Monday, December 24, 2007

Cookies Experiment

At the Soap and the Finer Things in Life blog, one of my muses, there was a recipe from the Martha Stewart site for these really pretty cookies:

I've never attempted this type of cookies before, so, inspired by these beauties, I wanted to give them a try.

Well, despite my moderately good baking skills, I wasn't able to produce a good first batch - I avoid conventional food colorings which accounts for the fact that my colors are not as vibrant:

A Candlewick plateful

Close up of two of the variations: the one with the darker dough layer is cocoa, and the other is the natural red food dye made from black currants.

It's hard to see in the photo of the dish of cookies, but aside from the 2 layer rolls, I also made a roll that had the "red" dough in the center (as a log like for the middle of the bull's-eye), and then the chocolate and vanilla layers done as a jelly roll around the center log.

I have learned a few things from this experiment:
1) cutting down on the sugar was a good move, but I think I should cut down on the salt a bit as well (taste-wise, it's a fine cookie, but I like a shortbread texture more than a sugar or butter cookie texture)
2) when making the jelly roll design, offset the second layer from the long edge of the layer just like you do with the rice on nori for making sushi, and also slant that long rolling end to make a crisper, pointier, and therefore, prettier, center
3) I think I prefer the thickness to be closer to 1/2" than 1/4" thick for each slice
4) when cutting off the last bits of a roll, switch to a sharp serrated knife
5) use more egg whites, or make sure this "glue" is spread out more evenly
6) I should make my own natural food coloring, such as blueberry juice for a purplish-blue tint, beet juice for red tint (instead of the black currant stuff we bought), and maybe even a small bit of turmeric for an orangy-yellow tint
7) I will definitely try rolling them in sugar crystals (turbinado, maybe) for a glitter effect

Now I need to go post-Christmas shopping to snag a silicon jelly pan so I can make Anne-Marie's really pretty Jelly Roll Soaps!

"To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge." ~ Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881)