Tuesday, December 8, 2009

TWD: Sables

You know who I hate? Those people who make things that turn out exactly the way they're supposed to. You know who I'm talking about... those punks in your 2nd grade class who had perfect penmanship. Then in middle school they were your classmates who's science projects always looked like they were manufactured in China and purchased at Wal-Mart or something.

I have never been one of those people. My house is always a little cluttered. My fridge always has something old and growing mold on it. My handwriting is always illegible. Despite that, I always hope for change. I always hope that my extreme jealously of those people will translate into magically turning into one of them.

This recipe sadly wasn't the magical switch into perfection that I was hoping for.

It started off awesome. I laid out my egg yolks and butter in advance, I strapped on my apron and got all ready to prepare some perfectly round and beautiful sables. I followed the recipe to the letter and when it was time to dump all the contents of the bowl out onto a surface to roll into a log, my hopes for perfection crumbled.

Literally. What I dumped onto my counter was a mess of dry crumbles. What the hell? Like, there seriously wasn't anywhere near enough moisture in my dough for the dough to stick together. Did that stop me from trying? Hells no. I wrapped that saran wrap tightly around that dough, willing it to come together in some sort of semblance of a log. And by damn if I didn't get it all mashed up together. Pleased with myself and otherwise in denial about the fact that putting the log into the fridge all mashed together into a log, didn't actually make my dough moist enough to actually be a log, I went about my business for the rest of the day.

The next day, I donned my apron again, preheated my oven and pulled the log out of the fridge. I carefully unrolled it and immediately one end cracked off. Trying to stay positive I just said to myself... Perfect! That's the perfect amount to bake up today! (I wanted to save the rest of the dough for later in the month). I brushed the sides with egg yolk and rolled it in bright pink sugar. And then it was time to cut the dough into perfect little slices. And this is where all hell broke loose.

Instead of slices I ended up with little piles of crumbles. My cookie sheet looked like a sable massacre. I tried to mold the crumbles into round slices, but it just wasn't happening. The dough was just too dry.

I baked those cookies off anyway... again.. thinking that magically they'd go in the oven looking like blue cheese crumbles but come out as perfect thick slices. And again... I was wrong.

The only solution I could think of... was to add some water to the dough, reshape it into a log and let it chill again. So, I did that. I added probably 2 tbsp of water before it finally came together, rolled it into another perfect log and let it chill for a couple of hours.

This second time around I was convinced I was going to succeed. Nothing stopping me now, right? I sliced the cookies and they sliced okay... a little crumbly, but significantly better. Popped them in the oven and then spent the next 10 minutes trying to think of a cute ways to display them for a pretty picture for my blog.

And then I pulled them out of the oven and screamed. They looked awful. Spread out, too brown on the edges, it was like this recipe was just not meant to be for me. Oh well.

They still tasted good, but too bad I can't serve them to anyone except family. Ugh. So, if you're one of those people who's cookies always turn out perfect then have at it, this recipe is right up your alley. But,  if you're like me... don't make these cookies expecting to take them somewhere. (Even though they are delicious!!!!!).

Recipe by Dorie Greenspan
Chosen for Tuesdays with Dorie by Barbara of Bungalow Barbara

So, yeah, I had a bit of a time with these. Despite the fact that they come together super easy, require little ingredients and little fuss, mine still didn't turn out. I do plan on trying again at some point though, because they are just delicious to shy away from... but next time, I'll make sure my dough is moist enough to mold into a log the first time around and I might actually cut the cookies and then freeze them individually cut (sans the egg yolk and sugar) and bake them off straight from the freezer. Maybe they'll hold their shape better that way?

Don't let my problems with the recipe scare you off. They may not turn out aesthetically pleasing, but they are palate pleasing (and isn't that what really matters?). Besides, sugar cookies and slice and bake cookies generally give me trouble.


Stephanie said...

I'm sorry you had so much trouble with this recipe. I'm glad you will be giving them a second chance though.

chocolatechic said...

I'm so sorry for you, but I just had to laugh at your story.

PS I won awards for my handwriting in 2nd grade

KateGladstone said...

You could always decide to use your recipe for sable as a recipe for cake topping.

I shared your experiences with illegible handwriting, imperfectly made school projects, and much else that left my schoolteachers describing me (to the rest of the class) as "subhuman" and asking me (again, in front of the class to "please somehow become more like the REAL kids."
In my case, the handwriting difficulty (and much else) eventually turned out to come from inherited poor motor control (dyspraxia) that resulted from some neurological disorders they found I had always had. Unfortunately, this diagnosis doesn't come with a treatment. (As far as the handwriting issues, though, I did eventually create a handwriting teaching approach that even I could follow well enough that some hospitals have me teach handwriting improvement classes for the MDs. From one impeded handwriter to another -- what I created is now available as an iPhone app, and you may also enjoy my web-site: see below for links.)

Kate Gladstone
Founder and CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works handwriting improvement service -- http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com (site also hosts the World Handwriting Contest, which I direct)
Co-creator and content provider, Better Letters (the personal handwriting trainer app for the iPhone and iPodTouch) -- demo video at http://bit.ly/BetterLettersVideo -- further information (and download link) at http://bit.ly/BetterLetters

Anonymous said...

Yes and yes to the first two paragraphs.

Teanna said...

Hahaha I had a tough time with these cookies too! You were so persistent in making them work, though! And I'm sure they tasted great!

Tia said...

pink makes everything better! as in cute pink sprinkles! :)

Engineer Baker said...

Yeah, um... my handwriting sucks :) But as long as the cookies taste good, the appearance is just a good reason to hoard them for yourself!

Unknown said...

Your so cute and I loved your story. Your perfect just the way you are! I love that you kept trying and you enjoyed the flavor even if the procss pissed you off!

Bungalow Barbara said...

Thank you for baking along with me this week!

I'm so sorry these didn't work out for you. At least they tasted good.

Next time maybe it would help to use a little less flour.

Anonymous said...

Bummer! My first pan of these did sort of the same thing, but the next one turned out better. I think a lot of people had the same problem with the World Peace cookies, but I can't remember if there was a solution for the crumbling.