Category Archives: Edible Failure

Catastrophic Cookie Fun – Should oatmeal cookies be dribble-y?


How badly can a person screw up making chocolate chip oatmeal cookies?  Try upwards of three hours worth of bad!

The saving grace?  They eventually turned out edible and, dare I say, yummy…and the experience lends itself to an utterly ridiculous, yet awesome, blog post!

Click here for the recipe I used or scroll to the bottom of the post but please NOTE:
The recipe at the bottom of this post has been insanely altered due to my mistakes.  It would be best if you start with the original recipe, found here, if you would like to try making them.

A couple of weeks ago, I meant up with a friend and she had brought along a bag of oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies.  They were deliciously oat-y and buttery, so of course, I asked for the recipe!

It seemed pretty straightforward…but three hours later, 6 cookie experiments later, my dribble-y inedible batter had become edible, while I still had no clue what I had done wrong!

One thing I have noticed since that Ultimate Cookie Challenge day, is that the recipe called for grinding 8 ounces of oats into a flour consistency.  I didn’t have a food processor and skipped that part.  THEN, I found I eventually had to add flour to the batter to hold the cookies together.  Coincidence?  I think not.

So, dear readers, if you see something in this entry that I have overlooked and that may have contributed to my cookie catastrophe, feel free to point it out!

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I began by mixing the butter, white & brown sugar, egg and vanilla. If you’re thinking, “Holy crap, that’s a lot of butter!”  I agree.  That was the main problem, as you will see, with my batter.  The original recipe was in ounces, which I converted to cups.  I have checked and rechecked my conversion…1.25 cups of butter is what I keep coming up with.

Mixing up the butter and the sugars

Wet Ingredients Mixed

In another bowl, I mixed the few dry ingredients:

Dry Ingredients Mixed

While doing this, I also roasted the rolled oats at the same time.  I’ve never roasted oats before but I have to say, even if you don’t *have* to, roast them anyway.  They made my kitchen smell so good!

Rolled Oats ready for the oven

Baked Oats

Here is where I go off track from the original recipe.  I don’t own a food processor, so I didn’t have the means to grind the oats into flour as the original recipe required.  I also don’t have a stand mixer, rather I have my two hands and a wooden spoon or my little electric hand-mixer to choose from.

So, at this point, I mixed everything together, wet/dry ingredients and oats, using a wooden spoon and ignored the ‘flour’ grinding.  My first mistake.

I noticed the batter was quite runny so I used a tablespoon, scooped some batter onto a piece of parchment paper and popped it in the oven.  I had a gut feeling that it wouldn’t work, so I figured experimenting with one was the way to go.  I was right.

Cookie #1 - Def Too Much Butter!

Obviously, based on the above pictures, I was right!  I baked it for 6 min, then turned the tray for another 4 min (they were supposed to bake 12 minutes total but it started to burn). The butter ran across the parchment paper and the resulting cookie looked like this:

Cookie #1

The edges were burned and breaking…inedible…all the way.

I had a bowl of failed batter and a free afternoon ahead of me, so what did I do?  I decided to experiment and see if I could fix them!

Moving on to Cookie #2…I scooped another tablespoon of batter and added two teaspoons of oats to it.  Cooked it for 6 min, turning the tray and continuing for another 2 minutes before it looked burn-y.

Cookie #2 - Added Oats

Cookie #2 fell to pieces.

Cookie #2 - Crumbled

Next up, Cookie #3!  To this dollop of batter, I added ½ tsp of flour, thinking that the batter needed something more to hold it together.  Baked 6 min and then flipped tray, baking for an additional minute.  The resulting cookie looked quite similar to the original cookies my friend had made.

Cookie #3 - Added flour

For Cookie #4, I applied both additions from Cookies #2 and #3: ½ tsp flour and 2 tsp oats to the dollop of batter.  Cooked 6 min and then another. 2.5 min.  This cookie turned out to be the best of all of them so I decided to go ahead and alter the whole batch.

First 4 experiments

Here’s where I make it even MORE complicated.  This is the Capricorn coming out to play so if crazy in-depth (possibly pointless) details annoy you, or if you just don’t like math, skip this part! *wink*

I’d been altering a tbsp of batter at a time.  Now I had decided to alter the whole bowl but how much batter was in there?

I used a cup to roughly measure and it appeared I had approximately 2 cups of batter, which I figured would be about 24 tbsp/cookies.  So, half a teaspoon of flour to each and 2 tsp of oats to each would equal an additional 12 tsp flour and approx 24 overflowing tablespoons of oats (better than having to add 48 teaspoons which was my first measurement!)

So, I went ahead and added 12 teaspoons of cake/pastry flour and, since the added oats hadn’t seemed to make a great difference, I cut the number in half to start and added 12 overflowing tablespoons.  I again put a sample in the oven and placed the remaining batter in fridge.

While Cookie #5 was baking, I called a friend to share my cookie experimentation and have a good laugh.  He made a good point when he asked, “Have you tasted any of the experiments so far?”  Um…no.  THAT got a laugh and he encouraged me to try them!

In hindsight, I definitely should have been tasting my creations but I was so caught up with the experimenting part, plus…they didn’t look all that yummy.  So, I tried cookies #3 and #4.  They didn’t taste all that bad but they were quite greasy and brittle.

At this point Cookie #5 was ready.  I had baked it for 6 min and then flipped the tray for an additional minute.

Cookie #5 - Altered batch

It actually tasted fine but it was still brittle and falling apart.  By this point, I was getting the sense that the flour was necessary to hold everything together…plus, the more flour I added, the less the edges seemed to burn.  So, I decided to add a little more.  (Don’t worry!  Cookie #6 is the final product! lol)

For the final batch alteration, I added 2 tsp more flour to the mix, refrigerated dough for 20 minutes, then popped a whole tray of cookies into the oven. Baked 6 minutes, flipped the tray and continued for another 2 min.

Cookie #6 - The Final Product

Finally! A tray of cookies!

So, in the end, I followed a modified version of the recipe.

I added 12 teaspoons of pastry flour and 12 tablespoons of oats and, hours after I began, I had two batches of yummy cookies!! Whew!


RECIPE

The Oatiest Oatmeal Cookies

Finally! Cookies!

(Recipe taken from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-oatiest-oatmeal-cookies-ever-recipe/index.html)

NOTE: Due to a number of problems I had making these cookies, see above, I have altered the recipe to reflect what finally worked for me in the end.  If you want to try these cookies (and you should! because they’re yummy!), you may want to start with the original recipe at the link above and see how it works for you.

I repeat, the recipe below is NOT the original recipe!

  • 2 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 (a little less than 1/2 cup) ounces granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ – 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spread the oats into a single layer on a half sheet pan. Bake until lightly toasted, about 20 minutes. Cool the oats in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Mix butter, sugars, egg, vanilla in one bowl
  4. Mix your dry ingredients: baking powder, salt, cinnamon, flour in another bowl.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet, mix lightly and then add the baked oats.
  6. Using a tablespoon, scoop the batter on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches between each mound.
  7. Bake until the cookies begin to brown around the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through the cooking time.
  8. Cool the cookies on the pans for 2 minutes, then remove them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

(Original, unaltered recipe found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-oatiest-oatmeal-cookies-ever-recipe/index.html)

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Nana’s Perfect Shortbread – Part 2


Shortbread Cookies Take 2

So I made a second batch of shortbread cookies and changed a few things around to see if I could make the cookies light and flaky as my grandmother used to do.

I shortened the baking time by almost half, hoping that would keep them from being as hard as the first batch.

Unfortunately, although I changed the baking time, I ended up having to slightly microwave my butter as it was too hard to work with and the middle liquified, which I didn’t realize until I added it to the dough.  I’m thinking that may have de-flaked my cookies as it seems to me that cutting in the butter is quite important for that layered light and flaky pastry texture.

I also had a friend of mine suggest using a different flour rather than all-purpose, which is what I have been using.  He suggested bread flour and I am now wondering if pastry flour would make a difference?  Any thoughts from my more experienced readers?

For the story behind my first attempt and to see the recipe I used, please check out my initial shortbread post “Nana’s Perfect Shortbread…Well…Almost”


Nana’s Perfect Shortbread – Well, almost


Shortbread Ready to Cook

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

I made my grandmother’s shortbread cookies this past weekend.  I have very vivid and fond memories of her cookies…their taste, how light and flaky they were, how she *always* seemed to have some nearby.  To a child, that right there was Grandmother Magic!

Light and flaky.  Buttery.  Somehow, food is always ten times better coming from your grandmother.

Nana has since passed away, but I have had a copy of her shortbread recipe for awhile now, just waiting for the perfect day to be brought out of the dark crevices of my recipe box.  That day came upon me this past weekend.

What I love about Nana’s recipe is that it is extremely straightforward and simple: flour, butter, salt, brown sugar and vanilla…to see the detailed recipe, visit my twin blog: Recipes from Edible Noir

I figured it would be quite easy and I wasn’t wrong.  I *did* make one mistake though, but I’ll share that towards the end of this post.

So…I gathered my ingredients:

Shortbread Ingredients

Began by mixing the dry ingredients…salt, flour, and brown sugar.  I used a fork to mix, doing my best to break up clumps of brown sugar.

This is where I ask my readers a question: How do you mix in brown sugar to dry ingredients?  Or do you?  Is it preferable to mix it with wet ingredients first, due to moisture content? With this recipe, the only wet ingredients were the butter and vanilla.  The butter I attempted to cut in rather than cream or stir in so I don’t know whether mixing the butter and sugar together first would have been the best choice.  Thoughts?

Mixing Dry Ingredients

After the dry ingredients were thoroughly mixed, I added the butter and vanilla.  The butter was room temperature and I initially began to cut it in with a large fork.  That didn’t last long and I eventually used my hands instead which resulted in a somewhat crumbly (and awesome smelling) dough:

Shortbread Dough

I rolled the dough into a ball and chilled it in the fridge for half an hour.  At that point, I turned on the oven and pulled out my only two cookie cutters: a heart and a star. (Note to Self: Buy more interesting cookie cutters!)

I decided to use wax paper to roll out the dough as I felt as though additional flour would detract from the yummy, buttery taste. From what I read online about shortbread prior to attempting this recipe, the cracked edges are a desired trait of shortbread dough.:

Rolling out and Cutting

I attacked the dough with my two little cookie cutters and found that I had enough cookies for a good sized tray.

Cutting Shortbread ShapesShortbread Ready to Cook

One thing I noticed about my ready-to-bake cookies is the sort of layered effect observed in the shortbread.  You can see it in the following picture.  My grandmother’s cookies always had a flaky consistency.  You could see the layers and feel them on your tongue.  I was quite excited to see the layers in my cookies….It let me know I was doing something right!

Here is where I admit my mistake.  I cooked them at 350 for 20 minutes.  Way too long.  I allowed them to brown and on re-examining the recipe, as well as doing more online reading, I found that they should have been removed from the oven *just* before they browned.

Finished Shortbread

They are still absolutely delicious…just a tad harder than the cookies I ate as a child.  Not a complete “Edible Failure” but not perfect.

Ah well, a minor error.

Now that I know to reduce the cooking time, I will be sure to add a picture of the perfect second batch once they are done!


RECIPE

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1tsp vanilla
  1. Mix salt, flour and brown sugar together.  Use a fork to break up brown sugar clumps.
  2. Cut in room temperature butter and add vanilla.
  3. Knead dough a few times until it is an even colour, roll into a ball and place in refrigerator for approx 30 minutes to chill.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  5. Roll out dough between two pieces of wax paper until 1/4″ thick and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes.
  6. Bake for approx 15 minutes.  Keep an eye on them and once they *just* start to brown, remove from oven.

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