20 March 2009

Not even a cream pie

If some weeks around here are dark carnivals of folly, this week was merely a comedy of errors, a series of gratuitous pratfalls, none of them doing any real harm, but not doing much to advance the plot, either.

Well, no one's ever mistaken me Lucille Ball. Or even Margaret Dumont.

I did mess about with the 'croquettes of maize' and the initial report is:

1. I treated this batch more like pastry than shortbread (cut cold butter into dry ingredients rather than cream room temp. butter and add the dry ingredients in). Worked fine although this does require adding water into the mix to make the dough come together. Next time I'll try creaming the butter first, just for comparison.

2. Orange flower water, despite its over-the-top perfumey-ness, doesn't hold up to several days of sitting in the fridge. Grated lemon zest (or orange, or lime) is definitely the way to go. A teaspoon or so of vodka mixed with the grated zest before adding it to the cookie dough will help spread the citrus oils around.

3. Sitting in the fridge for several days may not matter so much with an eggless dough but I have an idea that it doesn't hurt, anyway. Except for the orange flower water thing, but that shouldn't matter with actual citrus zest

(An eggy cookie dough -- like one for chocolate chip cookies -- does benefit noticeably from 24-48 hours fridge time before baking. It's called hydration. The NY Times did a piece on this in the last year or so).

4. Do not think you are being clever by dusting your rolling surface with corn starch instead of wheat flour. Cookies so handled will melt out into one gigantic cookie mess when baked.

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