In which I am an idiot

Butter content: 2 in front = 1 in back.

Yesterday I baked… Wait. Isn’t that how I began the last post? Let’s try again. Yesterday I failed to bake well. Better.

It began, as cookies often do, with butter. Soften x amount of butter. For this recipe, x = ½ a cup. And so, I softened a cup of butter. Unwittingly. Carelessly. Like I knew what I was doing. I proceeded to add ingredients that would dovetail nicely with ½ a cup of butter. Not nearly enough for a whole cup of butter.

Imagine my surprise when, during the six minutes of baking, the cookies spread out on the baking sheet, joining hands, so to speak, and formed a solid mass from edge to edge. I could not begin to understand what I had done wrong. I checked the excellent “What Went Wrong?” advice (pp. 22-23) of Sharon Tyler Herbst’s The Joy of Cookies. Perhaps I had greased the baking sheet too liberally? They crumbled (the whole mass of them did) when I tried to divide them and pick them up. Perhaps I was attempting to remove them from the baking sheet too soon?

Then, between baking sheets-ful #2 and #3 it hit me. I could halve the butter and, you know, use what the recipe called for rather than what I imagined it said. Too late for that, however. I threw in a cup of rolled oats, chilled what remained of the batter and prayed that would bind the butter together. It worked, sort of. They are edible and extremely rich.

Today I baked again. Raisin-Oat Drops as the recipe is written. Still a bit problematic with the spreading and the crumbling, but definitely more workable. Delicious and fragrant, they call for ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and freshly grated orange zest, and more of our stash of extra-dark-for-cooking (aka Grade B) maple syrup. Soft and chewy, via Nova Scotia. Most excellent and maddening cookies. Or maybe it’s me that’s maddening. Oh well. Onward and upward!


About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
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2 Responses to In which I am an idiot

  1. Fiona says:

    Grrr, I know the feeling. I did a similar thing once when making a large roasting tin of flapjack – the layer of molten butter sitting on top of the cooked oats/sugar was most unappetizing! Thanks to you I have this book sitting on my Amazon wish list. I keep resisting, nobly, but I feel my resolve weakening with every post you make. And I need another recipe book like I need the proverbial trepanation…..

    • pattiblaine says:

      Oh dear, Fiona. I hope I don’t lead you into sin! I think what prompted all this baking is that I was given three cookbooks for Christmas, and when I went to put them in the cupboard I found this one, unused, taking up space. The odyssey of baking is really a lame attempt to justify the book’s existence in my collection! Notice I have not done the same with the copy of “Almost Vegetarian” from which I’ve only made potato leek soup. Talk about your need for trepanation! xo

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