Thursday, July 29, 2010

You've got a lot to learn kid...

Thanks to teachings from my sister-in-law Jeanne, I consider myself to be a damn good cookie maker. So much so that my parents have never quite believed that I've made, from scratch, the cookies that I've given them. Well friends, that was in Philadelphia, and sea-level is a whole different animal than living a quarter of a mile up. Sure, it's not the same altitude as Colorado, but it's enough, coupled with a different set of ingredients, to wreck havok on my favorite cookie recipe, iced pumpkin cookies.

This, my friends, is what these cookies look like at sea-level. *These* are delicious in every possible way (especially when served cold and dipped in hot coffee). I fear *these* cookies may not be seen for quite some time...

Things started out fine enough. Above you see our nice little setup including the mixer we brought over with us in February, and our transformer that allows us to use said mixer, as well as countless other appliances with american outlet ends and power efficiences without causing a fire, electocution, or horrendous other maladies...

The batter was made...and tasted just as it did at sea level...

[I may be smiling, but these are not *my* cookies.]

And I put in the first batch. And when they came out, they looked, well, flat. And spongy (not in a good way). And they were difficult to get off the cookie tray. *My* cookies are not flat. *My* cookies are not spongy in the bad way. *My* cookies are not difficult to get off the cookie tray. I tried again, and messed with the temperature and time a little...second batch: horrendous. Completely doughy on the inside. Played with the time and temperature a little the third and fourth batch they were edible, maybe even averagly good, but still not *my* cookies.

And now we get to the icing. I thought that for sure this would be the least of my problems, since it's only confectioners sugar, vanilla, 1 egg, and milk. Well, please say hello to french confectioners sugar which is neither powdery nor light, as I had become accustomed to with American confectioners sugar from Whole Foods. This confectioners sugar (sucre glace) is heavier, grainy-er, and does not dissolve at all into the mixture, causing the cookie to actually be slightly crunchy when it comes to the icing. So now I've got a recipe to re-write. And it needs to take into consideration how fast the cookie rises (since I believe it's safe to say that this batch of cookies collapsed while baking, causing the flatness), different sets of ingredients, and science in general. Luckily I've enlisted the help of my friend Christine, fellow Philadelphian and comic book enthusiast, of Christine and the Big Scary Kitchen. She gave me some tips to change the recipe, and hopefully the next batch will have a tastier result.


  1. Good luck with the baking. I've been having a hard time cooking and baking here too... everything is a little off. I'm hoping eventually (soon) it will all be normal and my kitchen stops betraying me

  2. Good luck to you to! I'll be trying again once my husband eats the rest of these, and when the recipe is finally right I'll post it because they are some delicious cookies when made right! We've had some problems with soups too since we moved from Ferney-Voltaire to Thoiry - they just reduce SO fast you have to add a few cups more broth. If you come across any good hints/tips in the meantime please pass them my way and I'll be sure to do the same!