely nonetheless.

In this case I think it's whether you can be bothered to cream. I got a bit more rise but the all in one recipe was also delicious and light.

Lot's of good science I've been put onto in the thread and I'm ploughing through it although scientist I am not!

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