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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cookie Monster

#HolidayBakingChampionship. Life Changing?

I’ve been watching the Holiday Baking Championship with Bobby Deen on the Food Network Channel. It’s riveting. Sugar and bourbon concoctions. Burnt confessions. Decorating divas and some molten disasters. Intense bakers on a quest to create something delicious and stunning. Judges devouring as they pick apart texture, flavors, and plating. "There's a flavor here that's off-putting? Did you use flour as your thickening agent?"  It’s so much fun!

And apparently inspiring.

The show (along with a baking magazine at a checkout line) gave me an imbued confidence in regard to my own skills with a whisk and rolling pin. So I took to the kitchen this weekend, beginning my new venture as a pastry chef. How'd I fare? Well, beside a flour-dusted kitchen, the results were...something unusual for our family. Homemade cookies in the house. Here's the lowdown.

Recipe #1: M&M pretzel drop cookies.

Result:  Tasty enough. (There was chocolate in them for God's sake!) Not terribly moist. In terms of appearance, the cookie was about as pretty as an M&M pretzel could probably be. Other foibles: Burnt my last batch. Perfect cookie chips for the dog. Yes, I know dogs shouldn't eat chocolate.

Recipe #2: Cranberry shortbread cookies.

My results
Result: As tasty as shortbread gets. Even moist! In terms of appearance, the design is somewhat recognizable as a star. Ok...a little disappointed on the look. Note: These cookies were hard to make! Lots of rolling. Cranberries stuck to the cutout. And it took me, like, forever. Will have to do some deep soul searching before attempting this cookie again.

How the cookies are supposed to look
 I had plans of baking a few more varieties, but I ran out of weekend daylight. And I had plenty of cookies to give out anyway. (Discovery: true homemade batches are voluminous compared to store-bought!) Admittedly, I was anxious how these were going to go over. After all, when was the last time I used something as organic as flour and butter?

So, how did they go over you ask? It's Wednesday and every single cookie from last weekend is gone. I'm not sure that means the cookies were delicious, but it at least means they were edible. (I liked them, but I'm not terribly picky when it comes to sugary treats.) I really do hope my cookies were enjoyed... because I've already decided–more is coming. Just need to determine which one of my many dog-eared recipes to conquer.

The Holiday Baking Challenge. Try it. Even if you don't bake. Challenging yourself is... invigorating! And hopefully not terribly torturous to those around you.

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