Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Who let the air out of my cookies?

So today is my day to blog about my non-sewing hobbies.

I'm a far more proficient baker than sewista. It's something I've been doing for years and to a degree where I'm confident enough to tinker pretty extensively with my TNT recipes. But even experiences bakers have flops. And last weekend I learned a valuable and somewhat scientific lesson on the difference between baking soda and baking powder. Before you jump to any conclusions, I didn't mistakenly substitute one for the other.

I've gotten into the (very tasty) habit of resting my cookie dough for a day or more before baking. The results are unarguably better, IMHO. So, on Saturday, I whipped up a new-to-me recipe for Cherry Double-Chocolate Cookies that a colleague has been raving about. The dough (I do not fear raw eggs and tried some) was delicious, so I had high hopes. Into the fridge went the dough until Sunday night, when I baked the cookies up. That's when disaster struck.

Even flatter in person than photo if you can believe it.

Instead of cookie-looking cookies, what emerged from my oven looked more like "manhole covers" as Phin put it. The cookies were completely flat and thin with just a few bumps where a nut or cherry stuck up. He later added that they were indeed "tasty manhole covers". Giggle, giggle. It really amuses me to blog about my cooking disasters, which of all varieties of disaster are usually the funniest.

Anyway, after some on-line research and a read through some of my baking books, I learned that while Baking Powder (which was not called for in this recipe, but is in most of my other cookies) is heat activated, Baking Soda (which provides the leavening for these cookies) is activated by moisture and acid rather rapidly, instead of heat. Therfore, it will fizzle out if left uncooked for too long, like 24 hours in the fridge. DOH! So, essentially, the lesson of the day is that any recipe calling for baking soda needs to be baked right away. Period.

So, lesson learned. Next batch to follow...


Mar-Mar said...

Love it...I want to make some..i will learn from your mistakes though...I think my dad will really like them!

Will be in Brooklyn again this weekend to visit with Dad. I was wondering if you knew if your nephews were in town. I need to call your sister to see if our paths can cross.


The Slapdash Sewist said...

Duly noted! There is a famous cookie in DC, Salty Oat Cookies from Teaism, that none have successfully duplicated. Maybe resting is part of their secret. Off to do more experimentation...