Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Daring Bakers: Celebration Cookies
There is a season for everything. The end of the year marks the season for celebration and fittingly, our Daring Baker's challenge for November was on celebration Cookies. Peta of Peta Eats hosted our challenge this month and she shared with us a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world for us to try.
I was excited when I first saw the challenge posted on the Daring Bakers' forum early this month. I was keen on trying at least a few of the tantalizing cookies she had posted on the site. Alas, the end of the year has proven to be a very busy time for me and this didn't work out well at all for me in the kitchen. I was frazzled about getting this challenge going and the lesson I learnt: I should never attempt to bake under pressure.
The proof was in the cookies. They all tasted fantastic but they fell apart in terms of consistency and appearance. Nothing seemed to work (I tried each recipe twice!) and I almost was a crumbling mess as were my biscuits. Arrrgh. Failure kinda smells like burnt butter.
This was obviously not the season for baking for me! Before you read all about my failures, you should check out the fantastic efforts of the other bakers who've come up with some wonderful looking cookies thanks to Peta's great challenge. I just wish I could have done a better job!
The first recipe I tried was the Chocolate Coconut cookies from Baking Glory. This cookie was my very first choice: the idea of combining a rich chocolate cookie dough with cream cheese and coconut seemed divine! What a flavour combination, right?
The cookie tasted as good as I imagined. The cream cheese and coconut filling was delicious and it went well with the chocolate dough. But my cookies didn't seem to hold shape very well and they looked, as you can see, quite a mess. Rustic? Well, no I wouldn't dare excuse these by calling them rustic.
In my second attempt, I tried moulding the cookies in tartlet cups, hoping they'd hold shape better. Well, not very much better as you can see in the picture above. The dough was a little too soft to handle and it was hard to shape into perfect cups. Arrrrrgh.
Alright, I thought. I'll move on. My next choice was the Pipes Shortbread recipe Peta shared. The cookies looked so pretty: piped to look like wreaths, the reminded me of my favourite type of Danish butter cookies I used to eat out of a tin as a child. I was excited.
Guess what? My cookies completely failed. They were too short (they crumbled before I could lift them off the tray). Perhaps I over beat them? Perhaps I added too much butter? Also, the shape didn't hold.
I was getting desperate and I had absolutely no cause for celebration judging by my failed cookies. I decided to revert to an old favourite recipe of my mothers: one for her spritz cookies which I have made successfully a couple of times before. Thankfully these turned out ok.