Me: "The food processor isn't working."While struggling to get some results for lab meeting presentation #3 this month, one of my lab-mates asked if I would "volunteer" for taking care of next week's coffee break: every weekday at 3pm our lab congregates around a small table for caffeine, cookies, and conversation. Any sane person would have requested a postponement until after lab meeting presentation #4, but my time-management skills leave much to be desired. As if that wasn't bad enough, I decided to bake my own cookies, hoping to add some variety to the endless stream of Milano's, Oreo's, and Chips Ahoy. However, as my house-mate pointed out, it's hard to make anything taste bad with butter, flour, and sugar, so I decided to take on the challenge of making all vegan cookies.
Jeff: "Did you put in the blade?"
After my group meeting presentation and a microbial journal club meeting, I stopped by Shaw's to get the raw ingredients and then set off to a marathon of cookie prep. I had done some background reading from Shirley Corriher's Cookwise, which offered a plethora of great information. Some samples:
- Cookies made with butter (which has a fat content around 85%) spread out more than cookies made with shortening, since the texture changes more rapidly as a function of temperature.
- Cookies made with brown sugar will brown more than table sugar (I guess that's not surprising). Honey is somewhat hygrosopic, so will absorb water after cooking, resulting in a chewier cookie.
- Lower protein flour will lead to a lighter, more cake-like cookie.
Although the recipes varied in the specifics, the basic outline was:
- Mix together flour (spelt, brown rice, or whole wheat), oats (if needed), flax seeds (if needed), baking power and/or soda, and spices.
- Separately mix the sweetener (maple syrup, sucanat, etc.), fat (i.e. coconut butter, olive oil, peanut butter, or tahini), and apple sauce (if needed).
- Combine the dry and wet ingredients (food processors are amazing) and stir in the raisins, chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, etc., if needed. I ruined one of the batches by doing this all in the food processor, which turned the beginning of a gorgeous batch of chocolate chip-oatmeat-walnut cookies into brown sludge.
Me (looking at five fist-size blobs of dough in separate Tupperware containers, after two hours of work): "I don't think this going to be enough."
Me: "I think I'll need to make a trip to Star Market."