Thursday, 2 April 2015

Cookie Bake Off Part Two

I planned on doing this baking last week but I was distracted by finding that my acrylic paints I hadn't touched for a few years were not dried out. This lead me to digging out a couple of ceramic houses that I had purchased a while ago as well and painting them. Those of you who follow me on Pinterest will know that I love miniatures and I have been collecting and painting these buildings for over a decade. I love making the small details stand out and creating my own, colourful world. Here's some pictures of my little town.
 My photography is at it's usual standard, I blame the camera. I inadvertently captured my mini Santas as well. Yes, I know Christmas is over but I spent a lot of time painting each of those so they stay out. My town consists of a dress shop, book shop ( of course) toy shop, bakery, hotel and a 
couple of houses. This is one of those things that I could care less what anyone else thinks. I've had 
fun painting them and they make me happy so they are always on the shelf.  Anyway, I worked on the bakery and brown house last week instead of baking.                                                                       So, back to the baking. I decided to go through some of my spritz recipes and came up with three that I wanted to try, mocha, hazelnut and buttery. In the end I only baked up two of them both of which taste lovely. You'd think that would be the end of it and I'd just show you some pictures but, as is more often than not the norm, things went a little bit astray. I have wanted a cookie press for years and a few Christmases ago Jess gave me one. It's the Wilton ergonomic handle one that is all plastic. It's light and has a ratchet press that should, in theory, make things easier. The reality of this press is that it's too fragile to handle any dough other than the softest. So far the only thing I have successfully pressed is my super tender whipped shortbread. Nonetheless I wanted to try these recipes. I started with the mocha recipe and as it mixed I thought to myself that this dough seem pretty stiff to go through the press. It turns out I was right. I packed the press as per the instructions and tried to press the dough. The press make some, shall we say, disturbing noises and nothing came out. I tried it a few more clicks and came to the conclusion that this was not going to happen. I pushed the dough out of the press and it came out in a beautifully round log. I then proceeded to do the same with the remaining dough and ended up with four logs. I took out my sharpest knife and cut them into 1/4" slices and baked them for the recommended time and they turned out great! They look nothing like the sunflowers I pictured in my head but the recipe is tasty. For the second batch I decided on the hazelnut spritz.  I didn't have any hazelnuts so I substituted ground almonds.Being always optimistic I thought maybe this dough would be soft enough, I was wrong. This dough came out the same as the first. I decided to get out my melon baller and roll scant 1" balls. Not wanting to give up on the press I put it to a slightly different use. You could say that I still pressed the dough the only difference is that I pressed down on the balls with the end of the press and made a daisy design on each cookie. This recipe creates a wonderfully buttery cookie. Another time maybe I'll press a half almond into the top before cooking. In the end I think I'll keep both of these recipes. I think I'm going to have to invest in a metal cookie press though. Here's a picture of both, the mocha ones don't look like much but they taste good and that's what really matters, right?    

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