Learning 2 Bake, from Scratch – XII

I’m tired of cakes, for now, so how about some cookies? The first five cookie recipes in grandma’s cookbook required things I do not have (raisins, buttermilk, oatmeal, baker’s ammonia). Sixth time is the charm, or not. There is a reason for “mise en place un”: I’m out of sour cream, too. What’s up with cookie recipes and sour/butter milk/cream? Lots and lots of those. Here’s one I can do:

Honey Cookies

From: Erna
Source: Mrs. Schneider

2 lb B[rown] sugar
1 qt honey
½ cup boiling water
1 tsp soda [baking] (in water)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
6 eggs (well beaten)
1 cup nuts
pinch of salt

Of course, no instructions. Conspicuous by its absence: An oil – no butter or lard. I have all of this, but two pounds of brown sugar? That’s a lot of cookies. Quartering it seems reasonable, but how does one quarter six eggs? Thirding it causes even more grief with the teaspoons. Since I’m trying to learn as well as bake, let’s be daring and say that a quarter of six eggs is one egg plus one yolk (I still have leftover yolks from all the cake frosting). Since I’m going to be picking the nuts out of trail-mix, I’m going for cashews – and I’m going to chop them into small chunks, not spice-grind or mortar/pestle them to dust.

Quartering gives us: 1/2 lb, 1 cup, 1 Tbl, 1/4 tsp, 1.5 eggs, 1/4 cup, respectively.

Inventing the instructions: Cream sugar and eggs, add honey and water/soda mixture, add spices and nuts, add flour until cookie-dough consistency.

I only used one yolk from all that
Wow! That scale can tare!

The point of that is that the brown sugar is old – and therefore has rocks in it. Sifting it through the sieve will get rid of them. I was being clever and doing it directly into the mixing bowl in order to not dirty another dish. Nice idea, but I ended up using the dish I “saved” by this to thoroughly beat the egg.

Yes, I re-tared the scale.

Quite a few rocks, but the weight seems fairly negligible. Let’s go for it. Another change of plan: The 1.5 eggs don’t seem to be enough liquid to mix with all that sugar, so adding the water and soda at the same time. I didn’t boil the water. My tap water is over 160 (no children in the house), so I figured that was hot enough. My concession to high-altitude was using two tablespoons of it. I microwaved the honey (about 100 seconds in 20 second increments) so it would pour. This created a sticky mess in the mixer. Instead of chopping the nuts (I don’t have one of those old-school choppers), I put them in a Ziplock bag and beat them with a mallet; worked great. I added flour 1/4 cup at a time. At 1 1/2 cups, the mixer was starting to work to mix. I added one more 1/4 cup. That would be about six cups in the original recipe.

Licking the beater, I think there is too much clove in this. Spooned out by (cutlery, not measuring) teaspoons:

I forgot to take the picture until they were in the oven. (The bright light is the setting sun over my shoulder.)

Without instructions, I guessed: 350 for 8 minutes. Not enough time. 4 minutes more. Hard to tell if they’re done, but a toothpick comes out clean.

I need better task lighting; notice my shadow? All the cooking surfaces are in one’s shadow from the ceiling light.

They didn’t melt together! They’re even a bit poofy. Very chewy, but they’re still quite warm. I’m letting them cool on the hot pan because I don’t think they are quite done.

Now that I’ve typed this up, I’ll go try a cooler one… Hmm… They collapsed a bit. Still very chewy. I like the texture; very unusual for a cookie. The honey flavor definitely comes out more than in the raw batter. Still too much clove. I think swapping it for nutmeg would be much better. Can’t even tell there are cashews in it.

One thought on “Learning 2 Bake, from Scratch – XII

  1. I had the last one for breakfast (yes, I could eat more healthily), today. Perhaps a trip to Whole Foods for buttermilk, tomorrow. The Safeway near me doesn’t sell buttermilk. It sells something with the word “buttermilk” on the carton, but the list of ingredients is YUGE! and it doesn’t taste right.


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