Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cookie Monster's Favorite Candy Corn

I've been wanting to make some more pastel cookies for a while, but haven't felt like there was time to complete them - they take rather more work than most sorts of cookies, and they have to chill for quite a while to make the dough stiff enough to work. It's good to pop the dough you're not working with back into the fridge, to keep it chilled, too. I decided it had been long enough and I'd make some cookies even if it kept me up late, and it has. The problem is, pastel cookies are best when made into interesting shapes, and I didn't have a good idea of what to make. I could make something like checkerboard cookies, but that seems kind of dull. Here's a picture of my first idea for something season-appropriate:

As you can see, this idea didn't work out so well, as you might not guess what the cookies are supposed to be if I don't tell you. No, they are not pork chops. These are my attempt at pumpkin pie slices, as seen from the side. Yes, I know. Needs whipped cream.
The Highly Capable Mrs. had a good idea that would work with the dough I'd already colored if I just colored another part of it yellow - Candy Corn! She's brilliant, why didn't I think of that? I put the idea into practice immediately.
Here's a picture of the cookie making in progress. It's a lot like working with Play-Doh, but a heck of a lot tastier.

And here's the finished product. Don't these look yummy?

You should try some. Go on, try some!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pretzel Logic

Kids from our son's school had their annual skating outing at Skate King today, and I tagged along to encourage the boy to do more than eye the video games, and possibly actually get out on the floor in skates. I don't think I've been on roller skates in most of a decade, but it was not especially demanding. We did a few loops, slowly, then he wanted a snack. We'd gotten a little fruit punch and popcorn when he noticed another kid had a soft pretzel from the concession counter. I opined aloud, we do not need more snacks, and besides, maybe we could make some of those at home. Naturally, that became a must-do activity according to the younger set, who insisted we get started not long after our return. The Formidable Mrs. found a recipe for giant soft pretzels online, and we got the bread machine started before dinner. An hour and a half later, the dough was ready, so we rolled out long ropes, twisted them into shape, then boiled them for about fifteen seconds in water with baking soda. They looked a bit like this after boiling:

When we had them all boiled and ready to bake, we popped them in the oven for about ten minutes, until they were nicely browned. We hauled them out then brushed them with a little water and sprinkled on some kosher salt, because it's just not a giant pretzel without those big salt crystals. The end result looked something like this:

It was a bit of a mess to clean up afterward for a mere eight pretzels (we remembered to take another picture after eating a couple), but also pretty cool to make our own, and they were quite tasty. I'm still intending to make my own bagels one of these days. It can't be that different.