My main holiday gift to my partner this year was a cookbook, Great Cookies. It is, as the title leads one to believe, a cookbook entirely consisting of cookie recipes, over 300 of them. The author does include in the ‘cookie’ moniker some types of bars (i.e. Florentines), balls (i.e. peanut butter ones), and culturally specific confections (i.e. Palmiers) that others might call sweets or pastries. I’m just sayin’.
While I’m sure we could have happily just read cookie recipes all year long, the gift also included a weekly date to make cookies together. He will get to pick the recipe each week (because it’s his gift) and I will make sure we have the ingredients and show him how to, for example, beat egg whites and things like that. I imagine we’ll max out my technical expertise somewhere in, let’s say, April, at which point we’ll either make simpler recipes or learn together.
I hope that all of this will be facilitated by the new electric hand mixer and non-slip counter pad I recently acquired, with my birthday gift certificate from his mother. I’ve never owned an electric mixer before, much to the surprise and consternation of our friend who got tagged to mix the buttercream frosting for our holiday cookies last month. I witnessed many puzzled looks of pain and concentration on his face as he creamed the butter with a wooden spoon and then resorted to the potato masher (an implement only purchased this past year as well; I used to just use a fork) to meet his electric mixer frosting standards. In the end, the frosting was great, completely uniform in texture and color, which nudged me—along with our collective sore shoulders—to look into an electric mixer.
In the end, I’m glad I did, because Great Cookies presumes you have one and doesn’t use instructions like ‘cream’ but instead ‘mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.’ Am I alone in believing that you don’t need an electric mixer to bake, just a strong arm? I didn’t realize that they had become so much the norm.
At any rate, tonight was our first cookie date, making it also the first time we used the mixer. We made chocolate chip peanut butter cookies (p. 36). The recipe was more labor intensive than the ones we’re used to (my pfeffernusse recipe with a gazillion ingredients comes closest), but we followed the instructions and used the food processor for the sugars and the mixer for the butter. I had a little trouble with keeping the mixer steady while creaming the butter, but I expect it will get easier as I get more used to handling it. Later steps went more smoothly, and our shoulders certainly aren’t as sore as they might have been in the past with all this mixing.
The cookies themselves are tasty, and they look nice and even, with uniform consistency. We were both expecting a cookie that was more ‘peanut butter cookie with chocolate chips’ and we got ‘chocolate chip cookie with peanut flavor.’ Given that, we probably won’t make this cookie again; it’s a lot of steps for a chocolate chip cookie. And, while it tastes nice, I put it in the ‘I’d eat it if I wanted a cookie, but I wouldn’t get in any fistfights over it’ category.
ease of preparation: 3.5
match to expectations: 2.5
‘the cookie itself’: 3