Chaotic Cooky Kitchen #1

So… in an attempt to do something semi-productive, and in a fit of partial insanity, I decided it was time to start blogging more regularly. And what better way than start food blogging, amirite?

Except I hate food blogs. Well, the currently-in-vogue ones, at least1.

You know them: too many glossy photos, six popup ads trying to get you to sign up for their email list, and finally a recipe at the end that turns out to have been tested by absolutely no one and ends up being (at best) underwhelming. Pretty but tasteless seems to be a common theme.

Well, I didn’t want to do that. But I don’t exactly have time or energy to create my own recipes at the moment. I do, however, have about 1000 cookbooks2. And after a bit of thought (and not a few Christmas cookies), it was obvious to me which one I should cook through.

So, without further ado:

The font of all "cooky" knowledge
The font of all “cooky” knowledge

I’ve been around this cookbook my entire life. But I’ve only had a handful of cookies out of it; just the classics, mostly, though I’ve made a few additional ones. But there are something like 450 recipes in there. So… how about a recipe a week for as long as I can stand it? (I’d say as long as you can stand it, but since you’re largely mythical at this point…)

I went through the book and picked out 52 recipes that I’d never made before, that didn’t rely on premade mixes, and that sounded good.

The first section in the book is a nice warm-up for the rest:

Drop Cookies

And the first recipe I picked out was…

Orange Drop Cookies (p. 7)

First, half of the mise-en-place:

Yes, that’s vegetable shortening. My wife says I follow the recipes too closely sometimes.

Mix the sugar, shortening, egg, and OJ together. It turns out to be rather clumpy and weird (a lot like me).

Mix in the dry ingredients (this may be a recipe that benefits from sifting the flour, but in a break from my recently-determined SOP, I didn’t sift) and it comes together like a normal cookie batter.

Then it’s drop them onto a sheet with a spoon or a handy scoop and bake them at 400 degrees F.

And what you get is fairly unexciting:

I was about to strangle my camera at this point because it refused to accept that there was enough light in the kitchen for close-ups. Time to dig up my macro lenses?

I had to try them before frosting, and… they’re decent, but subtle, with a cakey texture. Definitely needs the frosting. Which means the cookie itself could use some additional flavor3.

That’s powdered sugar from mixing the frosting. Really.

And now the mise for the frosting, which is on page 151.

You basically dump everything together and mix, although the whisk was a bad idea due to clumping (and the aforementioned powdered sugar mess).

You can actually end up with all of the frosting inside the whisk’s wires. Do not recommend.

Once the cookies are slightly browned on the edges, take them out and cool them. The good news is, you don’t need to have them completely cooled to frost them, because it won’t run as long as they have cooled a bit.

I can frost quickly, or prettily, but not both. Oh who am I kidding, I can’t do either.
(I also really need to get the lighting situation figured out.)

The Verdict: B+

Not bad. Not earth-shattering either, but the frosting adds a lot. A bit of extra orange zest (or maybe extract?) might help, and I am kicking myself for not putting vanilla extract in the frosting to go for a Dreamsicle effect.

UPDATE 1/15: Upgrade these to an A-, because they went fast and everyone liked them.

1 Serious Eats is fine. There are a few others, but a very few.

2 A very slight exaggeration. There might only be 900.

3 I may have accidentally skimped on the orange zest.