not nearly as hard as I make it seemJuly 12, 2010
I got some reader-request baking done on Sunday, during a short break in the heat wave. K had requested Martha Stewart’s Lemon-Thyme Wafers, so I found the recipe online and got to work. People, let me tell you, it was like an episode of I Love Lucy or something. Anything that I could have messed up, I did. (And of course, it wasn’t helped by the fact that I was working on two things at once for part of the time).
The first step of the recipe is to warm up some cream and then add lemon zest and thyme springs, to let the flavors infuse the cream, ooh la la fancy fancy. I did this no problem, let it sit for a while infusing, and then strained the now-flavorful cream into a glass coffee mug for later use. Step into the other room for a few minutes while I wait for the oven to be free. Come back into the kitchen to talk to mrslovey who is using the break to do some dishes*, and I see a soapy sponge – wiping out a glass coffee mug. Seems I need to label things better. Out comes more cream, more zest, and more thyme from the herb garden. I strain it into a measuring cup and say very slowly and loudly, like I’m talking to a toddler, or a dinosaur, or something, “I’M PUTTING THIS OVER HERE, WITH THE INGREDIENTS,BECAUSE IT IS AN INGREDIENT. WHICH I AM GOING TO USE. WHEN I MAKE THESE COOKIES, WITH THESE OTHER INGREDIENTS. OVER HERE.” I’m lucky she didn’t crack me in the head with a glass coffee mug.
Next step was mixing a bunch of stuff together to make the batter, no biggie. But then, THEN, was the first circus act of the day. Imagine, if you will, that you are holding in one hand a stainless steel mixer bowl, and are trying to pour and scrape the contents into the open end of a big zippy bag, that is perched in a(nother) glass mug, with a piping tip that is way too big for the thickness of the batter, so everything seems to be either flowing right out of the tip, or trying to pull the bag out of the mug and onto the counter. Not saying that’s what happened, but just imagine the frustration if that were the case. Then start piping your cookies out, and realize your piping skills still suck, so you’re dripping batter everywhere and this bag is too big and now the tip is coming out of the bag and batter is leaking out of THAT new hole and OMG is this really this hard????
Mrslovey comes to the rescue (she does that a lot), cuts me a new, smaller bag, trades in for a smaller tip, transfers the batter, and wipes down the counter. I go back to piping the batter into 1-inch rounds, which is still a challenge for me. I guess small, flat circles are REALLY HARD to do right or something. Anyhow, after piping batter onto two parchment-lined cookie sheets, I give up and toss the remaining batter in the trash. Two trays will just have to be enough. I am actively cursing Ms. Stewart right now. Marf, do you make things this difficult *on purpose*???
First batch, baked for exactly the 15 minutes the recipe called for. Burnt those little beasties to a crisp. Second batch, decided to check the oven after 8 minutes. They’re not nearly done, still as white and pure as when I put them in. Add 3 minutes to the timer, and come back again. Still no hint of golden brown edges. Weird. Then something makes me look at the oven display, and I realize that when I turned off the timer after the first batch, I turned off the oven, too. Freals. I am about to cry at this point. Turn oven back on, pop the cookies back in, and try again. This time, success. I guess I can’t tell you exactly how long to cook them, since I had time/temp difficulties, but I’d recommend you start checking at 10 minutes.
So to make a short story long, I ended up with one tray of cookies that were edible. They were beautiful and delicate, with a buttery crispness to them that reminds me of something else which I can’t quite identify right now. K tasted them and declared them superb (and then laughed at my creation story). The lemon and thyme flavors are there, but subtle, which fits the cookie well. These would be wonderful served with tea at a ladies luncheon, or as a palate cleanser between courses, or stuck in a scoop of lemon sorbet.
Or, you know, stuffed into a sock along with a roll of quarters and used to pummel Marf about the head and chest while yelling “Not everything has to be so complicated, dammit!!” You choose.
*Yes, I’m spoiled. I have a personal dishwench who follows behind me and magically makes all of my implements clean again. Don’t hate.