Sunday, November 20, 2011

Baking Tips from the Culinarily Challenged

At first, when I thought about sharing this idea I had with you, I decided it was pretty ridiculous for me... the self-professed disaster in the kitchen... to pass on cooking tips.  But then again, maybe it's not so ridiculous.  I mean, if something worked out for me, of all people, then it surely will work out for you, too.  Right? 


When Fall hits, I start craving everything apple.  I want to eat apples, stuff with apples in them, stuff in apples, smell apples... you get the idea.  And, even though I'm no great cook, I have a few things I can make well and one is apple pie.  Not that that has anything to do with the subject of this post, I just wanted to put that out there.

I found this recipe on Pinterest that I wanted to try.  Because it involves apples.  Well not really apples, but the flavor anyway:

Behold - The Stuffed Caramel Apple Cider cookie.  

I had to make something for Zoe's Thanksgiving lunch potluck at Mother's Day Out, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the recipe.  And they are super yummy.  No lie.  However, there were two problems...

One... once they cool down, the center is extremely chewy.  Chewy as in you take a bite, someone comes up to talk to you and you're all like "hold on, give me 5 minutes to stop chewing this cookie."  They should be eaten warm, for sure.  Not a problem at home, but at a potluck, you just can't heat up cookies.

Two... well, let me go off on a tangent for a minute.  You remember that recipe for chocolate chip cookies that used to go around claiming to be the recipe for Neiman Marcus' cookies?  My sister and I dubbed them PITA (Pain In The....  you get where I'm going here, right?) cookies.  They are so good, but who really wants to grate chocolate bars?  These cookies are PITA Cookies - The Non-Chocolate Edition.  Seriously... you unwrap 4 dozen or so caramels, ball up the dough, flatten the dough, wrap the dough around the caramels, then the whole process of getting them off the parchment paper at just the right time so they don't stick.  They are good cookies, but come on...  I'm just not that dedicated.

I have yet another potluck tomorrow at work, and I had kind of promised more of these cookies before I really thought about how much I detest doing anything on Sunday nights.  So I wondered if there was any way around this.  I went grocery shopping this morning and I saw the answer and the sky opened up and the angels started to sing:


Instead of a caramel center, why not just spread the caramel goodness throughout with little bits?  That way, when it cools, you don't have a glob of chewy right there in the middle.  And... no stuffing the caramel into the dough.  And... you don't have to worry about the parchment paper, unless you are just really into that.  I'm not.  It makes loud crinkly noises that offend my ears.  Same awesome taste, but faster and less messy.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the stuffed caramel cookies.  If I weren't so freaking lazy, I would make them like that all the time. 

One more tip:  (and you can try this with chocolate chip cookies, too)  Don't add the caramel bits after the flour.  Add them to the wet ingredients before you mix in the flour.  It's so much easier.   I used to hate making chocolate chip cookies for the simple fact that my arm was already falling off by the time all the flour was incorporated and then I still had the chips to add.  Of course, if you have a handy dandy mixer, you probably don't care.  =P  LOL

PS... To be fair, I'm not really a bad cook.  In fact, my husband thinks I'm a pretty darn good one.  If I have a good recipe and want to cook.  And, as a general rule, I don't ever want  to cook.

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