"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oat Lace Cookies & Swedish Ginger Thins

Oat Lace Cookies are another cookie that my counterpart at work would make from time to time, that didn't turn out so well from my point of view. When Miranda made them they seemed excessively brittle, and very sticky--impossible to serve on a humid day or with any cookies that contained moisture.

So it took me awhile to get around to them, because they just didn't seem that appealing.

It was only after I made them that I had my Aha! troubleshooting moment.

This recipe calls, very specifically, for quick-cooking rolled oats. But Miranda must have thought they weren't healthy, or maybe high-toned enough, and she substituted old-fashioned rolled oats. What she didn't realize is that quick-cooking oats (which are merely oats that have been roughed up a bit in a grinder) have a much greater binding capacity, and in this very thin cookie are the only thing that can help it maintain its integrity without falling apart. And because the oats have absorbed the moisture they're supposed to, the cookie also doesn't get sticky. Hooray for quick-cooking rolled oats!

This is one of those cookies that spreads out a lot.

A silpat pan liner is a necessity. And just to be on the safe side for the stickiness factor, I sandwiched these between little squares of wax paper.


Got time to kill? Want to make a thousand or so cookies? Swedish Ginger Thins are the cookies for you.

And folks, I'm almost done (2 more recipes left!) with the Cookies chapter, and I've made a lot of cookies in my life aside from this little venture, and I'm here to tell you this recipe surprised me.

Why? Because you beat heavy cream until it has stiff peaks, and then beat the whipped cream gently into your butter/sugar along with some corn syrup.


I have NO IDEA what this accomplishes, since then you beat in the flour, baking soda and spices, form the whole thing into a disc, and stick it in the fridge for two hours. Obviously there's no mousse-like activity going on here--nothing fluffy about it. The only thing I can come up with is that some Swedish grandma wanted to keep her grandkids out of trouble and made them beat the cream until it was whipped, which takes a long time by hand, and thus a tradition was born.

So you roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to make shapes, and if you like press a little almond in the middle.

The cookies get baked in a 400 oven for about six minutes. Don't forget to set the timer--they burn faster than you can say "where's MY bonus?".

This is more of what you're going for:

And I seriously was not exaggerating when I said this recipe makes a thousand or so cookies--I was rolling and cutting and rolling and cutting and saying MY GOD WILL THIS NEVER END? Not even counting the cookies I (accidentally) burned this is how many I came up with:

And still, I had more dough--about a fist-sized lump! I threw it in the trash. Shhhhhh.


Adam said...

What did you think of the oat lace cookies? I didn't really like them. I though that they were more like a candy than a cookie. I also thought that they were way too buttery (read: greasy).

I'll have to make a note in my book to cut the Swedish recipe in half or risk being buried in an avalanche of cookies.

Georgia (Milo & Nutella) said...

You are super busy! Have you seen this slideshow: http://www.bonappetit.com/tipstools/slideshows/2008/12/blog_envy?showall=true?

Melissa Bach Palladino said...

Adam, I though they were OK--I won't be rushing to make them again (and yes, oddly buttery!)

Georgia, no, I hadn't seen it! Blog envy indeed--I wish my blog were on that list!