and I keep rollin' on

Well, I've done it again.  I keep saying I'll post more regularly, and then I take longer and longer breaks from actual cookie posts (although I've put up a couple other random things to prove I didn't die).  This time, some of it is due to an attempt to go to bed by midnight on school nights.  Tonight, clearly, is a fail on that.  Some of my non-posting is due to just being insanely busy - this semester I'm taking a Quantum Information class and a Jazz dance class, teaching intro Physics, still active in a bible study group with GCF, baking and cooking on a regular basis, doing research in the lab (a never-ending and hugely time-consuming thing) and flitting around doing silly things with my boyfriend.  As my dad has said before, I do well when I build up a certain level of chaos and then maintain it through the semester.

In what I imagine to be a slight break in the chaos (read: I got my homework done early and am waiting for something in the kitchen to finish), I present yet another cookie update!

79.  01.02.10 Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
I made these the day before leaving my dad's house to return back to the middle of nowhere, and so I chose something that wouldn't involve outlandish ingredients, and would hopefully be eaten quickly.  These are made with a basic brownie batter, with a filling that is mostly peanut butter and confectioners' sugar swirled around in the batter.  The idea is nice - after all, chocolate and peanut butter are delicious together, when done properly - but the execution was a bit mediocre.  When I ate these, all I could taste was the peanut butter, and not the (expensive) chocolate melted in the brownies.  Although it tasted good, I think that if I want to the taste of eating peanut butter straight, I'll forgo the baking for a spoon and the PB jar.

80.  01.10.10 Cappuccino-Chocolate Bites
The weekend after I returned to my apartment, I flew down to Louisiana to visit my sister and brother-in-law, who are both actual rocket scientists.  This was actually interesting times, because my original flight was canceled due to lots of snow in Central Illinois, and I had to fly the next day.  I was totally okay with that, since I learned to drive in South Florida and am still terrified of snow driving.  But yes, the cookies.  I decided to make these because my brother-in-law is into making his own espresso, which meant that I could easily acquire the 1T of ground espresso beans the recipe called for, without ending up with a bag of coffee I couldn't use.  The ground espresso was mixed into the cookies, which otherwise had a basic shortbread texture (you know, butter, confectioners' sugar, that kind of thing).  These cookies were then sandwiched with a milk-chocolate ganache and sprinkled with cocoa powder and confectioners' sugar to make them look very pretty.  In general, I find milk chocolate to be inferior to, well, everything ever, but in this case the richness of the ganache (yes, I consider milk chocolate to be rich) helped to mellow out the espresso so that every bite was a good experience.  Of course, it is wise not to eat these late at night, but I believe the ones I left at my sister's house were eaten for breakfast the next day (cookies for breakfast are always a lovely idea).

81.  01.16.10 Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Feeling that it was time to make some good, traditional cookies after all the rich and fancy stuff I'd made recently, I went to the the store and finally picked up the special ingredient for these cookies.  These are ordinary oatmeal raisin cookies, except that they also have toasted wheat germ in them.  In theory, this helps to make the cookies more hearty (and maybe more healthy, although health and cookies aren't too often put together).  Wheat germ is hidden by things like oatmeal in the grocery store, and is unfortunately sold in fairly large quantities.  However, these were pretty good cookies, so I don't mind making them again to use up the left over ingredients.  This time around I messed up a little: I was baking these while folding laundry, or some other such chore, and so didn't get a chance to check one of the earlier batches for baking time.  Thus, it turned out that these were a little crunchier than I think oatmeal cookies ought to be, but I think in the future if I reduce the baking time by 2 or 3 minutes they should come out close to perfect.

82.  01.23.10 Cherry Almond Biscotti
Since the last week had gotten me all excited about specialty ingredients (and I wanted to use up some old dried cherries sitting in my kitchen) I went to the grocery store and bought some amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur) to make these biscotti.  I'll point out as a side note, amaretto is tasty stuff.  But back to the topic at hand: here the dried cherries are boiled in amaretto until properly hydrated, and then added to the biscotti dough along with blanched almonds and a little bit of the leftover cooking amaretto.  The dough is baked first in a log, and then sliced and baked again, as is done for biscotti in general.  I found that these were very delicious - although the texture of the cherries was a little unexpected in the otherwise crumbly biscotti texture, they added a nice taste, as did the amaretto, which was pretty subtle.  I'm not sure about the feasibility of making these again, though, as you may recall, I've complained before about how expensive dried cherries are.  Maybe someday when I get a fancy job I'll be able to afford lots of crazy ingredients, but for now I'll try to live within my means.

83.  01.31.10 Butter Cookie Sandwiches with Chestnut Cream
Well, these guys look fancy enough, although they weren't particularly complicated to make.  The cookies are basic shortbread cut into 1-1/2" rounds, so they're quite small.  The centerpiece of this recipe is supposed to be the chestnut cream filling, which is made of butter, confectioners' sugar, and chestnut cream (crème de marron, to be fancy about it).  These sandwiched cookies are then dipped in melted semi-sweet chocolate to get their nice appearance.  Although they look very nice, I was a little disappointed with these cookies - the chestnut cream was difficult to find and expensive to buy, so when I tasted these and the filling tasted just of butter, I lamented the waste of money this turned into.  The chestnut cream itself tastes of chestnuts, as it ought, considering it's made of chestnuts and sugar, but the flavor just didn't come through all the other things going on in the recipe.

84.  02.06.10 Gingersnap-Raspberry Sandwiches
I have always been a big fan of molasses/ginger cookies, and although this one doesn't have any molasses in it, it sure had potential to be delicious: aside from regular cookie ingredients, this recipe features a large dose of ground ginger and maple syrup.  Unfortunately, I messed up when baking these cookies and did not bake them quite long enough, leaving them with a funny taste that didn't let the ginger shine through properly.  Although the recipe calls for putting raspberry jam between these cookies, I found that doing so was a hassle, as the jam oozed out all over the place and didn't taste very good with these kind of funny-tasting cookies.  Ah well, perhaps I'll have success with these another time.

85.  02.14.10 Raspberry Honey Financiers
For all that I complain about the silliness surrounding Valentine's Day, I have to say that I had a lovely day spending time doing non-consumerist things with my boyfriend, and sharing these cookies (well, more like mini muffins) with him.  The dough for these is made with butter, lots of honey, toasted and ground blanched almonds, sugar, cake flour, and egg whites.  The honey and almonds are the strong point here, to give a nice sweet taste and a little bit of crunch.  The red hearts shown in the picture are raspberry juice strained out from a puree.  The raspberry taste wasn't particularly strong, but the hearts were cute, and that was exactly the effect I was going for (well, and that the recipe told me to do).

86.  02.20.10 Ne Plus Ultra Cookies
Since winter insists on hanging on, and the Midwest has turned into a mess of snow and rain and potholes the size of a small vehicle, I decided it was time to make some comfort cookies.  That means simple tastes and chewy cookies, preferably the kind that can be eaten warm out of the oven with a glass of milk while watching the Winter Olympics.  This recipe gave me exactly what I was after: these are basically over-sized chocolate chip cookies with pecans and raisins added to them.  Usually I would object to nuts and raisins getting between me and chocolate chips, but because these cookies were so large, these ingredients prevented the cookie from being too rich to eat in one go.  To any novice bakers out there, I would suggest these cookies as a good project.  They are extremely simple to make, and they taste just a little bit better than standard chocolate chip cookies (and about a million times better than that nasty pre-made dough they sell at the grocery store. ick).  As usual, if anyone is interested I am happy to share the recipe.

...And that brings me up to date with my cookies.  This means, unless I've had a counting fail, that I am at 84 recipes already, which is nearly halfway through the book.  I may have to start organizing my efforts so that I'm not left with all the difficult recipes in my last year of this project.  For now, though, it's time to get some sleep, so I can get back to aligning optics in the morning.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails