I suck at cooking
Posted by Astrid
I don’t normally share my cooking disaster stories on the blog, mostly because they are too many and too embarassing. Alex claims that I’m a good cook – but that’s because he doesn’t understand the difference between a person who cooks and a person who warms stuff up. I am most definitely the latter. (I like to think of Alex as being more of a take-out/delivery kind of cook.)
BUT … you know that when Alex is out of town I always end up getting involved in kind of crazy projects (like opening bottles of Smirnoff without a bottle opener, or making crazy Easter eggs), and this weekend is no different. Luckily for everyone involved, I WAS planning on painting the apartment, but I got distracted when my good friend Salwa emailed me this webste, with a story and recipe about making homemade Oreos.
Now I’m a sucker for some Oreos, and since Salwa said “They’re easy! Promise! You can’t screw them up! And they are delicious!” … I figured, why not? I can make me some Oreos as a test batch, and then when Alex comes home next weekend he’ll have a cookie-surprise waiting. As it turns out, Salwa is an evil friend who just likes to torture me.
In a fit of passion for baking, I hie myself off to the grocery store (at 8 pm on a Saturday night) to collect the needed ingredients. I also needed some of the basic cooking utensils, like a bowl, spatula, and cookie tray.
Of course, when I’m standing in the grocery store desperately looking for baking soda, I have a flashback to when I tried to bake for the Thanksgiving pie-off at work – and couldn’t find anything like baking soda. I can’t remember what I did then, but this time I decided to get some bicarbonate of soda and assume it’s the same thing. It is, right? Sort of, I hope.
The other ingredient that really threw me for a loop was vegetable shortening. What the heck is that? I asked the baking department at the store, and they told me to look for lard, which is the UK equivalent. I couldn’t find anything labeled “lard” on the shelves, but I did find some goose fat. That’s similar, right? So yeah, that’s what we’re going to use!
So I make it all the way home and realize that I’ve forgotten the baking powder – which is apparently different from baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda, if that’s all you’ve got). I run back out to the store, and now I’m seeing all the hotties heading out to the pubs.
Back at home, it’s rapidly approaching 9:30, and I have yet to start baking. No fear though, because it’s summer time here, the sun doesn’t set until about 9:15, so it’s still light out. And I tell myself that as long as it is light outside, I can start on a ridiculous project.
I mix together all the stuff for the cookie part of the Oreo, and it looks pretty good. I used my brand new mixer (whoo hoo! kichen gadgets!), but all the stuff got stuck behind the blade, so I ended up scooping it out and mixing it with my brand-new spatula. Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten the mixer!
The hardest part is translating the damn recipe. “1.5 cups of flour” ??? How much is that in metric? Thank god for Google!
Then I had to scoop the dough out onto the cookie sheet. The instructions say to use a slightly moistened palm to slightly flatten the balls of dough – but when I tried to do that, they just stuck to me (which was really awful because then I had to eat it!) … so I ended up leaving them in little messy looking piles.
Into the oven for 9 minutes. Then I start on the frosting filling part. I realize I don’t have any more unsalted butter, so I just use regular butter – oops! The frosting looks really yellow, and I’m afraid to taste it because of the goose fat.
Ah! The cookies are done! I pull them out of the oven, expecting perfection (let it never be said that I am not an optimist) … but instead they look … well … kind of flat. Like really really flat. Like I’ve just made a bunch of chocolate crepes. And they’ve all mushed together, which I expected because I didn’t leave them 2 inches apart on the tray like I was supposed to (the tray is tiny! I have a small oven! If I left them 2 inches apart I would only be able to fit about 4 cookies per tray!)
So now the cookies are sitting on the counter, cooling down. I’m supposed to be able to just squeeze the frosting into the center of the cookie, and then smoosh the top cookie down on top. My problem is that the cookies are really kind of soft and gooey … great for cookies, but not so good when they need to be firm enough to smoosh together with frosting. And the frosting is kind of runny … hmmm…..
I’m going to let the cookies sit out for awhile, and hopefully they will harden up. However, I think we can already tell that these cookies are NOT going to turn out like they are supposed to. You’re going to have to check back tomorrow for an update.
Oh, and Alex? You might want to bring a pack of Oreo’s back with you, just in case. 🙂