15 November 2009

Sometimes You Win, Sometimes Your Cookies Spread Too Much

I wish I could be posting about the wonderful new recipe I'm working out for some highly seasonal, cranberry walnut oatmeal cookies. But I can't. Well, technically, that is what I'm doing, albeit not in the originally intended way.

Normally, you'd see a photo up here showing the results of some new kitchen surprise I've reworked from someone's fine recipe to accommodate agave nectar and/or veganizing, but not today. Today, I'm writing about what happens when you bake in a hurry. A hurry necessitated by too long a list of to-dos and too short a time for doing them. Yes, I know. Join the club.

All that to say, a very kind fellow from Princeton sent me a bunch of marvelous recipes, one of which I made earlier on a break between reading for tomorrow's classes and working on an extensive (read: way too long, yet pretty darn useful) annotated bibliography for my independent study work.

Because I noodled with the recipe while my mind was elsewhere, I neglected to take some needed precautions (chill the dough for 2 hours prior to baking -- my direction, not his). The resulting cookies spread so much that they became very thin, very large facsimiles of oatmeal cookies. On the other hand, they are very tasty. The combination of fresh cranberries with crunchy walnuts and rich oats is right on the money. I also used coconut oil instead of butter (you know I have mixed feeling about the stuff -- scary that it's so solid at room temperature), but the next time I rework these, I will use less. They don't end up tasting coconutty at all. Just buttery.

Oh well. Only a few more weeks left in the semester and many decisions about what to make for Thanksgiving at Mom's. My intention is to perfect a vegan version of these cookies as my contribution, but they will definitely take more noodling before they are ready for prime time.

One thing I may do next year, if I have time, is work on an agave-sweetened cranberry sauce. I've thought about it a lot over the years and just haven't gotten to it yet. There might be agar involved (to get the right "straight out of the can" rigidity to appeal to the kids who don't like the more authentic stuff), and I need more practice with that.

In the meantime, I encourage you to get some of the fantastic fresh cranberries from New Jersey. The crop I sampled is amazing.

::Continuing to chant "I love a challenge. I love a challenge. I love a challenge."::

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