‘Tis But a Scratch Baked

The girls and I try and get together every year for a holiday dinner.  This year we decided to include a cookie bake-off-exchange.  Each baker had to scratch-bake two types of cookies, no semi-homemade cheats. To spice it up we threw in a secret ingredient challenge. We each submitted ingredients we would like to work with.  They were put into a bowl, where my friend’s daughter would pull out 2 tickets per baker. I got bourbon and cornflakes. The other girls received chile, anise, white pepper, and pretzels.

I had chosen a cornflake cookie by Southern Fatty via Pinterest. Then I headed to FoodNetwork’s site and found an orange bourbon cookie from Chef Robert Irvine. As always, the baking did not go quite as planned. There were multiple emergency runs to the store. I had more recipe missteps than I expected and seemed to be coated in shortening. I did end up with two holiday tins filled with edible cookies, though.  I’m pretty sure they were covered in shortening too, lol.

I started with the cornflake cookie.  The recipe was simple enough to follow.  The only problem I came across was there was no mention of when I was to add the vanilla.  I did not discover this until I was about to spoon the batter onto my cookie sheets.  I think it probably should have been added in when I was mixing the shortening and sugar.  I threw it it at the end. During the baking process I noticed my cookies were kinda puffy in comparison to the picture.  I have those suckers a little love pat with my spatula to squish them down into submission halfway through the bake time.  They smelled really good. They tasted similar pecan sandies. Growing up with Cookie Monster as my hero, I never met a cookie I didn’t love. Except for pecan sandies and shortbread.

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I moved on to the orange bourbon cookie.  That did not go smoothly at all, and no the bourbon was not to blame.  I was sober baking, really. I read the recipe like three times before I started baking. Somehow I missed the blatant queues about when to add the sugar and eggs smattered throughout the directions.  I did not realize until after I started to chill the dough. Ugh.  It was such a perfect dough too.

The second time around I got it right.  The dough was very sandy and exploded into crumbly piles of sand the second my rolling pin grazed it.  This was not good.  I was beginning to flash back to the one time I tried baking shortbread, but the damn dough kept crumbling.  Then came the panic.  I had no one to turn too, except Google.  After a few minutes of frantic research I learned a few tiny drops of water could fix my dough without compromising the cookie.

This recipe also requires cookie cutters. Another important fact I did not notice.  I only own two.  They are Star Wars characters. Nothing screams holiday like the Dark Lord, lol.

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I learned that my counter-space is not large enough for proper dough rolling.  I had to roll and cut in small batches.  When the recipes suggests powder sugar as an optional decoration, use it.  The cookies are a slightly off-putting tannish brown without it.  They did not taste boozy. They tasted like a spiced shortbread cookie. Despite being of Scottish descent, I despise shortbread.  I totally take after my mother.  She always bakes and cooks things she would never eat in a million years, lol.   At least I won’t have to worry about eating too many cookies!

Luckily for me my friends are not cookie snobs like me.  My cookies seemed to be a hit.

My friend’s son was the judge and loves all things chocolate or packed with heat.  The winning cookies turned out to be a spicy chocolate one.

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