cookie Tag

CRANBERRY VIENNESE SANDWICH CREAMS

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The crochet side-pate is from Dishes Only.

THEY ARE THE COOKIE-VERSION OF A FEEL-GOOD MOVIE, EMOTIONALLY EQUIVALENT TO A BOX OF GOLDEN TWIN-PUPPIES EACH HUGGING A HAPPY GIGGLE.

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This is what I’ve been busy with for the past 7 days, recreating Mark & Spencer’s Viennese raspberry sandwich creams.  What does that say about me, spending 84 hours scrutinizing a processed junk-food from a super chainstore, I don’t know.  But I had to make it.

If you ever had childhood experience of reaching into a tin-box, and sneaking one of those buttery nuggets of vanilla cookies into your mouth as your first memory of pure foodgasm, then I guess, you can sort of understand.  But this, this is better, upgraded.  You can either go to your nearest M&S to see for yourself, or you can stay here and do it at home.  But how I got here, however unexpectedly long it took, was no vanilla road.  Checking out all the trusted recipes that were already out there, which, affirmingly, were all very similar to one another, let’s just say that I thought it was gonna be easy.  If they all agreed on it, it must work fine, right?  Humppphhh

I made my first batch last weekend.  Well, it did work fine… how do I put it… wonderfully just okay I guess.  Wonderful in the sense that, flavor-wise, it was exactly what Viennese cookies are supposed to taste like, fireworks of buttery crumbs exploding in a vanilla sky.  No doubt about that.  But just okay because, and maybe I was being obsessively anal about it but still, I had a major textural issue with them.  It was one thing to have cookies with so much butter that they “melt in my mouth”, but it was something else entirely when they could barely hold themselves together even under the slightest pressure of a finger.  Like, I was scared to touch them… like literally, they eroded on my fingers.  I mean, if that sounds like a “dat a problem?” to you, then great, but I might add that they also had a paste-like and almost glue-ish texture in the mouth that… I just couldn’t quite get over.

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THIN AND CHEWY DATES AND RUM COOKIES

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DENSE AND CHEWY AND BORDERLINE STICKY

Sometimes, I feel, if a recipe could talk… it wouldn’t be thanking me for lovingly bringing it into this world, nor telling me how it did at school today over a cup of hot cocoa, nor about its hopes and dreams as we laugh and cry together in the kitchen at the end of a sun-drenched afternoon…  Sometimes, I feel, if a recipe could talk, first and foremost, it would probably just gently lean into my ears, and the three little words it whispers with steady breath would sound something like…  Just.  Shut up.

See, it’s not that my recipes are mean, because I assure you that I raised them all with decent manners.  But sometimes I have to admit that they’ve got a point.  Let’s take this instance as an example, shall we?  Cookies.  Very fast, very easy, zero electronic machinery needed.  Tinted with ground allspice and cardamon, and filled with minced rum-soaked dates.  If you like crispy-on-the-bottom-and-edges, but dense-and-chewy-and-borderline-sticky kind of cookies, I don’t know what else the recipe would want me to say except… make it now.

So.  Make it now.

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CHOCO-COLATE MUFFIN TOPS

MOISTER THAN A COOKIE, CRISPIER THAN A MUFFIN, LARGER THAN THE FACE OF CHESHIRE CAT AND GOES DOWN FASTER THAN THE LONGEST SLEEP I’VE RECENTLY ENJOYED

OK… I who haven’t had more than 4 hours of continuous sleep for the past few weeks, am talking to you in between my loose grip of consciousness, and my looser grip of consciousness, and then… oh look! it’s my unicorn-pony who helps with my dishes~    Uh whadat?  Oh yeah.  I was saying, how about, we take these double chocolate-y muffin tops, yes, just the tops because I couldn’t even trust my hands-and-eyes coordination to drop the batter into the molds (but it’s really because I was never fond of the bottom half of a muffin so I thought why bother), and slip into The Lady’s Wonderland to catch up?  These muffin tops are warm and melty, moister than a cookie, crispier than a muffin, larger than the face of Cheshire Cat, and goes faster than the longest sleep I’ve recently enjoyed.

So come, we could all use a fall down a tree-hole once in awhile.  Tell me about that time when you showed up in school without pants and your braises fell off.

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LIDDED OATMEAL W/ CHOCOLATE GINGER SHORTBREAD

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18 INNOCENT YEARS OF UNSUSPECTEDLY CONSUMING THE SAME WEIRDNESS, CAN GROW INTO POWERFUL, LIFELONG BRAINWASHER

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WE are all cursed with weird, nonsensical foods that we’re obsessed with eating, for absolutely no other explanations but the mere fact that… we ate them growing up.  They were often times the legacy of our great mothers who one day, out of desperation, whipped it out of a dirty kitchen sink and thought she shall repeat, for however long until the day we broke free for college.  Beware, that on top of the obliviousness that such “foods” were not nearly considered legit one step out the front-doors, 18 innocent years of unsuspectedly consuming the same weirdness, can grow into a powerful, lifelong brainwasher.  Mommy-to-be should take note.

I have, about a mile-long-list of such things.  A list that should worth a new segment called, The Stuff I Eat When I’m By Myself (stay tuned).  And rest assured, it ain’t pretty.  But Jason, on the other hand, has but one, one single childhood nonsensical food-fetish that has long menaced his reasonable adult-life.  And that is, a congealed tub of dead-cold… stiffened cadaver of something, that once in its previous life, was perhaps a barely sweet, borderline-edible plain oatmeal.  Yes, laid bare… it’s gotta be cold.  It’s gotta be stiff.  It’s gotta… make no fucking sense.  Yuuum?… well to him it certainly is.  He could eat a whole tub of that shit…

So by my manipulative caring nature, I thought, for the second instalment of the shortbread-marathon I’m preparing for Food52, that this presents a perfect opportunity to redirect his relationship with dead oatmeals, into a more… socially acceptable scenario.  But first, speaking of shortbread cookie-doughs, I should point out how utterly amazed I was at how straightforward, fuss-free, versatile and most of all, failsafe they are – and for the same exact reasons, under-appreciated.  No confusing science behind baking powder/soda, nor is there any factors left to chances, I mean there’s none but one rule, just one simple rule to ensure you that at the end of a short amount of time, something crumbly and exceedingly buttery shall parade triumphantly out of your oven.  The rule being, a stern ratio between 2 parts solid fat (often butter) and 3 parts dry ingredients (could be a combination of various flours), by weight.  READ MORE

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almond shortbread sandwich w jasmine tea icing

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(IT WOULDN’T KILL) ME TO SWAP 1/2 OF THE CHOCOLATE WITH PEANUT BUTTER.  SO INSTEAD, IT KILLED THE BROWNIES

HERE’S the thing.  I am not particularly built for baking.

I know this sounds like false modesty… unappetisingly pretentious, especially after a consistent offering of bakery recipes in the past 2.5 years, ranging from simpler things like an imploding honey custard cake or blueberry muffin-french toasts, to more elaborate things like a gateau a la sour cream or a laminated Nutella morning bun.  Sorry if I forgot to mention my relentless pursuit of everything-biscuits, and right, you’re absolutely right, this deep-fried apple/persimmon pies, despite of myself, were eeeeeeh-pic~~

Uh-hem, ok now seriously though, truth aside (….), that when it comes to baking, I struggle with a high precipitation of unnatural disasters with only a slight chance of prevalence.  Not to mention that either ways, the day will only end sadly in tears, or, happily in fat thighs.  Baking, is a no-win situation.

But let’s just say, we don’t have problems with fat thighs.  Just saying… then why the struggle?  Well… I was born, with a medical birth defect, which disallows me to follow recipes… precisely.  There.  It’s a chemical imbalance in my brain creating an illusion that makes me believe I am, at the very least, marginally smarter than a cookie-dough.  Turns out… I am not.  No one is.  But this condition has grown resistant even to such keen awareness, to a point that… I can’t even follow my own recipes!  At this very moment as we speak, a batch of brownie lies mutilated on a white sheet of parchment, recipe of which was tested, then tested, and thus theoretically foolproofed for people like myself, who’s really good at fucking up a recipe… yet I still did.  Would it have killed me to swap 1/2 of the chocolate with peanut butter?  No, no it wouldn’t at all.  So instead, it killed the brownies.  Certainly not the only dead thing here…  A runny banana bread batter – not a pie-filling makes.  Ricotta pastry cream – yikes.

I’m bringing this up at a very carefully timed juncture, a serene and orderly period right before the tsunami of holiday-pastry-season hits, so I have enough chance to reflect and ponder on my illness.  Who am I but a good-hearted amateur baker – guided by presumed logics, set out to make the recipe-world more interesting, if not tastier – only to be haunted by unintended consequences.  A walking cautionary tale marked with a bloody scarlet A-for-effort, and the stain of broken whipped cream.  But if to tackle this illness fundamentally, means to obey a recipe unquestionably, then what is my trickling value in recipe-blogosphere without adding personal inputs?

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MONDAY BLUE-BERRY OATMEAL COOKIE

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DOES IT SOUND LIKE A GOOD TIME TO FLUFF IT?

I have been told multiple times, by a number of highly credible professionals other than real doctors, that I present troubling signs of minor depression.

Do I?

I sleep.  I sleep for a staggering number of hours each day and struggle every morning day for reasons not to add a couple more.  But I wonder, perhaps even argue if a real depressed individual would be emotionally capable of the kind of trust and intimacy I share with my dog-hair-embroidered blanket?  I also distract myself from my wild discontent in life with the soothing and gentle comfort… of e-commerce.  It levels, if only momentarily, my spiritual black hole with mostly delusional clothing that are always one size too small… or one feet too tall.  There’s an out-of-place installation in my closet of sequin dresses, and jeans that squeezes my lower half like an outbursting Italian sausage, sounding a silent warning of my concerning mental status.

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EMERGENCY SKILLET COOKIE

“Sometimes a moment wasted
IN COOKIE-DELIVERY…
IS LIFE AND DEATH”

Anxiety… do you know about anxiety?

The type that feels like there’s an expanding hot water balloon pressing against my soft parts.  The type that pumps up the pressure on every cubic-inch of air in the space that I gaspingly occupy.  A clinching cast-iron ranch over my lungs that tightens, and then tightens… efforts to breathe muzzled by the air-pressure that squeezes, and just squeezes… neglecting the urgency of a piping hot water balloon in my chest that is screeeeeeching desperately to expand, and EXPAND…

… until, as we all know what happens when you force a ballon, that it just “BAP!”.  Fluids of boiling emotions mixed with bloody lumps of raw angst, splattering so violently against the four white walls of my confinement.  Even the maddeningly slow motion in which they dribble down, by contrast, fuels my raging urge to scream.

All of which, is playing out silently and discreetly behind an expression-less front of a woman, typing calmly in front of her computer.

Anxiety.

I mean I need a cookie like right now.

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SELL OUT

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I recently landed in a couple of situations where I had to articulate the idea of my blog, a sales-pitch so to speak.   The effort quickly brought brightened realizations to myself that whatever effort I made to explain the original vision or benchmark that I set out for when I started doing this, is now tainted with contradictions.  A derailment, so to speak.

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