December 06, 2012
Making something your own
They aren't exactly what they should be. But close, actually. A tender dunking cookie that calls for simple things. It's the simple things that are the hardest to make, I think.
So, confidently, I retrieved the wood board from the basement and assembled the wet and then the dry. And, it was different, yet again. Different from try one, two, three, and so on.
The amount of moisture in the flour. The amount of juice from a squeezed lemon. The temperature of the eggs and the milk.
But there was sameness as well. The same wood board, wood bowl and pastry brush. The sound of the oven coming up to temperature. The damp towels drying on the oven door.
The sun was shining, though. The outside temperature, falling. I dug into the task.
The task of combining the wet:
3 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
add to that:
1 cup white sugar
add in, alternating:
3 cups all purpose flour (do not sift)
3 tablespoons baking powder
That is it.
It can be done in a mixer (which I do) or by hand (if you like that sort of thing).
On the day I observed the original recipe being made, the woman (Roberto's aunt) used the mixer for the wet and then her hands for the dry. She manipulated the dough as if it were bread. It didn't have a chance. She worked it into submission. It visibly relaxed when she pulled her hand from the bowl.
She was making a half recipe that day. Her half recipe had something in the order of 7 eggs and flour, well, who knows how much. It was all by feel. Her feel.
The recipe I've attempted to adapt is a little less than half of her half. I think.
At this point, the dough is more like a batter (more than half the time). You'll think me mad when I say to pour it out onto a well floured board (or counter top) and then sprinkle even more flour on top. Use a light hand, though. You can add flour, but you can't take it away. Keep one hand clean or you'll grow frustrated, quickly. With a dough scraper, fold the dough onto itself, like it were bread dough. Sprinkle more flour (I work in 1/3 cups at this point), and fold. Eventually the dough will feel right. Not sticky. Not like a batter, but a dough.
Roll it out to about 1/2 inch thickness.
With fluted pastry wheel and steady hand make your cuts. Your rectangles should be roughly 1 inch x 3 inch.
Line a sheet pan with parchment and line up your rectangles, leaving about 1 inch between each. Bake at 350 degrees for 16 minutes, rotating the tray after the first 8 minutes.
When the cookies are ready, place them into a bowl to cool slightly before brushing off any excess flour. Immediately place cookies into a plastic bag.
Repeat until every ounce of dough is used up, even the scraps. Scraps are great for checking your work and extending breakfast a moment or so longer.
And so these were named morning cookies, but they are perfectly suitable con espresso. You can dunk them if you like, even in wine (preferably red). They are quite nice for use in finishing up the milk from a bowl of morning cereal as well.