Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Debacle in the Kitchen

Last week, upon Joe’s request, his mom sent us her oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’d been hearing about these cookies for a while; it’s not often that Joe makes specific reference to a particular type of food—more common is for him to eat whatever is placed in front of him with humble enthusiasm. So when we received the recipe I made them up right quick. Now, just a quick note on my relationship with baking… we don’t get along. I don’t follow directions well, written or verbal, because it’s nobody else’s business to tell me what to do, not even a recipe’s.That being said, our pleasant little oatmeal cookies did not turn out so well. Joe’s reaction upon tasting them, “Hmm, I’ll have my mom send us some. They’re supposed to be good.” He’s my little sweetie-pie.
Looking gross did not stop us from eating them...
Not to be discouraged, I made another batch tonight. What I realized when putting together cookie dough #2 is that on my first go-round I had forgotten to put in all the butter… which is to say that I left out 50% of the butter. Also, the recipe doesn’t call for butter, rather shortening. Eww. Gross. So tonight I put in the entire amount after verifying online that shortening can be replaced with butter. Unfortunately the cookies did not turn out well. Runny is the word that best describes them.  Any suggestions?

In other kitchen misadventures, we tried to use our dishwasher for the first time tonight. Big mistake. For various reasons we hand wash our dishes, always have, so the dishwasher’s only function is as a drainer. It was looking a little grungy on the bottom from water dripping off of dishes, so Joe got to work cleaning it up. Turned out that the grunge was stagnant water, which didn’t seem to have any place to go. Trying to think like reasonable people, we decided to turn on the machine and let it clean itself out. We didn’t have any dishwashing soap but no matter, we poured in a healthy dose of regular dish soap. Then we watched as our dishwasher spewed foamy bubbles all over the kitchen floor. Luckily we’re going camping for the next few days so by the time we get back this problem will hopefully have taken care of itself.

One last thing, when Joe and I were in Cleveland recently we had the good fortune to be taken out to dinner by one of Joe’s old professors and his wife. At dinner, to my surprise and delight, brussle sprouts appeared on my plate and so help me they were delicious. Because of that I have begun incorporating these friendly green vegetables into as many meals as I can think up. Joe, when asked whether or not he was enjoying them as much as I am, replied, “Oh, it doesn’t matter, sooner or later you’ll eat yourself out of love with them—I can wait.” My recommendation is to roast them up and eat them by themselves, one by delectable one.

Cookie Update: After consulting numerous sources, including helpful bloggers, Joe's mom, my own mom, various cookbooks and internet sites; additionally, I tried a different recipe that called for butter instead of shortening and I followed it exactly even though I didn't want to... the cookies still didn't work. Who knows what my problem is but this cookie obsession has got to come to an end. Joe has determined that my ranting isn't worth the giddy possibility of a fresh cookie and has forbidden me from making any more. Whatever my new hobby turns out to be, I certainly hope it involves a drill gun.


Lindsay said...

You dont love baking?? All of those Saturday mornings you spent in the kitchen with me baking cookies was all for me? That doesn't sound bullyish at all! :)

Baking is hit and miss sometimes. I could follow the same recipe each time and have them come out different. I used to think I needed to melt the butter, but I just soften it a bit(which I do in the microwave still)... And I beat the butter first, in a metal bowl... not sure why it didn't work so well in the plastic bowl.. then add the sugars and cream it all together well.

I honestly am no baking expert... I just use a little trial and error to learn what to do. Hopefully you'll get those cookies just right, and maybe even better than his moms! -That's the ultimate goal. ;)

Carol said...

Well, if you'd posted the recipe I could try to make them and let you know if it is you or the recipe. Debbie Ballard used to leave an ingredient out of the recipes she shared (her words, I swear), so my stuff never turned out like hers. I cracked up over the dishwasher story--you must have a little Lucille Ball in you! I love brussel sprouts, too.

Ron said...

Joe is a brave guy....... as for brussel sprouts, there is no good recipe for them. You can have my portions.

Emily said...

Thanks for your suggestions. This is the recipe; I used butter in place of shortening and omitted the nuts, and put in about a cup of chocolate chips rather than a package. If you decide to make them, PLEASE let me know how they turn out-- and if they're good, tell me your secret :)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 C white sugar
2 C flour (sifted)
1 C brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 C shortening
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs unbeaten
2 C rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla
1 C chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1 pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350
1. Mix shortening until light and creamy;slowly add brown and white
sugar; mix thoroughly.
2. Add unbeaten eggs and vanilla to sugar mixture. Mix well.
3. Sift together flour, soda, baking powder & salt. Add the rolled oats, nuts & chips to the flour mixture; mix.
4. Add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Mix well.
5. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
6. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes

Brenda said...

I need to check this more often. The recipe looks like it should work. First, you should know that there are some cookies that butter is not yes, not as good as shortening. It changes the texture. If you want to make them the taste the way his mother's taste, you must follow the recipe. With that said, I think I can send you Laurie's choc chip oatmeal cookie recipe. It uses butter and has a nice texture. The nuts also help the way they look and taste. You should ask Grandma to sent you some pecans.

Brenda said...

I love the Ohio picture!

Carol said...

Your mom is right about the shortening. Sometimes butter doesn't work as good as margarine does, either, but I like using butter. I'll have to try these.