Friday, June 13, 2008

Has Anyone Seen My Brain?

My brain is officially MIA (missing in action). If anyone's seen a grey, squealchy thing, sulking in a corner and refusing to come out till the stress is over, please return it to me.

My son came home from college for a weekend to help us paint the deck. It's a 5 hour drive each way (although in his case it's probably more like 4). Such sacrifice is not to be sneezed at; it should have cookies made for it instead. When I offered fresh cookies to take back with him he was on that offer like a boy who hasn't had fresh cookies since the last time he was home.

He requested these cookies. No problem. I'd made them many times and they really are delicious. But he also wanted to catch an episode of a funny TV show he'd missed. No problem. We had it on the computer in the kitchen so together we watched and laughed as I baked. Then I pulled the first batch out of the oven. Problem. They were all flat and spread out.

My cookie baking experience told me that this was a case of not enough flour. But I'd made this recipe before and didn't have to add extra flour. I double checked the amount in the recipe and on my blog - same amount both places, just the amount I remembered carefully measuring out.

I sent my son home with a bag of cookies and apologies that they didn't turn out better. My mind still churning over why they didn't turn out, I set to cleaning up the kitchen. And I discovered the bowl with the carefully measured out flour, baking powder, and salt sitting behind the mixer. Aaaaahhhhhhh!

So, what's a girl to do with a batch of huge, flat, slightly greasy cookies that no one really wants to eat? The obvious answer, scrape them into the bin, is beyond me. I simply cannot throw away perfectly good perfectly adequate food.

I had recently made this luscious pudding from Nigella Express and the thought of the pudding arced and sparked with the conundrum of the crumb puddle cookies - Pie!

I crumbled up the cookies, pressed them into a pie pan, baked at 425 deg. for about 10 minutes, then let it cool completely. Then I made the pudding. When it was cool, I whipped about 2 cups of whipping cream and carefully folded in the pudding, then poured the mousse into the pie crust and chilled it.

Why do I not have pictures of the pie to show you? Well, we ate it all. Yes, every last gluten-free crumb. It was creamy, smooth, sweet, and delicious. The chocolate nuggets in the "pie crust" were a taste and texture surprise in every bite.

So, like a 19th century children's book, I close with a moral. At the first sign of failure in the kitchen, don't give up. The only sure sign of failure is a smoke alarm. Most other disasters can in some way be saved or given new life in another form. Oh, and don't watch distracting television shows while you're baking.

Fabulous Chocolate Pudding
- adapted from Nigella Express

1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup cocoa ( Dutch will give a darker color, but regular is fine)
2 Tbsp boiling water
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped

1- Either in a saucepan or in the microwave, warm the milk and cream together.

2- In another saucepan mix the sugar and cornstarch. Sift in the cocoa. Add the 2 Tbsp of boiling water and whisk to a paste.

3- Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, followed by the warmed milk and cream, and then the vanilla extract.

4- Scrape down the sides of your pan and put it on the heat, cooking and whisking for about 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture thickens to about the consistency of mayonnaise.

5- Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the finely chopped chocolate. Pour the chocolate into 4 small cups or glasses, or if you're going to make a mousse with it, into a bowl.

6- Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate till cooled. To serve in the cups, bring to room temperature and garnish with a blob of cream. To make the mousse, fold the pudding gently into whipped cream.

As you can tell, the pie recipe is not one that you have to follow to the letter. If you want to play with it, have fun!


Sean said...

Hey, it's 4 hours even if you're just doing the speed limit - it's just potty breaks that add the extra time. ;)
The cookies were very much appreciated. Would you believe that my friend Donny was scarfing them down?! He thought they were delicious. So there you have it, even with your brain skulking in a corner you can still make food that people like. Though next time, I really wouldn't mind trying it with the dry ingredients...

Anonymous said...

Poor 'ole speedster Sean!
The gluten-free pie sounds actually quite delicious. Again, you saved the
day with your quick thinking.

Our 'chocolate and chocolate frosting cupcakes' were excellent I ate 5.

LyB said...

Oh, Lynn, I had to laugh, this totally reminds me of something I did! I once made apple-cranberry muffins, put them in the oven, and they didn't look quite right coming out. So I tasted one and realized I had forgotten the sugar. Imagine that! I wasn't as creative with them as you were with your cookies though, that pie was a stroke of genius! :)

Aimée said...

Wow, so even Cookie Baker Lynn has an off day in the kitchen. And baking cookies,too! Thanks for this confession, it made me smile. Oh and my condolences to your son.

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Lynn, your "off days" are definitely much fewer than your "on days," so no worries :0) Despite the cookies not turning out, I'd say that the pudding MORE than made up for it (gotta love Nigella!)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Oh, no! I feel your pain. A couple of weeks ago, I was making a batch of muffins and forget the sugar. You have no idea how bad completely sugarless muffins are.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Only you Lynn! It's wonderful what our minds can do to fool us. It's really great the way you play with this write up. It's genius the save you make with the pie! I hope the deck is lovely now. There will be cookies with flour many times.
Should we hope that our brains having found each other are off somewhere laughing and enjoying coffee and a cookie!

Karen Baking Soda said...

Oh Lynn, you made me laugh! I think your brain might be located next to Lien and drawer bed side cabinet?

I made cookies once with a bunch of schoolkids (6!) and forgot to put in the sugar... oh well!

Peabody said...

Your brain is most likely on vacation with my brain. :)
A good lesson always to not give up. Though I have a sensitive smoke alarm so I don't even give up when it goes off. I even went off once when I was just boiling water. It's heat sensitive as well. Grrrr.

grace said...

first of all, nice save.
secondly, psych rules!
third, i used to have a lead foot, beating people to the end destination every time. it's funny how quickly a speeding ticket will reform a person... :)

Lien said...

Very funny story, Glad that the loss was temporarily, because it made it up for it in the end by thinking up such a wonderful pud with your cookies. Maybe next time it'll even remind you to make a picture before eating it all :)))

priscilla joy said...

I've left out the baking powder or baking soda too, my family kinda eats it or looks at it like "okay"...what is going on here? Sounds like the pudding you made was yummy!

giz said...

When you happen to find your brain - could you please ask if mine is in there somewhere too. This omitting an ingredient is a common thing. The other thing that drives me insane is the stove timer. Somehow, every so often - okay often - I turn off the timer and then realize I've also turned off the entire oven. Poor cookies.

giz said...

When you happen to find your brain - could you please ask if mine is in there somewhere too. This omitting an ingredient is a common thing. The other thing that drives me insane is the stove timer. Somehow, every so often - okay often - I turn off the timer and then realize I've also turned off the entire oven. Poor cookies.

test it comm said...

A pie crust is a great way to use those cookies! I like the sound of that chocolate pudding pie in a cookie crust.

Nora B. said...

Oh my, I've done a similar thing before, but didn't rescue the flat cookies as well as you did. A good idea for next time, and I know there will be a next time for me. ;-)


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Excellent save Lynn. It reminded me of the first time I ever made shortbread=like cookies...just a blobby mess:D

Heather said...

yummo! Both these cookies AND the crust sound delicious! Way to make lemonade from lemons ;)

Anonymous said...

You're great medicine , Lynn.
If even you make stupid mistakes like that, who am I to blame myselve. THANKS for sharing !

Anonymous said...

I think I saw it with mine rolling down the hill chasing after a dumbbell. ....Or it could have been a squirrel....

Yummy dessert and time with your son, how fine!

Emily said...

Oh, gosh! I can't believe you did that. That is so funny. Actually, TV and phones are so distracting. I burned some butter tonight because I was IM'ing with my sister.

I'm so glad you were able to turn them into a lovely chocolate-y pie.

Big Boys Oven said...

wow! I like the texture of this chocolate pudding as it looks so smooth and delicious!

Anonymous said...

What a great way to use 'inadequate' cookies. I will remember that. And try it too. Lemon curd is a wonderful 'filler' for scones, cakes, pies, pastries. I always keep it on hand.

Thanks for your blog.

Katie Zeller said...

I actually have a book called "How to Repair Food". Of course, like most directions, I wouldn't dream of looking at it in an emergency...
Oh, and when you find your mind would you check and see if mine is their beside it?