Because sometimes that’s just how the cookie crumbles…
Flopping a biscuit is not an easy thing to do. It’s not like bread that needs to be knead and aerated, and it’s not like cake that can taste bland and dry when baked a minute too long. No, cookies are basically molten sugar clinging to flour. When it’s hard, you dip it in tea, when it’s doughy, you call it “gooey” and you still get a golden star. And even if you do the almost undo-able by making it taste like cardboard, you add some chocolate and it’s delicious. Then how on God’s good earth did I manage to make the greatest treat in the world almost uneatable?
A lot of people proclaim the gospel: “Cooking is an art, baking is a science.” I’ve never quite liked that saying. I’m the kind of person that works with a dash of this and a shake of that and about a cup or so of these. Precise numbers have never quite been my strength. I like to work with textures instead. Now sometimes, this strategy works in my favour, see my Champagne Bread, for instance, other times like today it royally leaves me in a grotty ditch.
The recipe I started with, was one of those ‘homestyle’ ones, you know the type, the flour’s not sifted, portions aren’t the same size, it kind of looks rough, abundant and more than anything, delicious. Now for most of the journey, I generally followed the recipe: flour, milk, water, coconut, baking powder, a mountain of chocolate etc. There were just a number of ingerdients that I didn’t quite agree with, for example baking soda. I’ve never seen the point of baking soda. I mean it’s a strange fizzy thing that you mix in minuscule volumes with either water or milk, and to be honest it just sounds like a cheap variation of baking powder. Now, if I happen to have a pot of the stupid stuff in the cupboard, I might have actually used it, but to buy a whole 250 grams of it where I was only going to use half a sodding teaspoon? No, you can call me a cheapskate but I was going to have none of that, I was not going to be bullied by a recipe in my own kitchen.
The recipe originally called for the biscuits to be baked 7 minutes, however, after 20 they weren’t even nearly ready, falling apart at the merest touch. After baking one batch for 40 minutes and the other about an hour, they seemed to be two races: One almost milky white and the other dark, dark brown. Now I like a bit of variety, and I prefer my biscuits to be representative of the world, but in the baking world, neither of the two colours are quite attractive to the tastebuds.
As I mentioned before, it is indeed quite difficult for a biscuit to be inedible, especially when there is chocolate involved. My problem, however, is that my guests weren’t blind, and instead of looking drop dead gorgeous screaming “EAT ME NOW”, my biscuits kind of mumbled, “please just feed me to the poodle?”. Yes, it is indeed a sad day when oozing chocolate biscuits resemble dog biscuits, and not even the good ones, the dodgy cheap ones that are hidden away in the darkest corners of pet shops were it’s dark and mouldy.
I think I learnt my lesson though. If the recipe calls for baking soda, find another recipe instead.
😉Carla de Klerk