Friday, 14 November 2014

Baking and Problem-Solving

First snowflakes of the season today, powdering the ground like the icing sugar on the linzer cookies I baked this morning, and I got caught in quite a little swirl of the snow while I delivered the baking.

The Friends of the Farm are having a craft sale / bake sale fundraiser tomorrow (10-4, in building 72, I believe), and were looking for people to bring in baked goods, so I decided that making something to bring would be a nice excuse to mess around with cookie cutters. Especially since I'm teaching the last dye class of the season tomorrow, and won't be able to go to the sale itself.

The cookies were fun. It was the packaging that gave me pause. Oddly enough, I never think of that part of it when I'm planning. And I'm not the sort of person who keeps disposable plates in the house. In retrospect, filled cookies sprinkled with icing sugar might not have been the best choice, but they were pretty. It was just a case of getting them divided, wrapped up nicely without messing the icing sugar up too much, and transported on the bus. Ended up making squares of corrugated cardboard from a Knitpicks box I had, covering those with foil, and using some larger plastic bags to tie over the foil board with cookies, since the sandwich bags I had were too small to use without making a mess of the cookies. Then, luckily, the CAT box my work boots came in was just the right size to stack the squares in. Tied it shut with my green jute garden twine, and presto. It worked great.

There was another bout of problem-solving a little later which also worked out pretty well in the end. The linzer recipe only used the egg yolks, so I thought maybe some meringues to use the whites would be a nice idea. A quick flip through recipes found an espresso version and a chocolate one using cocoa powder. Now here's the importance of reading a recipe properly - the espresso ones said to mix the instant coffee with the sugar. I thought for some reason that the cocoa would be the same (hey, flavoured powder, right?) Um, nope. After my nice fluffy egg whites had turned into chocolate goo and I had tried in vain to stiffen it into peaks with the beater, I took a look at the recipe for the chocolate version and discovered they had you fold the cocoa in at the end. Oh.

Well, I hated to waste something which at this point was basically a runny chocolate icing, but I thought, hey, eggs and sugar and chocolate...if I add some milk and cornstarch it'll basically be a pudding mix, right? So I did just that, stirred it over the heat for a bit, and voila. Not something I could bring for the sale, but tasted very rich and chocolatey, and textured like a soft custard. Dessert for a couple days, definitely a win.  

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