Wednesday, May 19, 2010
'Quick' And 'Easy' Cookies
My culinary skills are restricted to south Indian meals. When the occasion demands I do attempt vadas and neyyappams with some success. Baking is a world I’d not ventured into much, due to the initial enthusiasm getting doused by trays of burnt offerings. I stayed content and passive, blaming my oven’s inability to regulate temperature.
The interest was rekindled with my impending trip to India. I wanted to bake something for my children who live there. My mother used to bake a variety of goodies for me when I was young and the guilt at my own laziness impelled me. Armed with the results of my search for quick and easy cookies, I got ready after many days of putting off. The raw materials were all there except for brown sugar which a commenter claimed gave the cookies their chewy scrumptiousness. I have a thing with recipes, I never stick to them. So I decided that caramel would be a good sub.
A small problem arose when I started beating the caramel into the butter. The entire thing solidified into a rock island in the moat of melted fat. Why hadn’t I thought of this simple phenomenon of physics.. or is it chemistry? My electric mixer, in a coma ever since it was given to me as a wedding present, came out of its dusty box and then began its battle with the rock. Apart from splattering oil all over the kitchen counter, it made no dent in the solid mass that mocked our efforts. A weaker spirit would have dumped the entire stuff into the garbage at that point.
Pushing aside despair, I boiled water in a pan and placed the bowl of indomitable geographical formation in it and stirred and stirred and stirred. Which was actually impossible because the caramel had coated the insides of the bowl and the spoon. Meanwhile the presence of egg in the mixture posed the danger of turning into a sweet scramble. I played with the thought of going at it with a hammer and chisel, but the bowl being glass deterred me. Meanwhile my arms and fingers hurt with the unaccustomed exercise. So I went for the electric mixer again. Only, the cord wasn’t long enough. I then searched for an extension cord among the never–used tools and equipment and got the mixer going. By now I was surprised by my own tenacity to subdue the rock. Until then I’d never really understood the concept of climbing a mountain because it is there. With me, the mixer and heat, I felt I could coax the stubborn thing into submission. Don’t ask me how long it took or how much fuel I spent, but slowly the glacier began to melt and turn into a beautiful creamy consistency. My delight was tinged with dismay to find that now the sauce like substance had begun to thicken into a puddinglike form while the lumps of caramel persisted. I added water, which is probably a sin among bakers’ cults, and continued beating till I got tired of it. I stirred in the dry ingredients just like the recipe said. The dough was supposed to be dropped on to the tray by spoonfuls. That was not possible, now that it was too solid. So I made it into balls and baked them. If they burnt as usual, I knew I’d kill myself.
I'd have put up a pic of the result of my efforts if I knew how to. I even took a photo with my new digi cam :D [What kills me is the thought that someone searching the web for a Q&E cookie recipe will land on this blogpost :)] Anyway the cookies looked great since the chocolate chips melted and gave it a marble appearance - though that was never intended. They were like marble not only in appearance; but then what are teeth for? All these melt-in-the-mouth food weaken the pearly whites I tell you. Eating a cookie brought back memories of a childhood toffee called kamarkatt which defied dental power.
Of course the kitchen counter and stove and the walls are splattered with food, the cord of the mixer got burnt on the stove, the beaters are broken and the gas is over, but I did have an adventure &good fun. Besides I’ve invented the world’s first Caramel Chip Cookies!
Don’t tell me such cookies already exist. And please don't tell me caramel chips are available in packets................
Post script: I got brown sugar and baked another batch. They are all packed in my box and tonight I leave for India where I haven't got net access. So good bye and good health until Sept.