Christening

I tried the mixer today. Oiled it, cleaned it as best I could in a short time, and made cookies.

I used this recipe, except I subbed butter for the shortening and, since I didn’t have enough maple syrup, used both maple syrup and honey.

Creaming the butter was fine — even got the bowl rotating after a while.

Adding the egg was not so fine. A paste of butter about an eighth of an inch thick got spread on the side of the bowl, and it seemed to take forever of scraping down and feeding it to the beaters before it got incorporated. Wish I’d thought to take a picture of this part. I gave up before forever, and went ahead with the other ingredients.

I wasn’t sure about the flour, because the dough already looked a little dry and stiff — wanted to make sure I gave the mixer enough power so I used a higher speed, and of course got dusted a little. One small section of the bowl had some unincorporated flour, probably because the mass of dough was just before that section and the mixer threw the bowl around after getting through the dough. No smells or obvious struggling, so I suppose it was okay. Once everything was incorporated, the beaters spread the dough thickly on the sides of the bowl. And again I forgot to take a picture before scraping it down.

I added in the nuts by hand.

I wasn’t expecting the cookies to stay spherical; they’re more like shortbread than like your typical oatmeal cookie. Tasty, though. They’d be good with coconut, and / or cocoa.

The mixer needs some more serious cleaning to remove ancient cooking grease in the vents and wrinkles and such. And it would be nice to eventually have the paint touched up — especially on the turntable, which is all rusted in and around the ring that holds the bowl.

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6 thoughts on “Christening

  1. They sound quite yummy. I’m sure the reason for using shortening is to allow the flavor of the maple syrup to come through and not get lost in butteryness. But they sound yummy either way.

    As for the shape… honey is slightly acidic, so when you substitute it for sugar you need to add 1/2 teas baking soda for each cup of honey. I’m not sure how the pH of syrup compares to honey, nor what ration of maple to honey you had, but that might be part of the reason. Maybe experiment with adding a bit of baking soda, and see if they take on a more traditional cookie shape.

    I’m really glad your mixer is working out for you. And now I want cookies… mmmmmmm, cookies….

  2. The shortening vs butter might also make a significant texture difference. But I refuse to use shortening.

    Interesting point about the honey. The total sweetener called for was 3/4 c — I didn’t measure, just eyeballed, but I might have had almost 1/4 c of the maple syrup. The honey I had had some honeycomb in it as well; perhaps that’s another thickener?

    But I don’t even know if these cookies were intended to flatten out at all — they sure taste like shortbread, so I’m wondering if a firmer shape was intended all along.

  3. Hmmmm. I’ve never used comb honey in baking. I’m sure the wax would be capable of altering texture. I’m not sure how hot a cookie gets while it’s baking. Beeswax melts at about 145 degrees. I’m sure a cookie gets at least that hot, but, at what temperature do the proteins in the eggs begin to denature? That would play a big role in setting the final shape of the cookie. It’ll burn and discolor at abour 185 degrees – but with as little as you’d have in your cookies, that probalby wouldn’t be noticeable. I’m sure any beeswax would remain in the cookie – the flashpoint of beeswax is something like 400 degrees, and a cookie wouldn’t ever get that hot…

    Might be a good question for a Chemist. Maybe Mark could ask Phil Cook? I’m curious…

    Back to the recipe… I’m a butter fan, so I’d probably do what you did. And honey & butter make a great flavor combination (uh, honey butter…). But if you wanted a more close parallel to the original recipe, perhaps you could try lard. John Sherk just made some not too long ago (he borrowed two of my crock pots to help render it)…

    • I’ve not been happy with store lard in the past — too much off flavor. I’m betting John’s lard is much better, being that much fresher for one thing. I might also get another big container of coconut oil some day, too.

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