THE COOKIE PROJECT

Weekly office cookies for your viewing and/or eating pleasure.

Sep 15
Carl is really cool.  I was happy to make him these sugar-free cookies (or low-sugar, actually, because I used the hybrid brown sugar/sucralose stuff).  They aren’t bad—I’d say they’re even good for what they are.  
A little information on low-sugar baking that I picked up from baking these cookies:  1)  These cookies didn’t spread as much as the sugary ones.  After the first batch came out of the oven I realized I’d have to hand-smush the cookies flat if I wanted them to have a more traditional oatmeal cookie shape and not look like shambly little disappointment piles.2)  If you bake these long enough to brown attractively, they will be dry and nasty.  I subtracted a full two minutes from the lowest recommended bake time of the recipe (I ended up using the Quaker Oats recipe again.  I decided to use the Martha Stewart recipe when I have to make Oatmeal Raisin in the future.)  You could do a light honey wash or even a fake brown sugar wash if you absolutely need the cookies to look golden brown.  I did not do this to my cookies, but I’m pretty sure it would work.
Something else I’ve noticed with this cookie is that people are walking by with a stack of two or three cookies in their hands like little cookie hoarders. Uhh, they aren’t magically butter-free or calorie-free, people.
Sugar-free Oatmeal Cookies:  Not as good as cookies made with real sugar, but better than no cookie at all. 
Out of Five Stars:Recipe: ★★★★★Skill in Execution: ★★★★Taste of Finished Cookie: ★★     (This rating is based solely on my opinion.  I’ve been told a few times already that they are “just as good as normal cookies” and “you can’t even tell a difference!”  To which I say “Great! I’m glad you like them.”)

Carl is really cool.  I was happy to make him these sugar-free cookies (or low-sugar, actually, because I used the hybrid brown sugar/sucralose stuff).  They aren’t bad—I’d say they’re even good for what they are.  

A little information on low-sugar baking that I picked up from baking these cookies: 
1)  These cookies didn’t spread as much as the sugary ones.  After the first batch came out of the oven I realized I’d have to hand-smush the cookies flat if I wanted them to have a more traditional oatmeal cookie shape and not look like shambly little disappointment piles.
2)  If you bake these long enough to brown attractively, they will be dry and nasty.  I subtracted a full two minutes from the lowest recommended bake time of the recipe (I ended up using the Quaker Oats recipe again.  I decided to use the Martha Stewart recipe when I have to make Oatmeal Raisin in the future.)  You could do a light honey wash or even a fake brown sugar wash if you absolutely need the cookies to look golden brown.  I did not do this to my cookies, but I’m pretty sure it would work.

Something else I’ve noticed with this cookie is that people are walking by with a stack of two or three cookies in their hands like little cookie hoarders. Uhh, they aren’t magically butter-free or calorie-free, people.

Sugar-free Oatmeal Cookies:  Not as good as cookies made with real sugar, but better than no cookie at all. 

Out of Five Stars:
Recipe: ★★★★★
Skill in Execution: ★★★★
Taste of Finished Cookie: ★★     (This rating is based solely on my opinion.  I’ve been told a few times already that they are “just as good as normal cookies” and “you can’t even tell a difference!”  To which I say “Great! I’m glad you like them.”)


I call this contemporary still life “Sugar-free Oatmeal Cookies with Munsters.”

I call this contemporary still life “Sugar-free Oatmeal Cookies with Munsters.”


Sep 11
Click image for easy reading and printing.

Click image for easy reading and printing.


Sep 10

Behold my sumptuous food photography.  I need to take some better pictures next week, because if these cookies look tasty unceremoniously plopped on a breakroom table, just imagine how good they’ll look fashionably styled in a slightly off-kilter stack or balanced vertically on a reflective surface, or however else the kids are posing cookies these days. 

OATMEAL COOKIES
The recipe off the oats canister is classic.  I don’t make oatmeal cookies very often, but it might be my favorite cookie dough to consume raw, what with the butter and sugar and salt and tiny bit of cinnamon and raw chalky bits of oat.  I showed great restraint.  You all would’ve been proud. 

Though I’m no professional baker, I am good enough to know that one HUGE trick to baking is not to overmix batter after you’ve added flour.  Bad bakers can be promoted to average bakers by learning this lesson alone.  Also, I didn’t overbake them, so they remained chewy for your faces.

Oatmeal Cookies:  They taste better raw, but they’re still good baked. 

Out of Five Stars:
Recipe: ★★★★★
Skill in Execution: ★★★★
Taste of Finished Cookie: ★★★★

OAT LACE COOKIES
The oat lace cookies were surprisingly easy.  You toast some oats, melt some butter, stir some stuff together and bake.  That last sentence is place filler for the recipe which I will post later today.  I remember it mostly, but I’d hate to type out my version and then have everyone out there in the studio audience try to make them this afternoon and OH NO MY HALF-REMEMBERED RECIPE HAS SOME GRIEVOUS ERROR IN IT AND IT CREATES A SINGULARITY AND YOUR EVERYTHING IMPLODES.

So anyway, these things are classy-looking and delicious.  Some of my coworkers with a more traditional cookieworldview have suggested they shouldn’t be considered cookies, but they are wrong and these are cookies.  I understand the underlying impulse, though, because what the oat laces taste most like to me is a crisp and buttery toffee wafer.  Others have suggested they taste like peanut brittle without the peanuts—WHICH IS BASICALLY TOFFEE, DUH.

Oat Lace Cookies:  They seem fancy, but they’re easy to make.

Out of Five Stars:
Recipe: ★★★★★
Skill in Execution: ★★★★★
Taste of Finished Cookie: ★★★★★

I forgot Carl isn’t at work on Fridays, so his sugar-free oatmeal cookies will be made next week.


Sep 8

Week 2: Oatmeal Cookies (no raisins), Sugar-free Oatmeal Cookies, Oat Lace Cookies

Yes, I’m making three kinds of cookie this week.

For the regular oatmeal cookies, Vicki specifically requested the recipe from the Quaker Oats canister, and I shall oblige her.  

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
    1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1½ cups flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
    3 cups of Quaker Oats (Quick)
    1 cup raisins (optional)
  • "Preheat oven to 350° F. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla extract; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Slowly stir in oats. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on sheet, remove to wire rack.

The sugar-free oatmeal cookies are a request from Carl, and for those, I’m going to try out this Martha Stewart recipe (substituting Splenda, obviously):

http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/classic-oatmeal-cookies

The Oat Lace cookies are something I’ve wanted to make since Josh gave me my Gourmet Cookbook five or so years ago. The recipe for these is not online, but I’ll email it if you want it.  Maybe you should wait and see how they turn out, huh?


Sep 3

Okay, you guys.  This is not the most auspicious beginning to The Cookie Project, though I did learn a few things.  Firstly, bar cookie recipes are slightly more difficult to double than regular cookie recipes.  Secondly, any time a topping layer needs to “set” it’ll probably take at least an hour, if not more.  Related note to self: don’t fall asleep and wake up at 5AM to make cookies—not as fun.  Also to myself, don’t refer to cookies as looking “turdy”, because I guess people don’t really like to think of food as turds for some crazy reason.  “These look like poop. Bon appetit!”

The set bars are way more tasty and visually appealing.  I think I’ll start writing little tag lines for each of the cookies I make.  Here goes: 

Peanut Butter Bars:  They taste like no-bake cookies, only they take a lot longer and you have to bake them. 

Out of Five Stars:
Recipe: ★★★
Skill in Execution: ★★
Taste of Finished Cookie: ★★★


Sep 2
“I am still convinced that a good, simple, homemade cookie is preferable to all the store-bought cookies one can find.” James Beard


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