Recently, I made a pact with myself. Despite my great love of baking, I don’t honestly have that much interest in having huge batches of cookies lying around my house. I could really take or leave most of these cookies, regardless of how damnably delicious they may be. But I also can’t tell you how much pleasure I get out of my Insomniblogging. It’s given the long nights a deep sense of peace. Fer serious.
So, a pact! I’ve decided to only bake the sweet stuff on evenings before the events I host for my job, so I can let the swarms of scientists and business folk that descend upon my place of work feast upon my sugary makings.
Which brings us to this evening. It is bitterly cold in New York. The kind of cold you expect Dickensian orphans might reminisce about. The kind of cold the Coen Brothers make movies in. Really quite chilly is what I’m getting at. And I had spent a good chunk of the day dashing through said cold– to get a new couch for my apartment, to get to dinner on time with one of my bestest gals, to catch my train, to get to work on time . . . no fun. Not even a little bit. So upon reaching my home to flop my arse upon said couch I remembered — we have an event tomorrow night!
This presented a new twist to my self-made pact. If I’ve told myself I can only bake on the nights before events, am I obligated to bake on nights before events? Not particularly. Few of the people that will be there are readers of this blog. I’ve already prepared for other desserts to be present. What to do. Well, I did what any modern woman does– I whined about it on Facebook, and got a response. Which was yes! Bake, dagnabbit!
So onto baking. I was just about out of butter, so my options were limited. I decided upon Joy the Baker’s “Giant Vanilla Sugar Cookies”, which I had even blogged about in another post. They’re good cookies. People will like them. People will like me when they eat them, because my self-worth depends upon how much I’m feeding other people (years of therapy, you guys . . years).
- The recipe calls for a full stick of butter and a 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. What I had instead was 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 1/2 cup vegan buttery spread. I mixed these all together in a medium-sized bowl. It was a little gloppy and gross-looking.
- To this I added 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 large egg (two yolks again– I’m becoming suspicious that my “cage-free” chickens are taking fertility meds when they’re let out of the cage), and a dash of vanilla extract.
- I beat together the gloppy mess with the sugar, which was still a gloppy mess. But I pressed on.
- I dumped in 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 tsp baking soda. No salt yet. I had a plan for the salt. Just you wait, my pretties. Just you wait.
- I mixed this all together with a wooden spoon until it began to vaguely resemble cookie dough.
- I had a last-minute impulse, which I acted on, er, impulsively, by adding in about a tablespoon of tapioca starch. No clue what this would do to the texture or taste. But basically, I had bought this a few weeks ago for my gluten-free baking experiments, and not much clue what to do with it (those with ideas, feel free to comment below). But I’d been throwing it into various things, and generally liking it. It’s one of the primary ingredients of instant pudding, and we all know how much I like that.
- I covered the dough with some plastic wrap, and stuck it in the freezer while I pre-heated the oven.
- I then realized that this blog contains little commentary on my pathetic love life or television right now. What I can I say, I’m exhausted, and pretty content. That doesn’t happen all so often– why can’t you just let me be happy!
- The dough was still surprisingly soft after 20 minutes in the freezer, but held together much better. These cookies were about 2 tablespoons each. I rolled them into balls in my hand (that’s what she said?), and then rolled them into a mixture of granulated cane sugar and sea salt. I told you I had a plan for the salt!!
- I let those beautiful babies cook for about 12 minutes.
- I took those beautiful babies out of the oven.
Verdict: Oh, I was disappointed in these guys. I think that my choice to add in a dash of tapioca starch was a good one– they were puffy, fluffy, and gorgeous. Like every chubby kid’s wet dream of a sugar cookie. And the texture was beyond perfect– crumbly on the edges, but chewy in the center. Not to sweet (perhaps a tad too salty, even by my standards).
But there was something ever-so-slightly-off about the taste of these cookies. I think the fault was in not having enough butter, and overuse of the vegetable-oil products. They had a greasy aftertaste that was dissimilar to the artery-clogging goodness that is a buttery aftertaste. Sadness.