Is it bad luck for my first post to be about a semi-failure? Oh well. I say “semi” failure because they turned out delicious, just a bit rough in the appearance department, and when it comes to baking contests, presentation is everything, no?
The back story behind these is this: Last week I suggested that we have an office bake-off to combat the winter blahs, which my Bossman endorsed (and eventually reneged on, the rascal). The genre was cookies and Bakezilla took up the task with a taste for vindication. Last October, my eyeball cake pops met ignominious defeat in the dessert challenge at Science Guy’s department Halloween party. I don’t understand how these could have lost…I just don’t.
These confectionary masterpieces were thwarted by miniature boozy dirt cakes, so I went into this new contest under the assumption that Booze. Always. Wins. I am admittedly an ethanol lightweight so I don’t often cook with the fruit of the vine or other fermented plantstuffs. (Coq au vin is a notable exception.) But Science Guy keeps a respectable stock of spirits, so I started prowling and found half a small bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream in the fridge.
I had just enough to try the Irish Cream White Chocolate Chip Cookies from Noshon.It, figuring that Bailey’s Irish Cream is pretty close to dessert on its own anyway. I mixed up the dough, realized I was late for church, threw the bowl in the fridge to firm up (which it needed), and returned to bake them a few hours later. Just another Sunday in Bakezilla’s kitchen, right?
Wrong. About five minutes into the baking process, I opened the oven door to rotate the cookie sheets through the various hot spots. To my dismay, I saw that one of my ancient cookie sheets had warped from the heat, creating an inclined funnel down which the soft dough had oozed slowly. The other sheets had not bent but the cookies had spread at an alarming rate and were rapidly approaching cookie amoeba state. I baked them for as long as I dared before they could burn to the pan, just shy of ten minutes. And the result was the amorphous mass you see below.
Science Guy’s taste test declared them delicious, but I couldn’t really get them off the cookie sheets intact. (I shaved off about an eighth of an inch off the bottom of nearly every one, which is a lot for a rather flat cookie.) I couldn’t bring these into the office, so I packed up a dozen of the Jelly Bean Monster Cookies I had made before the Bailey’s cookies. It…was a long baking day.
So what went wrong? I can think of a few possibilities:
- The butter was too soft, having been out for well over an hour in a warm kitchen. I feel like this could/should have been solved by hours’ worth of chilling, particularly when the recipe called for only 15 minutes of cold.
- The recipe measured dry ingredients by weight. My kitchen scale is sitting in a box waiting for me to rediscover it, so I had to eyeball by volume.
- The “white chocolate” I used was actually vanilla candy coating, which might have a different (read: lower) melt temperature. Much of my stickage was due to melted/burning chocolate.
I am pretty determined to perfect this recipe, so I’m going to try another batch soon. What else am I supposed to do with a fifth of Irish Cream?
P.S. My monster cookies were bested by a coworker’s oatmeal with Heath bits. Bakezilla’s ego is sore wounded.