Learning 2 Bake – from Scratch XVIII

There is good news, just news, bad news, and meta news on the baking front.

Meta News

The Kitchen Aid from G*d died. I hadn’t planned on immediately replacing it, even though I needed to bake some cookies for a bring-some/share-some thing; one batch of cookies by hand is hardly onerous. And there it was, in just the color I wanted – illuminated in a beam of light! Another sign from G*d! The reality was a bit more prosaic: I was at Fleet Farm, walking from the boot section to the grocery section for kibble ingredients and there was a stack of them on an endcap. They were illuminated, but by the warehouse fluorescents. A rather pricey impulse purchase, but it was the big pro model with the held-on-by-bolts mixing bowl and in black, which turned out to be more of a battleship grey, but close enough. It’s much larger, although I’ve never stressed the old one.

Much Bigger!

The first thing on the agenda: Bake the cookies. One of my favorite Christmas cookies is gum drop cookies. It is one of grandma’s recipes.

1 lb gum drops (cut up)
2 cups Brown sugar
3 eggs
¾ cup shortening
1 bottle cherries (cut up) and juice
2 Tbls warm water (premix w/soda)
½ tsp soda (premix w/water)
1 cup flour
½ tsp cream tartar
salt

Mix in order given. Drop from spoon – Bake 350.

Bad News

I’m willing to bet – quite a lot – that eggs were significantly smaller in her day. I thought the dough was a bit runny, so I added a half cup of flour. It still seemed runny, but the spoonful’s held together – until baking. I got another sheet of cookie. I added about another half cup (spoonful by spoonful, so I’m quite sure) until the consistency seemed right. Those turned out better. No pictures, sorry. But, it was only two dozens and I needed three.

BTW: Cutting gumdrops into eighths is very time consuming.

Just News

The new dough hook is significantly different from the old one. In my strict adherence to the scientific method, I changed another variable and tried a different bread recipe. It’s by Kitchen Aid, so it should work, right? (I won’t be going back to Yummly; the website is too annoying.) I only have one accessible bread pan (the others are in a box somewhere among the 100 boxes in the garage), so I halved the recipe.

You’re worried and you can’t even see how it’s plugged in!

It didn’t walk off the counter, so I counted that as a win. The dough didn’t sit on the hook and get bashed against the bowl sides, it seemed to get kneaded much better. It was a beautiful, sunny day, so I let it rise in the window, atop the breadbox.

Ignore the snow; it really was warm in the window.

It didn’t collapse. The same size loaf came out of the oven as went in:

Bread!

Good News

MOAR KOOKYZ! I was looking for a thick sugar cookie recipe because I had saved a dozen maraschino cherries to press into their tops. I found a new recipe website: Handle the Heat. She has an excellent article on thick cookies, which links to a recipe for Chai Sugar Cookies. The setup for that is the “Feature Image” (WordPress is quite enamored with them and thinks mine should be much larger). That sounded better than plain sugar cookies, even with a cherry on top. Besides, I’ve always wondered what’s in chai. Now I know – and my next cup of coffee will taste strange due to the leftovers from grinding the cardamom seeds in the coffee grinder. I’m working on consistent results, so I’m quite pleased with these:

Nicely round and almost the same size; improvement!

I need better baking pans and another cooling rack if I’m going to become a cookie baker – but I think I maxxed out Santa’s generosity with the mixer. Maybe for my birthday…

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