Thursday, February 10, 2011

thursday and etc

today I made the bourbon balls.

One is supposed to let them keep for a week before eating. I am tempted to send them to friends in San Francisco where we will join them in about a week and enjoy them while vacationing. Nice plan, I think.

Then I made date bars. They are good.

I'm actually bordering on exhausted at the moment so I will not elaborate. Also, Pickles is whining nearby, anxious to cuddle up on couch with me.
I would like to cuddle too.

Don't forget to brush.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rainy, Snowy, Icy Saturday

Last night Roma came over and acted interested as I spoke to her about my blog and cookies, etc. I asked her to pick the cooky I would make next and she picked two: the Brown Butter Cookies, featured from 1961 and the fabulous bourbon balls from 1980. The bourbon balls sound delicious but the only ingredient I have on hand for that is bourbon. Since I don't have raisins, chocolate wafer crumbs, pecans or ground ginger, I opted for the brown butter cookies since for those you merely need butter, sugar, vanilla, flour and baking powder and then it calls for a blanched almond stuck in the middle.

I've never browned butter before but with DbR's help, I did so successfully and then I was thwarted because the dough didn't beat to a "smooth dough" as described. I added more butter, not browned.

In recipe notes it does say "the dough is very crumbly, must be kneaded to make it come together in a smooth mass; do not be gentle" but I never got to reading that until after I was grumpily rolling out the crumbly dough, pressing them and putting the nut in. I used praline coated pecans cut in half instead of the almond.
It says bake in a slow oven for 20 minutes. When I took them out after 19 minutes, they were over done. They do taste nice, though.

Don't forget to brush.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Brandy Snaps from July 1949

This is what the Brandy Snap is supposed to look like, or actually, it should be even lighter and thinner than the above. Only four out of 20 of my cookies ended up looking like this. I'm not sure why but they ended up mostly like this:

The recipe calls for one to cook up the ingredients in a saucepan and then add the flour. One then drops the dough, which is supposed to be liquidy, onto the pan and cooks it slow for about ten minutes or so. When it comes out of the oven, one is supposed to be able to roll the cooky around a dowel of some sort and make an ultra thin cone/roll shape.

The first pan's worth, I guess, was still liquid-y enough to spread and become a consistency which was able to be rolled. After that, the dough's consistency hardened up and the cooky came out of the oven kind of hard and crumbly. Not able to be rolled...

__ok, its a snow day right now and I'm typing this up while watching the first Smoky and the Bandit and I just laughed out loud at the sound of Paul Williams making a pony sound as he counted out a stack of money for Burt___

...into a nice cone shape. The second pan's worth quickly turned rigid and crumbly. The third pan I gave up on, for the most part, and after they came out of the oven I wrapped them up in foil and hopefully later I will be able to enjoy a soft-ish molasses cooky (because I have had enough cooky for now).

Don't forget to brush.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Scotch Oat Crunchies-January 1943

Don't forget to brush.

I'd rather be embroidering

Sometimes when I make food or cookies or anything, especially if it is a new recipe, I don't usually taste it as well as I would like. I'm distracted by the event of creating and presenting and then the ordeal of clean up and I am very poor at tasting and enjoying calmly. If I am entertaining, FORGET it!

So last Sunday when I made those cookies with the walnuts, I liked them okay, enough to enjoy them and mark the enjoyment, especially with walnuts. We did bring them to the show that night and people liked them, mostly hippies who hadn't eaten dinner. I had one during the night's event and noted my enjoyment then but I was distracted by my EggEggs embroidery project, the people and the music.

Monday I woke up having barely slept. The insomnia struck again and really put me off. Coupled with a minor low blood sugar event in the early a.m., I was feeling sorry for myself enough to call in sick. I got my eight hours sleeping until noon and dragged myself downstairs around 1:30 feeling out of sorts, kind of hungry, kind of not. I drooped around a little, poured myself a cup of coffee, thought better of it and after pouring it down the sink, I turned to the walnut acorn cookies which had evaded being packed up for the night at Feeding Tube Records and gobbled one down, followed by the remaining four acorn cookies.

I've never appreciated walnuts. I don't like a nut cookie. I enjoy the occasional thumbprint rolled in walnuts but that was my only oh, wow, walnuts pleasure moment. Monday afternoon I had my "wow-walnuts!" moment for reals. The time I took carefully mincing the cup and a half of nuts without them mushing into nut dust was worth the slightly sore back. David had described how the walnut flavor was deep and long-lasting and he was right. Even though the taste and the mouth feel bordered on heavy, the substantialness was perfect for me at that moment in the kitchen. Hearty, not mushy but soft enough not to be a crunchy trouble. The flair of the melted chocolate and nut dip wasn't needed but a happy accent.

I didn't appreciate this cookie the day I made it but the day-after gobbling has convinced me to go back to the wow-walnut neighborhood.

Don't forget to brush.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I don't like walnuts

Today I woke up grumpy. I went to bed around 1:30 and didn't get to sleep until past 4:30, not exactly sure why. I have been planning on making the Walnut Acorn Cookies (published in Dec 2000) all week. I bought the walnuts last Tuesday, when I was buying the ingredients for the last cooky I made for this blog. I woke up grumpy, thinking about these cookies and eager to have the adventure.

I don't really like nuts, generally, so I wasn't particularly excited about making these for the taste but happy for the procedure. I melted the butter as the recipe requested and chopped the walnuts finely, taking my time to enjoy the procedure. I didn't want walnut mush, as a food processor might create so I took the walnuts one or two at a time and chopped chopped chopped. The cookies were easy to mix and form and at 375 degrees, they took a minute less than the 10 minutes to bake.

I had trouble with the melted chocolate for dipping so I used a different pan and put it directly over the flame (instead of the double boiler) and since I had less than the one cup of chips called for, ended up with half a cup semi sweet chips and one oz unsweetened chocolate melted together and dipped the cookies into that. It was plenty sweet.

These cookies were fun and easy to make and even though I don't like walnuts particularly, I think this cooky is delicious. David is very happy to eat these and is somewhat reluctant regarding my plans to bring the bulk of these to a feeding tube records event tonight.

Don't forget to brush.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Grand Marnier Glazed Pain D'epice Cookies

This cookie was the cooky chosen to represent 2009. They are very festive. The recipe called for grand marnier to be added to the glaze recipe but I used what we had on hand, Gran Gala Orange Liqueur, instead. It also describes a decorating ingredient which I have never heard of before, luster dust, which one adds to vodka and then dots onto the candied orange peel which is also decorating the cooky (besides the glaze) and although one eats the "luster", it isn't food. It's nontoxic, but not food. I found that really weird. I bought dried orange peel and dried lemon peel (the lemon peel was $5 more expensive per ounce!-also weird, I thought) and sprinkled that onto the glazed and fruit accent instead of "luster". I didn't get candied orange peel either, I bought dried pineapple and cut that up into tiny triangle for the accent. The only other change in the recipe I made was I only made a half recipe.

These cookies are delicious and they call for certain procedures unfamiliar to me. No eggs are called for but many spices. One is supposed to roll it out to a 10 x 10 square and refrigerate for 12 or so hours to make the spices come forward. Then one is to cut the dough into strips about one half inch by two inches and bake those off.

That is a small rectangle of dough. A nice effect, though, although I did overbake them for a minute or two. They call for 13-15 minutes. I baked 12 minutes and it was too long, as you can see in the pic. They were still delicious. I might try making them again and making them 2 inches by one inch.

Don't forget to brush.

I couldn't stop with the mocha cookys

A day or two after I made the mocha cookys and I loved them so much, I kept thinking about how they could be improved. I thought of them often, at work, at the gym and I thought it would be nice to eat them without chocolate chips, just with the cooky dough itself. I also thought maybe I could cook them onto a buttered pan and the edges, I thought, might sizzle a little bit and burn slightly, saltily. I thought it would be pleasant to taste the salty butter crisp edges right before the deep rich chocolate softness in the middle. I also wanted to add the Medaglia D'Oro Instant Espresso and see what the true espresso flavor would add to the cooky as is required in the original recipe.

So I mixed them up and I changed the cooky slightly. I melted 3 oz unsweetened chocolate with one and a half cups of semi sweet chocolate. I added the expresso powder I had bought and I mixed up the batter without unmelted chips. I put them on a buttered pan and baked them up.

They were terrible. Spread over the pan without forming up into lovely bulbs of baked dough. David tasted the atrocities and said they tasted good. We discussed why they were flat. Perhaps the chips form a matrix which make the cooky less flat, he supposed.
I couldn't figure out why that would be the case. Perhaps the homemade baking powder (we had run out and DbR had mixed up the correct ratio of baking soda and cream of tartar a month of so ago.) had lost its oomph. Perhaps the oven wasn't preheated hot enough. Perhaps the buttered pan, instead of the parchment papered pan added too much butter into the cooky and made the batter too wet. I took out another block of unsweetened chocolate and chopped it up, adding to the batter. I replaced the butter with parchment paper. I continued feeding the oven this brownie batter that has the potential to be a cooky. They never got as good as the first batch. I tasted a bite, it was okay but I was so repelled by how they looked that I eschewed them. The next day, David and I were discussing them again and I looked at them closely and one looked okay, not horrible and when I inspected it further, I saw that it was one of the later cookies baked and it had a chunk of chocolate baked in and this showed me that David perhaps was right, the chocolate chips do make a difference in the appearance.

A few days later, I still hadn't had my fill. I bought more chocolate chips and with the unsweetened chocolate I still had hanging around the pantry, I made another batch of the chocolate ones. I even stuck an m+m in the top of a few. delicious.

Don't forget to brush.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mocha yum

Today I made Mocha Cookies, the recipe from 1990. They are very similar to chocolate crinkles but one does not roll them in confectionary sugar. Instead, they are filled with semisweet chocolate chips. They are very chocolatey and delicious. Of course you want to undercook them so they are soft and delicious. This is what happens when you over cook them:

I HATE that. I usually like my cookies underdone and the above happened with just a minute or two too long in the oven. boo. This is what they should look like:

Yum. The recipe asks for 1 1/2 Tbls instant espresso powder, which I have never used, or even heard of, actually. I went to stop and shop and scoured the coffee aisle and the baking aisle and couldn't find this ingredient. I even asked a S+S employee, one who looked like a smart guy, and he had heard of the espresso powder and looked around for it to help me out but he couldn't find it. I found the below sugar and bought it for too much money, as a substitute for the instant espresso powder.

I used it but I can't taste any espresso. That doesn't really matter, this is my favorite cookie so far. It was very fast and easy to make. If you need to wowo someone with some chocolate cookies make these. I assure you, they will be gobbled and lauded.

Don't forget to brush.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Souvaroffs + Cloudt's Pecan Treats

It has been a while since last I've posted here. I've been busy doing many things not including baking. During the long weekend of new years I did fabricate a "baked good," or pastry rather, but not from this cooky book. I fried yeast donuts in hot oil and then I glazed and sugared them and then I filled these donuts with a rum cream and whattayaknow, I had a bunch of fresh donuts which wouldn't keep overnight. Lucky, there was a place I knew where friendly people were gathered and I was able to interest them in gobbling up donuts. They were yummy. DbR mentioned them on his blog.

Today I had a snow day from work, which is exciting, we don't have snow days usually. Since I have been planning to make cookys and add to this blog for weeks, I decided I would go ahead and make two kinds of cookies. I made them concurrently and it worked out pretty well. I started with the Souvaroffs because I had been planning on making jelly cookies for a while. I threw the dough together, cutting the recipe in half and when one is finishing the dough before refrigerating, the recipe asks for two tbls ice cold water but I forgot to half that amount like I had the previous ingredients and went ahead and put in the whole 2 tbls. I exclaimed aloud with dismay and DbR, in the other room, asked, "What?" The dough survived and turned out pretty well as I found out a half hour later when I rolled it, cut out the round shapes and baked them off (perfect amount of 24 small cookies). I filled them with the strawberry jelly David had bought earlier this week for his pb + j sandwiches.

While that dough was chilling, I made the bottom layer of shortbread cookie for the Cloudt's Pecan Treats from 1981. I found out that a cookie sheet with that little lip around the edges is called a jelly roll pan and that was what I used to bake this bottom half. After taking the bottom piece out of the 375d oven I turned the oven down to 325 and baked off the jelly cookie forms. When I got all of the pretty albeit imperfect shapes out of the oven, I mixed together and cooked the topping to this treat. I diverged from the recipe here. Instead of one and a third cups light brown sugar I used one cup dark brown sugar (it was all I had). I added one square unsweetened chocolate, just because I wanted some cocoa. Instead of using chopped pecans, since I didn't have any, I used up DbR's pecan granola. I turned the oven back to 375, poured the mixture over the jelly roll pan shortbread and stuck that back in the oven.

I cut them up and took a bite of one. I don't know if I like them yet. Later, I cut them up to triangles much smaller than the 2 x 2 recommended in the recipe. I was pleased by their texture and taste and gave some to friends who live upstairs from Magpie. I do plan to bring some Treats to work tomorrow (as the jelly flowers are all eaten up!) and make some positive vibes float around The Office.

Don't forget to brush.