Sunday, October 21, 2012

I'm never baking cookies again

Cooking is a private hobby. I love sharing what I make, but the process is all my own. I enjoy being in the kitchen when no one is watching, partly because I'm a little ashamed. I mean, if you stumble on someone at 1 am covered in cake batter, you would probably think that she's a bit cuckoo. And another reason is that I've been told I'm a little bossy when I cook with others. But really, what can you do if other people don't know how to beat eggs? There's a certain way that things need to be done to yield the best results.

So now you think I'm crazy. I'm about to reinforce that a little more. I baked 7 types of cookies at 1 am, mhm. I had a bunch of cookie combinations bookmarked on my Pinterest, and I wanted to work my way through them. It sounds like an awful lot, but it's not all that bad. I didn't make 7 batches...because 7 batches at 36 cookies a batch = 252, which is over the top even for me. Instead, I made two bases, split the dough up, and added mix-ins. Most people don't realize how easy cookies are to customize, since there are very few options for the dough. One is a brown sugar base ala chocolate chip cookies, and the other is a white sugar base ala sugar cookies. All cookie recipes are a variation on one of these two themes. So the next time you bake a batch, introduce some variety and realize that you do not need to make three dozen of the same kind.

My cookie dough canvas

For the brown sugar based cookies, I made one batch of Cook's Illustrated Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie. This is an iconic recipe, so I figured that I couldn't go wrong. For the white sugar based cookies, I made half a batch of the Fat Fluffy Snickerdoodles recipe from How Sweet Eats (minus cinnamon, which was added later).

Yummy add-ins

I split the brown sugar dough into five bowls (approx 1/2 cup dough each) and put in additional ingredients, then refrigerated for a bit and baked 1 Tbsp drops at 350F for 10 minutes.

Pumpkin chocolate chip: 1/4 cup chocolate chips, 1 Tbsp pumpkin butter, 1 Tbsp additional flour, 1/4 tsp cinnamon

These were my least favorite. They were one of the first trays to go in the oven when I was still experimenting with the bake time (I started at 325F but increased to 350F after this batch)...and then I dropped half of the cookies on the floor, so these were a complete disaster. But it gets better. 

Chocolate almond butter stuffed: 1/4 cup chocolate chips, then flattened 1 1/2 Tbsp pieces with my hands, filled with 1 tsp of chocolate almond butter, and wrapped into balls before baking

Pretty good but very unbalanced. It's deliciously sinful but way too much for me.

Peanut butter chocolate oatmeal: 1/4 cup oats, 1/4 cup chocolate chips, 1 Tbsp peanut butter

These were the healthiest. They even smelled healthy.

Mini peanut butter cups: 1/2 cup of bite sized Reeses

I was too full to try one, but you can't really mess this up.

Pumpkin white chocolate chip: 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, 1 Tbsp pumpkin butter, 1 Tbsp additional flour, 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Amazing! These were the absolute best. The white chocolate enhances the pumpkin flavor so well.

The snickerdoodle/sugar cookie dough. I started with half a batch of the sugar cookie recipe listed above, omitting the original cinnnamon, then divided the dough in half. For the lemon cookies, I added 1 tsp lemon zest and 1 tsp lemon juice.

The lemon cookies were decent, but I wish the citrus flavor was strong. It needs more zest next time.

The snickerdoodle dough. I added 1/4 tsp cinnamon, formed Tbsp-sized balls, and then rolled in a mixture of 1 Tbsp white sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.

They came out super pillowy and cute from the oven, although they quickly deflated. These were my second favorite.

From top left counterclockwise: pumpkin white chocolate, chocolate pb cups, chocolate pb oatmeal, chocolate almond butter stuffed.

Snickerdoodles and lemon cookies. I packed everything in Tupperware and mailed some to David, then brought the rest to work.  

And here is the damage in the kitchen. It gets messy like this quite frequently, aka every time I cook.Yes, the eggs are sitting on a skillet, I'm just cray like that.

P.S. I'm sick of cookies for the rest of my life.

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