The Farley household has been a busy place the last several weeks. I had facial surgery (skin cancer…they got it all) I looked like I got the worse end of a fist fight for 10 days so I stayed home and caught up on a few projects. My son and daughter in law had the most beautiful baby boy on January 30th…Dodson Dean…who weighed in at 6 lbs. 15 oz., 20″ long. He is so sweet, precious and TINY. I forgot just how small newborns are. I’ve been helping out in the usual ways, mostly preparing meals that can be heated up when mommy and daddy have time to eat them. Little do they know that hots meals can become a rare treat. When my kids were babies their favorite time to get fussy was dinner time.
I’ve taken several batches of cookies to the new parents because they are easy to snack on and they can easily be served when family and guests drop by to see little Dodson. Buttery, melt in your mouth shortbread is at the top of our favorite cookie list and I have a new cookie stamp and mold that I’ve been dying to try out. If you have visited my blog in the past you know that I love to travel and often incorporate that theme into my baking. It’s always a challenge to find good cookie recipes that have a nice texture and keep a sharp design. Thanks to my friend, Monique, I found a new recipe that will be my go-to recipe from now on. It’s delicious and very tender, made with no eggs and rice flour, and retains a nice sharp design after it’s baked.
Before Christmas I found a cookie cutter, chocolate mold stamp set in the King Arthur Flour holiday catalog. The chocolate molds are designs of eight different popular travel destinations…just my thing…so I bought them for $24.95 (Ouch!) If you are sensing a little attitude here, you are right! I have always loved everything I have purchased from KAF, but this set was a giant pain in the you know what. If you have all day to produce two dozen cookies that leave more than a little something to be desired, then this may be for you. I’m not sharing the recipe that came with the set because it was awful…one I won’t ever use again. If you have a favorite shortbread cookie recipe, use that or the one in the link in the above paragraph. It’s a good one. To start off this whole procedure the chocolate must be tempered. Not difficult but time consuming and sometimes it doesn’t work well. Tempered chocolate should end up nice and shiny and have a snap to it when broken. For some reason this didn’t happen. I fussed and FUSSED with the dough until I got enough cookies for the molded chocolate rectangles I made. I ended up with twenty-four, many of which I had to redo because I didn’t like the way they turned out. The border of the mold is very narrow and much of it either broke off or didn’t come out of the mold well. They are shallow molds and the designs on some of them didn’t stand out well. At any rate, it took me several hours to get this far in the recipe. I was getting pretty exasperated with the whole process and decided to go back and read the reviews on the KAF site. I’m so used to their products being first rate that I just didn’t think to do it before I bought the set…which, by the way, had been marked down to $14.99 from $24.95 right after I bought it. The reviews were strange, many praised the set to high heaven and some of the reviews gave it a one star because of the same problems I was having. Hmmmm… kind of made me wonder.
So I finally got to the end of this whole thing and assembled my cookies using a dab of melted chocolate as glue to fasten the chocolate to the sugar cookie base. I like the cookies and think they are fun to serve, and definitely worth a blog post, but if I’m completely honest I have to say that I probably won’t make them again. The set just isn’t designed well, is finicky as all get out (even KAF acknowledged this in their replies to negative reviews of the set). So I’m still looking for good cutters and stamps with a travel theme to add to my collection.
Having the right tools is essential to making recipes that involve a dough that has to be rolled out. One of the best additions I’ve made to my kitchen supplies is a long (18 inch) rolling pin with no handles and no tapered ends. Little rubber rings of various thicknesses slide onto each end so it’s easy to roll dough that is an even thickness. This is great for pie crusts too. It’s a good investment if you like to bake.