Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cookie Chernobyl AKA Why I'm glad yesterday wasn't Christmas Eve

We are down to the wire, people.

If you are not done shopping, and industriously wrapping gifts, well, why not? What's your excuse?

Here's a cooking lesson. NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER try a recipe for the first time if you are going to give it away as a present or serve it to guests. Even if the source is the single most respectable recipe source on the planet, preview new things on your unsuspecting immediate family before you feed them to your extended relations. That's what your children are there for, to field test multiple recipes, some that may be so horrific that you will force them into therapy years from now. That's your right as a parent. I promise.

So, while following this rule, I previewed Smitten Kitchen's recipe for homemade Oreos. I mean, that's got to have some WOW factor, right? Who makes their own oreos?

This girl.

That's right. I'm going to go there. Delicious, crispy chocolate wafers fused together with a fabulously non-chemical laden creme. I have every intention of dunking the finished product in melted chocolate, and then wrapping them in pretty containers to pass out Christmas morning.

Except this recipe SUCKS.  And I don't say that lightly.

Okay, to be fair, the resulting sheet of black pavement that CEMENTED itself to my NONSTICK cookie sheet was at least fifty percent user error, since I thought the nonstick surface would be enough to bypass the parchment paper.

Nonstick surface evidently does NOT work in place of parchment, people. Write that down. ALWAYS use the parchment. 

Now, on to the problems with the recipe:

There's not enough liquid in either the dough or the frosting recipe to form either a dough or a frosting. Both recipes yielded the rough equivalent of the crumbs you get before you add the liquid to a biscuit recipe. Scrunching the crumbs together did NOT yield a cohesive dough. Figuring that it was dry in the house, I added a couple of teaspoons of milk to the recipe, both the dough, and the frosting. It came together, no problem.

Now, on to baking. The instructions say to bake these two inches apart. Well, if you attempt to bake them two inches apart, they will fuse together in a black mass, because those suckers spread like the plague. Couple the fact that I was now evidently baking a sheet cookie instead of individual cookies, and totally skipped the parchment, well let's just say I was SCRAPING bits of cookies into a plastic bag for use in something that calls for oreo crumbs later. 

Secondly, the recipe says that you should bake the cookies for nine minutes. After nine minutes, the cookies are really wet, jiggly, and look fabulously NOT cooked. They deny ALL of the conventional rules of cookie doneness. No color, not even a little bit done looking.

So I left them in for a couple of extra minutes. BIG mistake. HUGE.

The poster of the recipe says...50 comments down...that the cookies should NOT look done. Um. Okay. When someone points out an obvious flaw in the original recipe, the nice thing would be to go ahead and edit the recipe.


So for all of my efforts last night, I wound up with about ten "oreos" the size of my head.  Dunking these things is not an option, unless you are going to take a sledgehammer to them and then dunk the pieces. And the texture is just...not a wafer cookie. It's a drop cookie. Period, hallelujah, amen. This is also admitted by the poster of the recipe, I think 70 or 90 or 100 comments down. One commenter solves the problem by shaping the cookie dough into a log, refrigerating it overnight, and then slicing the cookies in tiny tiny circles. 

Duh. The stupid things that I actually managed to piece together look like a Van Gogh painting. And not in a lovely, I want to look at them all day in a museum kind of way, either. In a, man, what the hell was that person thinking kind of way.

These totally lack the wow factor. Unless you are aiming for, "Wow, those are the ugliest cookies I've ever seen." Which, let me tell you, I'm not. I want a wafer cookie, not a drop cookie, and I'm going to get another recipe.

So the lesson learned is, when sourcing recipes from a blog, read all 8 million comments. Every. Single. One. Even if your children are burning your house down around you, and you really need to get this done right now.  

Okay? Okay.

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