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TeslaCon cookie experiments, round 1

I need to talk to Lord B. again, to make sure the idea of me making cookies won't be tripped up by any technical details.  For starters, this is not a professional kitchen - I'd looked at the WI rules for food prep when I was considering a farmer's market table, and I don't think I could legally prepare commercial items in my kitchen.  It's a normal kitchen, and clean enough when I prepare to bake for others; it's just unofficial. 

Also, I will not guarantee the absence of any specific allergen.  I couldn't.  I can guarantee vegan or GF or dairy-free to the best of my abilities - utensils and bowls and such will be washed between batches.  But no way could I, for example, guarantee nut-free.

Anyway, on to the fun stuff. 

My first batch of cookies was made of fail, albeit fairly tasty fail.  This is what I rightly get for trying to bake without a road map.  The concept was a lace cookie that I could roll into an ammonite shape.  If I use a proper standard lace cookie recipe, I might be able to get this to work, but the shape of the cookie-to-be-rolled presents some difficulties.  As it was, I made something like a flour-added buckwheat honey caramel studded with ground sunflower seeds.  Adding an egg finally allowed it to bake up into a cookie-like item, but the cookie turned hard too fast to roll, even with repeat visits to the oven, and the cookie was just a little too thick to roll well. 

That was just me getting the wild&crazies out of my system, and reminding myself that baking is a lot more chem-lab than cooking.  Tonight's experiments went better, but the "right" cookie is halfway between the two batches that I made. 

The first batch was a Lebanese rice cookie, flavored with rose water and cardamom, and following an online recipe to the letter.  The end result was clearly too floury, something I could have easily remedied by not adding all the flour at once.  Duh.  The flavor, though, is pretty decent.  This was a GF, but not vegan, recipe - includes both butter and eggs.  The 300g flour version made about 60 smallish cookies.

The second batch was a vegan variant on the first batch, using the remainder of my bag of rice flour.  Flax meal (1 T to 3 T water) stood in for the egg, date syrup for the refined sugar, and coconut milk for the butter.  Lavender flavor.  I had less flour for this than I'd wanted, and it showed in the dough being too soft.  The flavor's decent, but date syrup is not the sweetener of choice (and, the cookies weren't sweet enough).  If I want this to be the everything-free cookie - including refined sugar - then I should go with turbinado sugar, or maybe maple syrup.  Maple-lavender cookies??  The lavender does need some backing vocals, flavor-wise.  For some reason, I'm thinking a pinch of cloves, but why I'm okay with that and not okay with maple sugar, I don't know.

The vegan cookies were unreasonably chewy.   The likely cause is a lack of fat, but possibly adding more flour and working the dough as little as possible will help.  Adding a camouflage ingredient, like ground almonds, might help disperse the texture.  This 120g flour version of the recipe made about 24 smallish cookies.

Although a lot of things were wrong with that second cookie, I think it gave me enough information to be able to fashion a workable recipe.  Probably around 200g flour (to one "egg"), turbinado sugar, almond meal, no coconut milk (not a common Victorian England ingredient anyway, I suspect...not that almonds are local either, but they're closer than coconuts...yeah, rice flour's a stretch too; I could go with amaranth instead)...I will need to add liquid or another "egg" if I add almond meal. 

Rice and almonds go well together, and even better with cinnamon.  So I might swap the lavender for cinnamon - that should make a pretty agreeable, non-weird vegan GF cookie.  Mmm...horchata cookie....

I do want to use the lavender in something; supposedly Queen Victoria was a fan of lavender flavoring.

I think both of the rice cookie recipes could benefit from a smidge of salt.

The rice flour I used for the experiments was a bag of Thai rice flour - it should be GF, but for the real deal I'll probably stick to generally-approved (and pricier) Bob's Red Mill.  The Thai flour seemed very finely ground; I'll have to make sure the consistency of the Bob's Red Mill is similar. Hmm...if I do want an ammonite shape, one option might be to shape the rice cookies coiled-snake style. I'll test that out with the next batch.

Btw, I adore buckwheat honey, even more than I remembered from the last jar I had.  I was pretty close to just eating the measuring spoon in order to get at every last molecule of honey residue.  Probably best that I keep that jar where I don't see it every day.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Nov. 1st, 2011 09:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your share! very impressive!

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Friending welcome, but lurking is fine too.

Constructive criticism is also welcome - whatever it is, trust me, I've heard worse.

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