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Food: Cookie experiments - The Lyorn's Den

Sun Dec. 1st, 2013

09:31 pm - Food: Cookie experiments

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Not Christmas cookies, but does it matter?

In a Welsh cookbook I found the follwing recipe for walnut cookies:

Cream 120 grams (4oz) of butter and the same amount of sugar. Add 60 grams (2oz) of chopped walnuts and one teaspoon of orange peel. Fold in 150 grams (5oz) of flour. Form small cookies and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

I did more-or-less exactly that. Used a mix of 40 grams white/80 grams muscovado (darkest raw cane) sugar, creamed it for a good five minutes with a hand mixer. Added a quarter teaspoon of salt, along with the orange peel. Folded in white wheat flour with a spoon. No rising agent. Rolled small balls of dough in my hands and flattened them slightly into cookie shape.

The muscovado made the dough quite dark -- I baked them until they were dry to the touch on the outside, but still soft on the inside, and let them cool on the baking sheet. After two days of storage in a tin, they were very nice, solid little two-bite cookies.

"A bit like ginger nuts", K___ said when we tested the results. (I'm currently over at K__'s and Mad Freddy's place twice a week because I'll have to give their cat her meds over the holidays, and the cat won't take her meds from any strange human.)

So, something similar in ginger.

For the ginger version, I grated very fresh ginger (about a teaspoon), and diced about 45g (1.2oz) of candied ginger. I used lemon peel instead of orange, and out of curiosity I added 1/4 tea spoon of baking soda.

The most noticable result was that the dough was a whole lot softer, caused by the juice of the fresh ginger. I could have added more flour, but as this was an experiment and the dough could still be handled, I didn't.

This time, the cookies flowed apart on baking and became very thin and soft. Being so thin, they browned a lot faster, so I had to open the oven door and then reduce the temperature to about 150°C (a little more than 300°F) after 7 minutes to avoid burning.

The taste turned out somewhat sweeter, because the slight bitterness of the walnuts is missing. But they are also quite fine already, after only one day of storage. Much softer than the original, too.

More ideas:

To make the walnut variant look more seasonal, use sugar icing with a hint of orange juice or lemon juice, and a piece of walnut or a small cube of candied orange on top.

Icing would not be a good idea for the thin ginger variant, it would turn out much too sweet. I'll be curious what happens when I put in more flour and/or do not use baking soda. Or maybe put in a tablespoon of dark chocolate drops.

Another thought: Hazelnuts and espresso powder?

Instead of rolling and flattening the dough by hand, it might be possible to form rolls, cool them, and cut them, for a smoother look.

Anyway, very good cookies, with lots of possibilities for playing around.

ETA: I suspect I made a complete mess of British and American terms here...

This entry was originally posted at http://lyorn.dreamwidth.org/32962.html. Please comment whereever suits you.

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