Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sugar Cookie Baking Diary

Day 1

Armed with my "basic sugar cookie recipe",  I girded my loins with confidence and grabbed my ingredients. My butter was slightly less than room temperature, despite sitting on the counter for a few hours, but I cut it into cubes and hoped for the best. I read my first step, "Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes."

I don't own an electric mixer so I scratched that instruction and made it applicable to me:

"With all the hopes and dreams of a small child, mix your butter, which is way too cold, with your sugar using brute strength and a whisk. Let your whisk get completely clogged with hard butter chunks until it looks deformed and ready to break before realizing that you didn't think this through and you really should look into that whole 'patience' thing as your butter would have been much easier to work with had you actually waited until it was room temperature."

Onto Plan B, my amended first step:

"Put some hot water in the bottom of your sink and place your bowl of cold butter and sugar into it while beating the snot out of it with a wooden spoon to try and 'soften' it up Soprano style. Once the butter is soft, but not melted, take it out and put it on the counter where you laugh at the recipe stating "3 minutes with an electric mixer" and begin the long process of beating, knowing full well that you still have to look forward to doing this again to add your flour!"

Arms feeling the burn, I achieved my first step with minimal sweat and looked onto my next step which read, "Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated." I like the idea of turning my poor arms down to a lower mixing speed, but mentally knew it wouldn't quite work that way.

My next step actually went like this:

"Send a prayer for your arm muscles and throw in an extra hope that they don't fall off. Begin mixing bits of the flour at a time, trying all the while to not curse your lovely husband who wanted sugar cookies in the first place. Take a break halfway through, cry for a little while, think of ways to market 'non-electric baking prep' into a massive workout program, and pray some more for your arms. Continue the sadistic mixing process until the stuff you no longer want to make, resembles dough. You will know you are done when you are confident that your arms won't have the strength to pull up your pants tomorrow, creating a sufficient enough punishment of 'official pants puller-upper' for your lovely sugar cooking loving husband."

Feeling happy that the hard part was over, I read my next 'basic' step of, "Shape the dough into 4 disks and roll each between 2 sheets of wax paper to 1/8 in thick". Onto problem 2: I don't own a rolling pin. This required further amendments to my loathsome "basic sugar cookie recipe".

Give up NOW! That should have been my next step, but feeling at the point of no return, I started a small search for a left over cardboard tube from one of the hundreds of partially used cling film boxes all over our kitchen (US translation: Saran Wrap tubes). Tube found, I cracked on with the rolling but without much weight to my cardboard rolling pin, it took a bit of time to get it to 1/8 in thick. In the middle of this process, my lovely husband came home and I made sure to glower at him lovingly, to which he decided the best thing to ask was, "What's wrong?".

I verbally repeated all above steps, including the step of trying not to curse the person I was speaking to! I commanded allowed my lovely husband to clean up while I finished rolling, before moving onto the next step of, "Chill until firm, 30 mins in the refrigerator or 15 mins in the freezer". Of course I had to choose the quickest option as I just wanted to be done and also had to make dinner and leave in an hour but this just froze my loathsome dough and it ended up in the fridge anyway.

Waiting for the dough to become workable, I got to hear my lovely husband tell tales of his sugar cookie making memories: "I don't remember my mom and grandma having to do all this. Are you sure you need to put it in the fridge? I'm pretty sure the kind we made as kids was much easier." Holding back the urge to use my Soprano technique on him with the wooden spoon, I finally just informed him that since he had only been a child making sugar cookies, his mom and grandma would have been nice to him and not make him do the hard bits, thus he was speaking bollocks.

Taking my dough out of the fridge, I found it best to eat the dough while cutting out festive shapes, that way I wouldn't have to keep up this horrible mess of making sugar cookies!

I only completed 2 batches last night and still have a few more to go today. We shall see how it goes...

27 comments:

  1. Never take on a baking project without a rolling pin.

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    1. The same could be said for taking on small children... ;)

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  2. May I offer you my recipe (handed down from my grandmother) for "Easy Sugar Cookies"? It's a family favorite!

    1. Go to the market or bakery.
    2. Buy already made sugar cookies.
    3. Eat.

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    1. Next year, that will be my cherished recipe and we will eat those cookies in your families honor!!

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  3. I trick I've seen is to oil a kettle of water and half fill a big saucepan with it. Then put the bowl on top of the saucepan with the butter in it. This works really good with a steel bowl but it will work with a ceramic or crock bowl also since you don't want to melt it only make it plastic.

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    1. Sounds like a bain-marie?? Unfortunately I was using a big plastic bowl as it's really the only mixing bowl we have...I'm basically holding back as much as I can on buying kitchen stuff until we are are no longer living in shared housing.

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    2. Yeah it'll work with plastic also. You aren't boiling the saucepan, that's just the container and the stand. But yes it's kinda like a bain marie. Only you aren't holding the bowl 'in' the water, but over it. And you aren't really heating anything. You are more warming it. Put it this way. If you 'only' had butter in the bowl it wouldn't de-nature only smear.

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  4. This is why I don't cook.

    But perhaps I should do it your way when I do. That way I can cook and work out at the same time.

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    1. You could get some killer biceps from my way of baking, although if done on a consistent basis, you may also need to take up anger management classes...

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  5. Peanut and I are going to have to send you some cookies...we've been quite the cookie monsters lately. Also, a drinking glass makes a really good rolling pin when you don't have one (that one I know from experience). :)
    Post pictures!!!!!

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    1. You two are amazing! I bet Barkley could have done a better job at making my cookies! Hmmm, a drinking glass...I will have to remember that when we have normal drinking glasses in our house (in our shared house we only have a few beer pint glasses that are oddly shaped!).

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  6. Hmm, blogger is playing silly beggers. That oil should be 'fill'.

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  7. Do you have such a thing as a microwave in the backwards land of Ireland? You can put a plastic bowl in the microwave and nuke the butter for about 30 seconds to soften it. I've always made sugar cookies without a mixer. Of course, my arms are bands of steel. It took me several years to get my sugar cookies exactly right. Some recipes require practice and tweaking, or simply throwing in the garbage and making something easier or buying the cookies, as fishducky so wisely advised.

    Love,
    Janie

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  8. We have a wonderful recipe Wednesday loves that makes chocolate and peanut butter cookies out of cake mix. At first I thought it would SURELY be a disaster, but I was wrong--the cookies are incredible. Cake mix. Who knew?

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    1. Oh, cake mix cookies are wonderful. You can use different flavors of cake mix and add a variety of ingredients.

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  9. You best be going to sit on Santa's lap and asking him kindly for an electric beater. This post cracked me up.

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  10. sugar cooking baking memories? That threw me. I have no memories from the baking parts. I have memories from the "they're done and let's eat them" parts, though. That's the BEST part!

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  11. Young one go buy the cookie dough in the tube. Have a glass of wine. Bake cookies. Have another glass. Decorate cookies. Dunk cookies in wine.

    Celebrate.:)

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  12. Julia Child never mentioned baking going like this...

    That prat Gordon Ramsay, on the other hand, would be cursing up a storm baking like this.

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  13. Ha! Sugar cookies made the way your great great grandparents would have done it Maggie. I hope they were OK in the end? :-) - Dave

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  14. Well, reading through each step I was reminded of what a wise man once told me: 'Eat... yes... bake... no.' I'm so exhausted from all of this virtual cookie-making. All I need now to make me feel better is a cookie.

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  15. And people wonder why I don't cook or bake. It's terrifying. Hope you and Branden are well, and you both have a happy and Merry Christmas!

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  16. Make that two cookies :)

    Have a great X-mas Eve!

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  17. Happy Christmas. Consider you been give a big hug.

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  18. Hope you had a wonderful X-mas. :)

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  19. Just wanted to say Happy New Year young one.

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Does this straitjacket make my butt look big?