Thursday, January 8, 2009
End of The Quest
I have a character flaw. Well, to be honest, I have many. But the one I'm addressing today is my tendency to say, "Close enough."
Back when I used to try to sew clothes for myself, everything I made looked homemade because once the garment was complete, I couldn't muster up the energy to go back and pick off the stray threads, remove basting seams, and finish up the raw edges. I used up all my energy to get the stupid blouse, dress, or nightgown done, so I'd look at the pathetic, ugly thing and say, "Close enough."
I'm the same way with housecleaning. I feel I've scored major points just by getting the vacuum out of hibernation and running it around the floor. Is it really necessary to get the hose attachments and suck the dust blanket out of the corners? Who notices that? Close enough!
And, unfortunately, I'm the same way in baking. I love gorgeous "feast for the eyes" cakes and cookies, but I just don't take the time to make my baked goods look perfect. I love the look of intricately iced cookies or lavishly decorated cakes, but honestly, it's just food. If it tastes good, isn't that enough? I don't have the time or patience to spend 2 hours decorating cookies that will be eaten in about 2 minutes.
So, how does this impact my quest to recreate the cookies that I ate over 10 years ago? I've procrastinated, tried several recipes, learned a few things and came up with something that tastes like what I remember. Moist, chocolatey outside with smooth, coconut inside. Not as cloying as a Mounds bar, but still addictive.
What's wrong with that? Nothing, except it doesn't look right. My cookies started out as nice balls, but in the oven they squashed out a bit. It would take a lot more experimenting to figure out how to make the cookies come out round. Lots of chilling of the dough, maybe a stiffer dough, cooking in a mold, ..... oh, well, I'm done. Close enough.
I think theses cookies kind of look like mountain peaks so I named them Coconut Matterhorns. You could opt for the summertime version and leave them plain brown, or go for the snow-capped version and roll them in powdered sugar. Either way they make substantial, delicious cookies. If you try them, let me know if you think they were worth the effort.
1 batch of these macaroons, slightly underbaked (about 18 minutes)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1- Beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl until well blended.
2- Add corn syrup, egg and vanilla, blending well.
3- In a small bowl combine the flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, blending well.
4- Cover the dough and chill for at least 1 hour, or until firm.
5- Heat oven to 350 deg. F and position rack in the center of the oven. Spray a cookie sheet with baking spray.
6- Using your hands, mold the dough around the macaroons. I used about 1 Tbsp of dough to cover the top and a little less than that, to cover the bottom. Make sure the macaroon is entirely enclosed, and pinch off any excess dough, shaping into as round a shape as possible.
7- Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the dough looses its gloss and just looks set. Remove the sheet from the oven and let the cookies sit on the sheet for an additional 5 minutes.
8- Remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
9- If desired, roll the cooled cookies in powdered sugar.
The cookies will keep well for a week stored airtight at room temperature.