Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cranberry-Lemon Shortbread

Wow. This recipe was a PITA. Maybe I'm just tired from having been in the kitchen most of the day, but I'm not really excited about these cookies. They sure seem innocuous enough online, but I ran into numerous little problems while making them.

The ingredients are straight forward and easy. Nothing really exotic beyond the dried cranberries. I managed to prepare those while waiting for my White Bean & Pasta soup to simmer. I didn't really know what lemon zest was, but correctly guessed that it's the peel of a lemon, all grated up. Now's there's a partially naked lemon in my fridge. Any takers?

Once I mixed the dry and wet ingredients, the problems started. The dough is really sticky and I'm assuming that's why they recommend chilling it for 30 minutes prior to trying to roll it. First I had to wrestle it onto the plastic wrap. Then I had to remove it from my hands and the spatula I was using, and make it stick to the "ball" of dough. Not an easy feat. I finally shoved it in the fridge, only to suddenly realize I don't own a rolling pin. Quick call to two different friends finally yields me a new rolling pin to call my own. Sweet!

With the chilled dough in hand, and my new rolling pin unwrapped, I dusted the counter and rolling pin with flour and tried to flatten my dough. Easier said than done. This stuff is tenacious! I was rolling it too hard at first, but even when I lightened up, it still sticks like crazy to whatever isn't coated in flour. Roll, roll, flour up, peel dough off roller and try to adhere to rest of dough, roll, roll, flour up...

Finally, I was ready to start cutting out cool shapes. The only cookie cutters I had on hand were dinosaurs. Laugh all you want but they're fun. The only negative is that some of them have little bitty narrow parts that the dough likes to stick in. This would help explain the War Amps appearance of my poor Jurassic Park cookies.

I had to use a knife to scrape/cut around the cookie cutters, removing the excess dough. Then I had to scrape the cut shape off the counter and attempt to transfer it to the cookie sheet without arms, legs, or heads dropping off. I wasn't very good at the process which also helps to explain my mangled dinos.

Repeat, repeat, third sheet of pseudo-dinos is ready, I'll make a heart with the extra dough. That's the only shape of cookie that's recognizable for what it is. The other hard part about using the cookie cutters is that this recipe has dried fruit in it. Those cutters are probably better suited for a recipe such as sugar cookies, where the dough isn't quite so finicky and annoying.

The cookies are cooling, I've eaten dinner, time for the icing. I don't recommend making the icing up as they tell you to do. You'll end up with a peculiar ratio of a lot of juice to some lumps of icing sugar. Very, very runny, and not resembling icing in the slightest. After much addition of icing sugar and cream cheese, along with dragging out the electric beaters again, I managed to fix my icing to the point where it was useable, albeit still quite runny. It's not the pale pink they promise either.

This was a test run of this recipe for me. I'm going to use it again before the end of the year, when it will count, so now I have a better idea of what problems to anticipate, and possibly how to fix them. Until then, I'm chowing down on tasty, demented-looking, extinct creatures...

1 comment:

  1. Cookies were delicious! Mine were not dino shaped, however the "J" was fabulous!