For some reason, to me, ultimate nuisances come from baking – even though I am the kind of person who gets angry pretty easily. But honestly, nothing gets me as much as when the sweet pastry doesn’t stick, or the cookie mix is too liquid, or when a perfectly shaped cake puffs up too much. Why? I don’t know. But I suppose this fact is going to interfere quite a lot with my dream of getting the Grand Diplome at the Cordon Bleu.
Despite this though, I too often forget how annoyed I get when baking, and still try. And then again, when something turns out absolutely delicious, it erases the bad memories of desperately trying to get cookie dough off my fingers.
So yesterday, I picked another recipe from Gordon’s which I had all the ingredients for, and went for it.
Originally in the recipe, there’s supposed to be both jam and peanut butter on the top of each cookie, but first of all, that’s quite the effort – and second, I love jam, and my boyfriend loves peanut butter. So it’s actually better this way.
Here’s the issue with this recipe: the proportions are ridiculously out of measure. I mean, if I didn’t know that Gordon tried this on national television, I would assume he has never even tested this recipe. Or if he has, there’s a massive typo in the cook book.
Here’s how the original measurements are:
185g flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
125g butter, softened
325g peanut butter
185g light muscovado sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
1 large egg, beaten
(Instead of muscovado I used simple brown sugar, and instead of a vanilla pod, I used essence)
So the first issue is: 325g of peanut butter is a lot. I mean a lot lot. Which all by itself wouldn’t be an issue, but the fact that to this only 185g of flour is asked is ridiculous. I don’t know if I’ve done something terribly wrong, or whether it is truly not okay, but when I mixed all the ingredients, this was as far of being shapeable as it can be. I had to add at least double the amount of flour, little at a time, until I could kind of shape cookies of the dough. Other than that though, these cookies are extremely delicious, so here’s the method:
Start by sifting your flour, salt and baking powder into a ball. (You might as well start with more flour than said…) Set this aside. In a separate bowl, add your sugar, softened butter and peanut butter and mix until smooth. Here, the book suggests a whisk, but I think it meant an electric one, because with a hand held whisk, I didn’t get very far.
Once smooth, add the egg, the milk and the vanilla and you may now whisk until all is well combined. Finally, add your flour mixture little by little. This was the critical part: try forming a golfball of your mix, I dare you. If you can’t, like I couldn’t, add flour until you can 🙂
With floured hands, form little dough balls and place on a lined baking sheet. With the tip of your finger, make a little indent in the middle and scoop in any filling you like. I used jam, peanut butter and chocolate spread (these were the ultimate hit) – but you could use anything you fancy really.
Bake in a 180 degree oven for only about 12 minutes, and even though they may be a little soft, take them out and let cool. They will harden just enough to hold, but the middle will stay soft and crumbly, even a day after the making.
Delicious-looking, aren’t they? Totally worth a bit of experimenting, and honestly, they are delicious. I’m not even mad about the flour kerfuffle.