Friday, November 6, 2009

12 Step Cookies (p.42)

As promised, I'm here on Friday. No slaps for you! One thing I've noticed from watching food television is that most chefs are not necessarily good bakers. In cooking competitions, if dessert comes into play, many great chefs start to panic. I'm kin of the same way. I love cooking over flame, or even tossing a pizza into the oven, but I'm not that comfortable with cakes and cookies and such. So, I considered Pat's 12 Step Cookies to be something of a challenge. As a side note, Pat sure has a lot of recipes in this thing. I've always considered him to something of a side character in the strip, but this cookbook is teeming with his arrogant recipes. And hey, he's a vegan! He can't put eggs into these cookies! I call foul, Achewood!

Anyway, cookies. I love to eat them, not good at making them. I was scared. There, you're caught up. Pat starts by instructing you to follow the recipe EXACTLY. Some recipes you can play around with and make your own, but not baked goods. As the book points out, these things are more like scientific formulas than regular recipes. Not in like a molecular gastronomy way, necessarily, it's just important not to go out and try and add your own spices or your cookies will go awry. Of course, being Pat, he yells all of this at you. The editor (Chris Onstad, I assume) chastises him, but agrees not to mess around with this recipe. When someone's nervous about making cookies, this isn't the best way to calm them down.

But I went ahead and started preparing the recipe and had a pretty good dough forming. I almost stopped there and just ate the dough because it's the baking where these things tend to fail. The dough itself is delicious, why worry about cooking it? Salmonella, I guess, but in the modern age of pasteurized eggs, it's probably not that much of a threat. Well, I had a cookbook project to complete for the blog, so I went ahead and fired up the oven. As I was starting to
spoon up the dough, I noticed a sticker:
Are you kidding me!? You go to the hassle of YELLING at me to follow your recipe EXACTLY and you have the BALLS to stick this sticker at the END of the recipe?! Well, great! Now I have a ruined batch of cookie dough melting in a bowl and I have to start ALL THE HELL OVER?? Screw you, Achewood cookbook!!! (Note- This didn't actually happen. I read ahead in every recipe to make sure I can prepare my mise en place. This was an exercise of "creative writing." I thought it would be funny. For those of you not familiar with creative writing, it's where you write about "fiction" or things that didn't actually happen. Examples include screenwriters, novelists, and Fox News reporters. You may proceed with the article now).

Ok, well, back in the real world, I pulled out my cookie sheets (which have maybe actually been used for cookies once, when Melissa made some) to get the dough rolled up. Pat recommends using the wrappers from the butter sticks you used in the dough to grease the cookie sheet. I have to say, it worked really well. It looked at first like there wasn't anything stuck to the wrapper and that it wouldn't have any effect, but it surprisingly well-greased and it did a perfect job of keeping the cookies from sticking. I'm sure this tip comes up in Heloise or one of the other old ladies that tells people how to live their lives, but I heard it first from a cartoon cat, and that's the advice I'm more likely to take, anyway. I also liked the tip about rotating the cookies halfway through cooking because the oven cooks differently in different places. It all came together to make a damn fine cookie:
They were kinda huge. I mean, you can't quite tell from the picture, but these suckers were thick. Seriously, one or two of these things was plenty. I'm normally a 3-4 cookie at a time kind of guy (which is probably a bad habit, anyway, and explains why I have to run 20 miles a week to keep in shape), but these ones filled me up. They were gooey and VERY chocolaty. The recipe only made about 16 cookies, but used an entire bag of chocolate chips. You would be eating one and suddenly tap into a lode of rich chocolate, like a miner discovering oil or melted diamonds or whatever it is miners find that's liquid. We ate a couple of the cookies and stuck the rest in a tupperware with a slice of bread. This is something I learned from my mom, not a cartoon cat. The bread seems to absorb whatever it is that dries cookies out in the atmosphere of a tupperware container and keeps the cookies nice and chewy for a long period of time. The bread, on the other hand, feels like a cracker. It's a neat trick, and I don't know what makes it work. The cookies lasted about a week, which in our house is a pretty significant amount of time for sweets to last. We just couldn't eat that many of them at once. So, I guess that's it. I conquered my fear and made a tasty treat that can be enjoyed by anyone- I mean, who doesn't like a cookie? Everyone from Jesus to Hitler likes cookies. Yes, even Albert Einstein (probably). I'll make them again, saying I"m going to take them to a potluck or something, but I'll probably eat them myself. That's all for now. Only a couple of posts left in the series, people. Start planning your "End of Selzer & Smuckles" parties now. Until then...


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