Thursday, 13 December 2012

2000 - Solo Performance

Once again, our work schedules won't permit us to bake together this year. Since I had a four-day weekend for Thanksgiving, I got started solo on Friday, Nov. 24. Mom and I went shopping last Sunday for all the supplies. Lisa and I decided we would make our own Nestle's Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, then she'll make Sugar Cookies (since they're the kids' faves), her Magic Cookie Bars and Fudge.

I started with Lime Meltaways. Since they have to be refrigerated, I got those (two batches) mixed up and logged to be stashed in the fridge until tomorrow. I love the smell of those fresh limes. I couldn't find The Cookie Diary for the recipe, but found it on Martha's website online.

Next, I started what I thought were Dunkable Brownies but were really Baker's One-Bowl Brownies. Again, I didn't have The Cookie Diary, so I went online for the recipe - but got the wrong one. I realized it when the dough just didn't look the same. I even tried it out as cookie dough, but it spread and flattened (but still tasted good!). Still, I couldn't go on knowing they were wrong, so I whipped out two of Mom's 8x8-inch aluminum pans and made two batches of Brownies. Since they were only going to take 35 minutes to bake, I started on the Toll House Cookies. I came up with 15 dozen (which I don't have to split!)

Mom's KitchenAid stand mixer was a godsend but my back was still killing me by the time I finished (mostly because I'm quite pregnant!). I baked from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. I listened to "Kevin's Christmas Favorites" and Patrick Stewart's "A Christmas Carol."

On Saturday, I didn't start till about noon, when I sliced my lime logs into coins to bake till their edges were golden brown. That was supposed to be 15 minutes a tray, but it was more like 11 in Mom's oven. No matter what a recipe says, always watch cookies carefully on the first tray to get the timing right. You can't under-bake Lime Meltaways either or they'll break when you coat them in powdered sugar. Parchment paper made cooling these babies a breeze (but they have to be coated while they're still warm). They smelled so good that I ate one off the first tray. Total yield was about 10 dozen, to be split with Lisa.

I had started to get the ingredients together for a new cookie, Moravian Spice Cookies, when I realized that we didn't have enough ground cloves. I had to make a dash to Kroger in the rain. When I got back, I mixed up the dough, then put the rectangles of dough into the fridge until the next day. Since the Lime Meltaways were already packed away in cupcake liners inside storage containers, they went into the freezer with the Toll Houses. Then I frosted the Brownies, let them set up, cut them into squares, let them set up in the freezer (so the frosting won't stick to the parchment paper they'll be wrapped in), then stowed them away too.

Here's the recipe for Moravian Spice Cookies, which I can no longer find in recipe form when I search Martha Stewart's site. However, she does boast a video of her making "The World's Thinnest Cookies." They are not the easiest cookies to make but I love them.

Moravian Cookies
5 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c molasses
1 c (1/2 pound) dark-brown sugar
1/2 c (1/4 pound) vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

In a large mixing bowl, sift together 1 c flour, spices, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the molasses and brown sugar; beat until well combined. Add the shortening and butter. On low speed, add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, to form a stiff dough.

Divide the dough in half. Place each half of the dough on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a rectangle, and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Begin with one half of the dough, and divide the rectangle into quarters. Working on a lightly floured baking mat, roll out one of the quarters as thin as possible, until it's almost translucent, to completely cover the mat. Trim the edges, forming the dough into a perfect rectangle. Keep the remaining quarters refrigerated.

Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the rolled-out dough and the baking mat on a pan. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and continue baking for 4 more minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven, and, using a cookie cutter, quickly stamp out as many as you can before the dough cools. Transfer the stamped-out cookies to a wire rack to cool. If dough becomes hard to stamp reheat it in the oven for 45 to 60 seconds, and continue stamping out the cookies. Repeat the process until all cookies have been stamped  out of the dough.

NOTE: Press the cookies down with your hand as you cut them out to keep them flat for easy stacking. Also, because the dough is baked, then the cookies are stamped out, you will have a ton of scraps. Keep them to sprinkle on your ice cream, like Mom does!

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