Monday, July 27, 2009

Dissertations and Daring Bakers

First things first, the Dissertation update. Its coming together. Slowly. My committee has 3/5ths of it now. They'll get the last parts soon. I am basically done with analysis (or will be tonight) on the last data chapter, now I just have to make figures....which is a pain. Mentally I am so ready to be done with this, now I just need to let the physically done part catch up.

On to more exciting things....Daring Bakers Challenge!
The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

Participants could make one or both cookie recipes this month. Seeing as I have been using baking (and knitting, and sleeping) as stress relief from my dissertation, I had lofty plans to bake both. Those fell through. Too much time commitment for me pre-defense, so I only baked the Milan cookies. Unfortunately, I had some issues, for me these turned into the cookies of failure! Delicious, but definitely not particularly reminiscent of their commercial counterparts. All I can say is they came out chewey for some reason, and oddly shaped, I am not exactly sure why, it is likely to have been something I did, I've been a little distracted. I think I would adjust the ratios a bit if I made them again, also bake them longer at a lower temperature?

Here is the recipe and photo's anyway. Adjustments: I'm not big on the citrus milano cookies, so I opted for a little extra vanilla in the cookie, and just plain bittersweet chocolate for the filling.

Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website
Milan Cookies
Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies

• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
• 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 orange, zested

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

This is my improvised piping bag. I need to get some tips that will fit on bags, and/or some actual pastry bags if I am going to continue this hobby.

Waiting to go in the oven....

They are really melting in the oven....

Oh nooooo's....what a (delicious) mess. We ate them anyway. I think I'll still try making the mallow cookies, but at a later date when I am not so pressed for time.

But what about the other ingredients for the mallow cookies?...Well, they didn't go to waste. For our anniversary I made this. Which came out perfect, and delicious. I used Huckleberries from Foraged and Found edibles at the farmers market.

1 comment:

Fran said...

Keep on keeping on! There will come a day when that dissertation and defense are totally behind you!