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Sunday, April 30th, 2006

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More cookies
Last week I made two batches of cookies, both based on the chocolate (cocoa powder) dough. In one batch I mixed in strawberries, in the other candied ginger. The strawberries were a bit big (they were reconstituted strawberries from a bag, not fresh bits) and they clumped together. The cookies ended up really big as a result. Tasty, but each really big. They also turned out a bit caky, rather than like cookies, probably because I used too much ... baking soda? Not enough butter?

The second batch used candied ginger, and they turned out really well (although my taste testers both assured me that the chocolate strawberry cookies were "awesome" as well). The ginger has as strong taste and is sweet, so I used a bit less sugar and a bit more butter. I think it worked out okay. Also, notably in both cases, I stuck with the same general dough recipe: apple sauce in lieu of most of the butter, for instance.

When combining the Wet and Dry mixtures of these cookies I'm more often now creating more Dry than I need. I've learned that I shouldn't just toss it all in the Wet, because it's *very* difficult to incorporate it all, if it's even possible. I need to turn down how much flour I'm using, for instance. "Just over 2 cups" probably is too much for these variants.

Tonight I made chocolate peanut butter chip cookies again, but I had no apple sauce so I, well, just tried some stuff. About 2 Tbsp butter, 1 egg, 1 c. white sugar, 2 c. unpacked brown sugar, about 1 1/2 tbsp molasses, about 1 tbsp cookie vanilla ("the rest of the bottle" in my case), and about 1/2 tbsp salt. Oh, and 2 - 3 Tbsp peanut butter. Mix. Unlike the Wet that uses apple sauce, this mixture was a lot stickier and thicker. I discovered today that adding the vanilla extract thins it out quite a bit, even though it's only a tbsp or so. I need to experiment with that.

The rest was as usual: to the wet add the peanut butter chips, and prepare the dry: a bit more than 2 c. flour, 3/4 tbsp baking soda, 2 heaping Tbsp cocoa, all sifted together. I added about 3/4 of this mix to the wet and stopped just before I had a dry and crumbly mass. The added butter made the actual making of cookie blobs a lot easier, I think, because the cookies stuck together better.

Into the oven for 8 minutes at 375F. Another consequence of more butter: the outside of the cookies got a bit crunchy, not so caky. I really like this effect, so I need to experiment with it more. My taste testers tonight thought this end product was very pleasing. I ate maybe 3 or 4 cookies, my two friends finished off the other 16.

I liked the effect of the molasses, too. It adds sweetness to the cookie without being like candy. I probably added too much, because I could taste the sweetness quite easily. But it's something to experiment with. Honey would be another sweetner to try, too.

Last week I bought some orange extract. I'd like to make chocolate candied orange cookies, but I haven't found a source of candied orange bits locally. The thought sounds tasty, I gotta keep looking for the bits.
Great music
Most of the music on my iPod is just the music equivalent of chewing gum: it's pop, it has lyrics, it sorta just plays on. Some pieces are very different though, and I really like them. One that just stuck in my mind this evening (and is playing on iTunes as I write this) is Matchbox 20's "Bed of lies." The lyrics are pretty nice, but the *music* is really stirring. Here's Amazon's page for the Mad Season album, have a listen if you want. It's sounds like this that make me wish I could play a musical instrument.

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