Sunday, December 14, 2014
Erika, a good friend of mine, volunteered to help me with the bake-through project. "I'll be your sous-baker," she said. "I'll do anything you tell me to do. I want to learn how to bake." I thought this was an excellent idea because I can always use help, and her offer sounded like an invitation to boss her around. She's not a very bossable person, but this presented a good opportunity. (I used to be able to boss Jim, but now he reads the recipe ahead of time, and tells me when I'm doing something wrong.)
I made the dough on Friday night so I was ready to start the cookie project bright and early Saturday morning.
Erika wanted to try out my new scalloped-edge cookie cutters, but she started complaining about the dough almost immediately. "Marie, this dough is too sticky. I don't think you did it right." Jim chimed in: "The recipe says to add more flour when it starts to stick. I don't think you added enough flour." I don't know what made me think I could be the boss of either of them.
We soon got into a rhythm, though, and managed to get 74 individual cookies out of all the dough, not too far from the 80 that Rose says the recipe will make. (As you may have seen, Rose explained in a comment to last week's Roundup that she actually rolls the dough a little thinner than the 1/8-inch directed in the recipe.)
I used these green 1/8" dough markers part of the time, but I actually find them difficult to work with, and I can see that they stretch to fit the size of your rolling pin, making them not strictly accurate. They did fascinate Erika, though, and made her think she was learning tricks of the baking pro. Ha. I didn't tell her the full truth of my ongoing battle with things that require being rolled out, like pie dough and cookies.
"Are we done now?" Erika asked. "But aren't they a little ... plain?" "We're not done yet, and they won't be plain after we make the ganache," I said cheerfully, because making ganache is a lot easier than rolling out cookie dough.
Erika divided the cookies into pairs while I made the ganache, which came together so fast that no one got a picture of it. Next came the apricot glaze, which I opted for over the lekvar filling, not because I'm lazy (though I am) but because I love Bonne Maman apricot preserves. But I thought I had 2 jars of it; instead I had one jar of apricot preserves and one jar of orange marmalade. The orange marmalade would have worked just fine, I think, as would raspberry or strawberry-rhubarb preserves, both of which I had on hand, but I decided to be faithful to the recipe. "To the store, Jim!" I commanded. And to his credit, the faithful Jim obeyed.
When he returned, I quickly made the hot glaze, which Erika spooned on while I sandwiched the cookies together.
They're not plain any more! The interesting thing about these cookies (because I didn't weigh the ganache and the glaze, which, in retrospect, I wish I'd done for at least the first few) is that each one tasted a little different. Depending on whether we'd been more generous with the apricots or with the chocolate, or whether it was one of the thinner or the thicker cookies, there was a slight distinction in the emphasis of flavor. Some were definitely more chocolatey and others were fruitier. I think that the best ratio was about 2 to 1, chocolate to apricot. The thinner cookies were crispier and nuttier, but so much harder to work with that I would definitely not try to get them any thinner than 1/8".
This was Jim's favorite cookie shot, but I told him I wouldn't put it first because it reminded me of false teeth.
These were a huge hit with everyone who tried them, so much so that I believe I'm going to have to make a few more batches to give away. Next time, I'll try the plastic wrap on top of the dough trick.