Life is a delicious crunch. We cannot get enough of moist, chewy cookies. My friend Gail has been our local supplier of this crunchy goodness, so it was only natural to want to learn from the Master.
Our first exciting side trip was then decided. We were off to our Cookie Fairy Godmother´s kitchen. Her lovely warm kitchen had the “serious” stainless steel oven that would make any Iron Chef in the making proud. Why can´t we move in?!
The table was all set-up professionally with personal ice cream scoopers provided by their Cookie Fairy Godmother (CFG). With our stash on the table, we were set to explore the wonderful world of baked confections.
After checking out the equipment — a lot of measuring cups, spoons etc… We received our first words of wisdom: “Baking is a science, everything has to be measured accurately to make sure that your cookie comes out perfect,” explained CFG. The kids stared at her in rapture.
The instructions were easily grasped by two bakers in the making. First, they were shown how to measure dry ingredients and how to measure and mix the wet ingredients in after creaming the butter and brown sugar.
CFG explained the concept of creaming, “we´ll be creaming these two ingredients— butter and sugar.” The kids were sharing a recipe while their CFG made an entire batch.
There were 3 stations with Tristan working on the hand mixer and Inigo in full control of the Kitchen Aide. The kids were focused on learning from their CFG as she began creaming the first two ingredients and added in the vanilla, salt and flour.
The mixing was slightly challenging due to the stickiness of the cookie dough mixture. The aromatic smell of vanilla filled the kitchen made it irresistible for the kids to dip into the batter. CFG needed to rope them in and focus on the dough making, they still had a way to go before achieving the final cookie dough ready for mixing in all kinds of crunchy and flavourful yumminess.
Cracking eggs gave another opportunity for more CFG wisdom. ”When breaking eggs into you batter, make sure you wash the eggs first in case some shell pieces fall into your bowl,” she started. Tristan and Inigo were nodding their heads in unison.
Been there. Done that. “So washed eggs mean you don´t have to worry if you get some egg shells into the mixture, and if you do, simply take a big piece of egg shell into the egg mixture and use it to attract the smaller piece… it is has some magnetic attraction to each other…” Show and tell continued as the kids watched CFG attract a rogue eggshell to the mother ship. Worked wonders!
Eggs mixed in, they were ready to sift their own flour, baking soda and powder for their dough. Extra bowls were given out for their sifting. “You need to measure your dry ingredients in another bowl in case of spillage,” explained CFG to the kids, ”especially salt…”
The baking session was on a roll with dry ingredients being carefully mixed into the bowls. Each took turns in measuring the flour and sifting it into their respective bowls. “It is important not to have lumps in your dough for soft, chewy cookies,” instructed CFG.
Reaching the home stretch —dough done!
Now, it´s time to prep the nuts, chocolate chips, Daim bar and coconut flakes (flown in straight from the East Coast).
The oven was heating up and anticipation rising as Tristan and Inigo begin the hard process of deciding what to mix in the various batches of cookie dough.
CFG advised wisely, ” if you don´t like nuts and chocolate so much Inigo, you can put in some white chocolate and coconut in your bowl.” Since Tristan would basically eat anything that resembled a cookie, this was not an issue for his batch.
The scoopers were on stand-by, as the boys mix in all the different goodies in their bowls, guided by CFG. Ingredients were chopped, broken down by hand and mixed into various bowls.
In between the action, some dough tasting was inevitable. CFG encourages tasting: “It´s important to taste your dough ever so often to make sure it´s not too salty…” Saying this was like opening the door during a locust storm. The kids met their match in cookie dough licking— CFG´s had dough tasting down to an artform.
The kids made 5 types of cookies: White Choco Macadamia with Coconuts, White Choco with Coconuts, Daim, Dark Choco with Walnuts and Dark Choc/Daim with Walnuts. Cookie heaven for anyone with a sweet tooth!
The hardest part of this session was the waiting… and waiting for each batch to finish baking. After 120 cookies, the kids huddle with their CFG and enjoy the fruits of their hard labour. Another skill to tuck under their belt.
“Americans have good ideas…” was Tristan´s observation throughout the baking process. From an ocean away, we were able to make the quintessential American comfort food with a native Master Baker and good old American vintage gear. What a great day!