Saturday, February 14, 2009


I started this entry almost a week ago and I'm only now finishing it. I did mean to be blogging this past week but instead I decided that, now that the series is almost over, it was high time I started watching Battlestar Galactica. So that's how I've been spending all my spare time. A girl has got to have priorities. (Just not necessarily good ones. [Not that watching Battlestar Galactica is a bad thing to do. But it would be a good thing to take breaks.]) Anyway...

My mother baked with my sister and me all the time when we were little but our repertoire was pretty limited. We mostly made tollhouse chocolate chip cookies, apple pie, rugelach, and gingersnaps. Which are all excellent things to make, really. But I think of two of those types of cookies as seasonal to begin with and I've never really enjoyed making cookies, and I'd rather have pie or ice cream, so I haven't really baked a lot of them.

Still, the little section of the office where my cubicle is located was having a cookie day Monday. Which is how I ended up searching the fantastic Smitten Kitchen for cookie recipes. I wound up making Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies and Green Tea Shortbread cookies (minus the white chocolate ganache because I don't care what it's supposed to be complimenting, I don't like white chocolate). The World Peace Cookies were fabulous. The Green Tea cookies were...fine.

Normally February would seem like a great time for baking. The only problem is my apartment management and I have very different ideas on what constitutes a livable temperature. Combine that with the run of warm weather we had and I'd like it to be a good 15 degrees cooler than it is. When the oven was on for awhile it got up around 87 in the kitchen. So that made things a little less fun than they otherwise would have been. Oh well.

The dough for the World Peace Cookies was a cinch to make. And it only requires ingredients I generally have around the apartment anyway. I love it when I can bake without going shopping. Also I'm trying to save money these days so the fact that the recipe doesn't call for anything fancy or expensive is a definite bonus. I mean I'm sure you can use expensive, fancy chocolate and the cookies turn out glorious but I used fairly middle-of-the-road stuff and the cookies still tasted awfully good.

Making slice-and-bake cookies from scratch is a new thing for me and while forming the logs was easy, it turns out that I have no idea how big an inch-and-a-half is. I made these cookies again today and used a measuring tape this time around and as a result I can say with some confidence that the first time I made these the logs were easily over two inches wide. Oops. To compensate and make sure I had enough cookies to bring to work, I cut them a bit thinner than the half-inch wide they were supposed to be. So the cookies ended up being broader and flatter than they were meant to be. But as long as things still taste good I just figure that mistakes aren't that big a deal. I do have to admit though, that I like them best at their prescribed size and washed down with milk. Like that, they're about as satisfying a cookie experience as I can imagine.

The Green Tea cookie dough was also easy to make but did require me to go out and buy matcha. And since I couldn't find the unsweetened kind the recipe called for I ended up cutting back on the powdered sugar in the recipe just a tiny bit to compensate. It's not an overly sweet cookie, which is good since I don't have all that much of a sweet tooth.

I have to admit that I was a little concerned also, by the rather unappetizing color of the dough. And it was a fucking pain in the ass to roll out. First it cracked and then it stuck horribly. I ended up rolling it out between a couple sheets of plastic wrap. And once they were baked the cookies were a much more appealing green than the dough had been. They're light and crisp with just a delicate taste of green tea. Not so much as to be overwhelming but distinctly noticeable nevertheless. Now if only I liked shortbread better.

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