Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cookie Melt-Down

You win some, you lose some, they say. I've continued to attempt to bake despite the fact that my thermometer and my food scale hasn't come yet, this being a hindrance because measuring flour by volume makes for wildly inaccurate proportions.

This week, the blueberry muffins and the pizza have been successes, though I'm still working on the pizza. It's coming out as a thin-crust pizza, and I like slightly more bread-like crust. What failed were the pomegranate and chocolate chunk cookies. The idea is fabulous, and in the oven the pomegranate's seeds turn nut-like in consistency while continuing to add a tartness to the buttery, sweet cookie. The recipe doesn't specify the type of flour, and being the geek I am, I now have bleached and unbleached all-purpose flour, bread flour, and pastry flour, these all having different proportions of starch and protein and having different characteristics. Now scientist and baker Shirley Corrhier has a book called Cookwise, which applies food science to recipes. So I looked over her chart of how to adjust cookie recipes to get the kind of cookie you want: tender, chewy, puffed, flat, etc. There was a lot of ways to do this, but I decided to used pastry flour to get puffy cookies.

Of course, life intervenes, and the baby cried for food just as I was getting the pizza out of the oven to add toppings. I gave Sunny some quick instructions for finishing the pizza, and told him to turn down the oven before making drop cookies from the cookie dough I'd finished. The recipe is a whole stick of butter and a whole cup of sugar, and just enough flour to keep it from becoming candy. I don't know what happened next, but when I came out, the cookies were a series of melted disks on the baking sheet. They'd flattened out and spread out until the whole sheet was one very thin cookie.

Well, Sunny scraped the cookie off of the wax paper and we've been eating the very yummy chunks of chocolate and pomegranate butter cookie. I'm debating whether I should try all-purpose flour next or bread flour, but at this point I'm feeling the urge to try my hand at Japanese cuisine again, so I've shelved my baking supplies until the thermometer and the scale get here.

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