Monday, November 17, 2008

Week 7- Cookies!!!

In lecture for week 7 we talked about cookies and the different kinds of cookies. There are drop (chocolate chip cookies), icebox (pinwheels), bar (brownies), cut-out (sugar cookies), wafer (tuille cookies), and pressed, or spritz cookies (butter).
Cookies are usually high in fat, which helps with tenderness, flavor, and shelf life. There is less liquid in cookies and usually made by using the creaming method.

For the week 7 lab, I teamed up w/ Kim and we made butter cookies, coconut macaroons, lemon bars, and tuille cookies. Cookies are pretty easy for me. I've been making cookies with my mom since I was about as tall as the counter. Chocolate chip, butter, sugar, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, and many many more. I've never made macaroons of any sort, nor have I ever made lemon bars. So this was definitely fun for me. Although I am never making macaroons again. I really hate meringue.

Coconut Macaroons
2 egg whites
½ teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
3 ½ ounces flaked coconut
 Lightly grease a cookie sheet; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl beat egg whites and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, about 1 T at a time, beating till stiff peaks form. Fold in coconut.
Pipe mixture (or drop in rounded teaspoons) 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake in 325 oven about 20 minutes or till edges are lightly browned.

End result. They don't look that pretty. Partially because they really aren't. Did I mention I hate meringue?

Next we made butter cookies and rolled them out.

Butter Cookie Recipe
18 oz butter
10 oz sugar
1 egg
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
20 oz flour

Cream butter until fluffy.
Add sugar and cream until pale. Scrape down side of bowl.
Add egg, salt, and vanilla. Scrape down side of bowl.
Add the flour and mix until well blended.
These were good, but I kind of felt like they were a bit dry for my taste. I would have liked something more moist, or maybe more flavor? I'm not really sure what it was exactly that these cookies were lacking, but they were definitely lacking something. I think I am going to stick to my mom's recipe for butter cookies.
We rolled them out and Kim and I cut out designs. I only have X-mas cutouts, so we used those. Then we decorated them. Kim felt like hers looked so bad, but honestly, they weren't and she just needs more practice. For her first time, it wasn't bad at all.
These were a couple of mine. I did the candy cane last second w/ my pinky and ring fingers cuz I ran out of paper pipes. It got messy and the green was so dark....

Next the Tulipes. I was getting so aggravated with them, I am so glad Kim kept up on them. She was so damned determined to get them done right. Let her do that since i think they would have been the death of me.

1 pound Unsalted butter
1 pound Powdered sugar
1 pound All-purpose flour
1 1/2 pounds Egg Whites
1. Melt the butter and place in a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and blend until almost smooth.
2. Add the flour and blend until smooth. With the mixer running, add the egg whites very slowly. Beat until blended, but do not incorporate air into the batter.
3. Strain the dough through a china cap and set aside to cool completely.
4. Coat several sheet pans with melted butter or line with silicone mats. Spread the dough into 6-inch (15-centimeter) circles on the pans. Bake at 400°F (200°C) until the edges are brown and the dough is dry, approximately 12 to 18 minutes.
5. To shape into cups, lift the hot cookies off the sheet pan one at a time with an offset spatula. Immediately place over an inverted glass and top with a ramekin or small bowl. The cookies cool very quickly, becoming firm and crisp. The cookie bowls can be used for serving ice cream, crème brûlée, fruit or other items.
6. Yield: 30 Cups, approximately 3 inch diameter

These were a couple of our best ones. They did taste good for being practically nothing. Personally I think they are a waste of time.
Lastly, lemon bars!!! We used the pate sucree from our tart lab for the base. We baked it off in a half sheet pan, but didn't bake them too much. I didn't want a dry base, so we didn't bake them as long as everyone else did. Ours still looked creamy before we put the lemon filling on top, where as mostly everyone's were baked to a golden brown.

Lemon Bar recipe:
2 1/2 pounds Sweet Tart Dough, plain or coconut variation
Egg wash, as needed
22 ounces Granulated sugar (1 lb. 6 oz.)
8 Eggs
2 ounces Pastry flour
11 fluid ounces Lemon or lime juice
5 fluid ounces Milk
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 ounces Powdered sugar, for garnish

1. Roll the chilled dough out on parchment paper to fit the sides and bottom of a half-size sheet pan. Prick the surface of the dough with a fork and bake at 350°F (175°C) until the dough is light golden, approximately 15 minutes. If cracks develop during the baking process, patch with the leftover dough and return briefly to the oven.
2. Brush the baked dough with egg wash and return to the oven for 3 minutes or until the egg wash has set.
3. To prepare the filling, whip the sugar and the eggs just until smooth. Whisk in the pastry flour until well combined, then add the lemon juice, milk and salt.
4. Pour the lemon filling in the prebaked shell.
5. Bake at 325°F (163°C) until set, approximately 25 minutes.
6. Cool, then cut into 1 1/2 inch × 1 1/2 inch (4 × 4 cm) squares. Dust liberally with powdered sugar.

We definitely had ours baking for a lot longer than 25 minutes. We didn't use all the filling, but I stilled kind of over poured all that filling in the sheet. I think becuase they were so thick, that's why they took so long. But they did finally stop being giggly. I threw them into the blast chiller until it was time to cut them. They were hard to get out of the sheet pan and I think if I ever do them again, I will probably spray the pan, line it with parchment paper, then spray the parchment paper. It will probably get them out easier.
Kim and I definitely worked well together in this lab. Neither of us argued on who was going to do what or about how we were doing it, so that was nice. Actually, I think overall, it seemed like all the teams worked well together.
We had to critique everyone's special cookie recipe after we were all done. Even though I personally didn't like the macaroons (the other groups did Pocky cookies, French-style macaroons and double chocolate biscotti), I still tried to rate them based on how they were supposed to taste, feel, etc. I thought I did a good job of that. The biscotti's were good, just needed a little more baking time. But that is definitely a recipe I would use in the future.
Here it is in case some of you were interested:

Double Chocolate Chunk Biscotti
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Lightly grease a cookie sheet; set aside. Beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder; beat till combined. Beat in eggs. Beat in as much of the flour as you can. Stir in remaining flour. Stir in chopped white and semisweet chocolate. 

Shape dough into 2 nine inch long rolls. Place rolls on the prepped cookie sheet. Flatten slightly. Bake in 375 oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on sheet for ½ hour. 
Cut each roll diagonally into ½ inch thick slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on an ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake in 325 oven for 8 minutes. Turn and bake 7 additional minutes till cookies are dry and crisp. Do not over bake. Let cool.

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