Entry 24: This Website Uses Cookies

Hi Koala fans!

It’s really surprising that it’s taken this long but this week we’re attempting cookies for the first time. Cookies have always been something of an oddity for me. There’s the sort you get in large packets in supermarkets, which tend to be rock solid and not very appetising. Then you have the other sort, “American style” cookies which are softer and the size of dinner plates. Because cookies generally aren’t very complicated, we’re going to add an extra challenge – a timer!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/crunchypeanutbutterc_87012

The recipe claimed these can be made in under 30 minutes, which is rather fortunate as I planned to make them for my classmates and had a very limited amount of time to make them before class started.

"You know, you *could* try getting out of bed earlier..."

“You know, you *could* try getting out of bed earlier…”

As you can just about see in the photo, the clock is currently at 11:30. I preheated the oven to 180*C but aside from that, there was no other preparation.

"Gentlemen, start your ovens!"

“Gentlemen, start your ovens!”

The recipe measured everything in tablespoons but given that my class is pretty large, I decided to triple the amount of ingredients. The prospect of counting out 24 tablespoons worth of flour sounded both boring and extremely time consuming; and time was not on our side for this:

310g of plain flour...

310g of plain flour…

and clock is now at 11:35. I made something of a mistake with the next step, which was adding the butter. The recipe very specifically says the butter should be softened and it didn’t really spend much time between the fridge and the bowl.

By chopping up the butter, it'll make it easier to kneed into the dough.

By chopping up the butter, it’ll make it easier to kneed into the dough.

Or at least that was the theory. I tipped the flour in and added the 6 tbsp of caster sugar and three egg yolks. Cracking the eggs, separating the yolk from the white; it’s all very fussy. Someone really should invent eggs that either just yolks or just egg whites. It’d make things so much easier, despite being biologically unlikely.

"Tick tock...."

“Tick tock….”

As my assistant helpfully reminded me, we were at 20 minutes and we still hadn’t added everything yet. Clock is now 11:47 and I need to leave for class by 12:15….

Peanut butter. Beloved by raccoons in classic 80's TV shows.

“OWWWW!”

Well, perhaps in future you’ll learn not to stick your face in the bowl when I’m trying to stir. Clock is now at 11:53.

"Is it me or is this "dough" not looking very doughy?"

“Is it me or is this “dough” not looking very doughy?”

Despite mixing the ingredients for several minutes, the¬†dough was not binding together very well and I was running out of time. I had added three egg yolks as per the recipe (remember, we were working with 3 times of everything) and I took a gamble and added another three. It seemed a little better but not quite there. I decided to try a change of tack. Previously on here, when the Koala and I have attempted pastry, I’ve always been very careful not to over-kneed the pastry because otherwise it comes out rock solid, as it did with the peach tart. For the cookies, I went the other way – squishing the dough together firmly with my very thoroughly cleaned hands and after a few more minutes and a bag full of chocolate chips:

"Hey! How about we just whack this with a rolling pin a few times and have the world's largest cookie?"

“Hey! How about we just whack this with a rolling pin a few times and have the world’s largest cookie?”

Tempting though my assistants suggestion was, I suspect it would have needed a century to bake properly. I tore off small sections of the dough and pressed them into a biscuit shape. There was enough for 16 very large cookies and after 10 minutes in the oven they were ready:

The finished cookies!

The finished cookies!

Total elapsed time: 63 minutes.

Part of the reason the baking took longer was due to my oven. The outer edges don’t tend to bake properly so rather than putting two trays in together, I went with one in the centre, waited for the cookies to bake, then added the next tray. It took longer but it was worth it. The finished cookies seemed to go down pretty well with the class according to the feedback I received. The peanut butter taste could maybe have been a little stronger but over all, I’m quite pleased with them.