When I was young and still believed in the magic of Jim Henson, I used to love the Cookie Monster. He was my favourite Sesame Street character with a voracious appetite for, guess what, cookies. ‘Me want cookies,’ was his usual refrain, followed by ‘Om nom nom nom’ in between mouthfuls of food. He was my pal, my foodie compatriot and I loved him. I think I may still have my Cookie Monster toy laying somewhere about my parents’s apartment.
Then when I got savvy with the computer, I learnt that cookies in tech talk refers to small files held on one’s computer that stores a modest amount of information belonging to a website or a person that can be accessed by that person or by users of the internet.
I mean who thought to give that name to computer files? Afterall, cookies are small pieces of dough full of chocolaty/peanut butter/oatmeal goodness that have been baked in the oven to be consumed as soon as they are cool enough to take a bite into. I suppose as far as metaphors go, then cookies are pieces of dough filled with nutritional information that our cells can access.
SS came home to Paris bearing gifts from London. She had with her two boxes of cookie cutters that Senga M had sent as a belated present to RN. They were really an appropriate gift because I’ve been wanting cookie cutters for a while but haven’t been able to locate any, even in the Parisian home ware store, BHV. I suppose cookies are not really a Frenchy thing. The French have learnt to eat them from the numerous Americans living in Paris, who have brought with them good old American recipes for cookies and fairy cakes. I even found a cookie shop in St Germain des Prés one day.
Well, as you can expect, the girls wanted to bake cookies immediately. Today being Bastille Day, a national holiday in France, I thought it was as good a day as any to bake us some cookies.
So off the three of us trotted to the supermarché to buy the ingredients necessary for cooking making. I know they ought to be the easiest things on earth to make, but kawan kawan, I don’t bake as you may know, if you’ve been following my posts. Baking brings with it a certain amount of stress because it is all about science and exact measurements. There is no room for aghak- aghakness. As many of you may also already know, I tend to cook in this imprecise way, changing the measurements of the ingredients to suit my taste. I consider this letting my creative side reign. Alas, with baking, one just cannot do that. Baking is a science which requires precision and exactitude. I failed chemistry miserably at school. Casting my mind back, I once passed a chemistry experiment exam because I managed to cause effervescence with a teaspoon of soap powder behind the teacher’s back as the experiment that was suppose to bring about some form of effervescence had flopped. The liquid in my test tube was as flat as a glass of Evian water, no bubbles there! So I faked it by adding some soap powder and shaking the test tube vigorously which fortunately for me produced enough bubbles for me to pass the test.
Well, for the love of my girls, whom I have deprived greatly of baking due to my own fears, I decided to bite the bullet and do what good mothers do – bake.
Seeing that Senga M is Scottish, I chose a short bread cookie recipe from the internet. But to be completely and precisely honest, it was also because the first recipe I found required baking powder and soda, the French equivalent of which I was unable to locate in the local supermarket. So shortbread that does not require the baking soda and powder it is et voilâ, here’s the recipe:
3/4 cups butter (I used one that is marked doux which roughly translates to slightly salted, I think, since I couldn’t find unsalted butter. I did not add any salt to this batch of dough since the butter already has salt in it.)
1/4 cups granulated white sugar or 1/2 cups soft brown sugar
2 cups organic flour
1/2 cup of milk
3 drops of natural vanilla extract
1 cup of chocolate drops (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F before mixing in all the ingredients until you form a dough. Then roll out the dough to about 1/2 – 1/3 inches thick before cutting. Bake them for 20 – 24 minutes.
(Conversion charts on baking can be found on the internet for those who, like me, can’t see the ingredients in cup sizes!)
Here’s me mixing the dough until it has formed into a ball of dough.
I added the chocolate drops after this step which is incorrect. Be warned, kawan kawan, when using chocolate drops, add them before this process, then your dough will be evenly mixed with the chocolate buttons or drops. Unlike this:
RN loved the mixing in bit, so I let her do some of it whilst I greased the oven tray that has been lined with some grease proof paper. When the dough has been formed, I sprinkled some flour on the dining table and proceeded to show the girls how to roll out the dough. SS is an expert, having baked on numerous occasions with Daddy Dave. She stood by to watch and give me instructions.
Here’s RN demonstrating her rolling prowess:
We decided that the cookies ought to be S, R, 1, 3, 5 and 0-shaped:
When not taking the photos, SS can be seen disentangling the number 3 from the mother dough.
The when the dough has all been cut and the baking tray full of numbers and letters, it was time to bake the goodies.
After exactly 24 minutes, here are the cookies:
The girls reported that they tasted delicious. I had a bite and indeed they were, if I can say so myself. They tasted slightly sweet, not sickeningly and the organic flour does make a difference. They are really shortbread biscuits and not the familiar cookies that are gooey in the middle. In any case, they are sedap and taste of homebaked goodness. I am rather proud of them since they actually came out edible! I’d be hard pushed to get any dinner down RN’s throat tonight for the number of cookies that she has eaten.
YES! I can bake, kawan kawan and I will do more of it in the future. I am thinking oatmeal cookies, peanut butter ones, peanut butter and chocolate cookies and and and white chocolate chip cookies. Kawan kawan, the curse has been broken because I felt the fear and did it anyway. From cookies to cakes next. My sister in Singapore has promised to share a cheese cake recipe, so look out for a future blog post featuring the cheese cake .