Friday, March 03, 2006

Baking Frustration

I've been craving Grammy's Chocolate Cookies from Martha Stewart's Special Issue Holiday Cookies 2001. I didn't feel like searching in my Rubbermaid tubs at the back of the closet for that particular issue, so I searched the internet for the recipe. Lo and behold I found several so I copied one down (they were all the same) and proceeded to make the dough yesterday afternoon. The smell of the chocolate cookie dough was intoxicating. I was excited to eat some. I baked a sheet, using my half sheet pan. Popped them into the oven and patiently waited 8 minutes. What did I get? Instead of crunchy wafers whose sugary crust gave way to fudgy goodness, I got flat blobs that ran into each other. They were very moist in the middle as though they weren't fully cooked. What happened? What could have gone wrong? I mean, I made these successfully years in a row for Christmas packages to friends and family. My mom called and chatted while I half listened, still trying to figure out what went wrong. Well into the conversation, I asked my mom if she remembered when we baked them.

"Yes, I remember. We used to bake those for the holidays."

"Did we use a Silpat?" (I had, but turns out that wasn't the problem).

"Yes, but that's not good. That and parchment paper are made of silicone and it leeches into the food . . ."

(Yada, yada, yada, forget about possible health effects of silicone, what happened to my damned cookies!)

"Oh. Hmm. Maybe it's the cookie sheet."

"What did you use?"

"A half-sheet pan. You know, the kind we used in school and in the industry."

"What kind did you use last time?"

"Those Airbake ones, that allow air to pass through underneath. I should try that next time."

"Ok."

So tonight, after work, I baked one test cookie tonight on the Airbake pan and the same thing happened. So, I tried the Airbake with parchment, using only 1/4 oz of dough instead of 1/2 oz. When I turned the sheet halfway through, they looked promising, but when I took them out, eh. What happened, you ask? Well, I finally dug out the magazine (I'm not crazy and Martha hasn't let me down yet) and all of the sites have mistyped the recipe. It's supposed to have 2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour and the baking time is 10-12 minutes, not 8! If you're going to post a recipe from a publication, you should at least get it right. So now I'm frustrated. I've got all of this cookie dough for what? The only thing I can think of doing is kneading in some more flour, but I'm disappointed because I've been craving and dreaming of these cookies for weeks now. Weeks! They've been haunting my taste buds, teasing my salivary glands. Chocolate, chocolate, CHOCOLATE!

I just tried 2 of them. Though they're not the perfect cookies I know, at least I can get them off of the cookie sheet and eat one whole. I'm never stashing my magazine again, or at the very least, I'm going to dig in the closet and get it. After all, if I'm going to do something, I should do it right.

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