Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cookie Time!

I promised cookies and now it's time to deliver. I had been eying the recipe for Chocolate Crinkles in the Betty Crocker Cooky Book for a while but because the dough needed to chill for at least several hours (up to overnight) I skipped them. I want instant cookie gratification, not delayed satisfaction! But now, I see that it was totally worth it. Late one night last week I wanted to whip up some cookies and since I didn't care about eating them before bed I wanted to try a batch of refrigerator cookies. Immediately I decided on the Chocolate Crinkles. The picture caught my eye the first time I opened the book since they look just like Snickerdoodles, but instead of sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon and sugar they're chocolate cookies rolled in powdered sugar.

I made the dough that night and let it chill overnight, and the next morning I started baking. There were a few casualties, unfortunately. As I was pulling out the first pan I tried to multi-task and put in the second pan with my left hand, and two cookies took the opportunity and threw themselves onto the bottom of the oven. This halted production for a few minutes as I had to rearrange the oven racks so I could retrieve the poor things from with a set of tongs. I'm sure John would have been horrified had he been in the room, given my immense ability to harm myself unintentionally, but he was upstairs programming at the time.

The recipe was easy and almost vegan on its own -- instead of butter or shortening it called for vegetable oil. I have promised Brandon I'll make a vegan batch for him; in fact I will probably do this with every batch of cookies once I've made the "regular" version, just so I can have a point of reference. Rolling out the dough into teaspoon-sized balls yielded me 7doz. cute cookies, even with the casualties. They were tasty coming out of the oven, but the flavor has intensified as they have sat in the cookie jar. They are a little fudgy in the center and they've remained quite moist. I would say these are my favorites but the next cookie is quite a contender.

The first attempt at making my grandma's lemon cookies was fairly disastrous. The recipe was a little vague in parts so I guessed on a few things, like the order in which to combine ingredients -- I did wet ingredients first, then dry stuff, just like every other cookie recipe I've used -- how long to chill the dough, whether to use a greased cookie sheet or not. After about an hour I rolled the dough into balls and threw them on a greased cookie sheet and into the oven, where they promptly attempted to escape the cookie sheet. Every batch, no matter how carefully I placed the pan in the oven, ended up slipping and sliding at least half an inch from where I'd placed them, and one of them ended up sliding over the edge and dripping its dough on the oven floor. (So yes, there is lemon cookie and chocolate cookie residue on the floor of my oven.)

Despite the cookies being delicious -- while John like them, he didn't "love" them, but Brandon and I simply devoured them -- I was completely frustrated and not sure what needed fixing as I'm still a novice at the science of baking. I had changed the lemon part of the cookies from 2t lemon extract to 3T fresh-squeezed juice, so I knew that could be the cause (or possibly I beat the dough too much when I kept adding more lemon juice to get a better lemony flavor), or maybe it was the "light corn syrup" concoction I made so I didn't have to buy light corn syrup that I wouldn't ever use.

On Tuesday I decided I was ready to try again. I did a little research and decided to lower the sugar by a quarter cup to three-quarters, and also changed the lemon juice to 2T, plus 1t of lemon zest. Again using the Cuisinart I carefully beat the dough until everything was just mixed then shut it off. This time the dough had a nice lemony flavor that was more stronger than the first batch, yet it wasn't overpowering. I let the dough chill in the refrigerator for about three hours before I started rolling it.

I really liked the size of the Chocolate Crinkles so I used the teaspoon measure again, but this time using the metal set of spoons I had inherited from my other grandmother. The dough came out much easier than the plastic spoon, partly because of the metal and partly because it was a more oblong shape. This time I didn't grease the pans, and the dough cooked perfectly -- about 1/4" thick and perfectly round. The lemon flavor was spot-on -- not too much to overwhelm the cookie, but just enough to remind you that it IS a lemon cookie. Since they've sat for a few days the lemon flavor has intensified and the cookies are a little chewy, which suits me just fine.


  1. You mad baker! Those choco crinkly ones look soooo good. But, I know myself, and I know the way to my heart is through a lemon dessert! Grandma's cookies are begging me to eat them.

  2. You're vegan right? I promised Brandon I'd work on vegan versions of both of these cookies so I'll see what I can do about sending you a care package!