The last few weeks have resulted in some humbling experiences for me and I'm starting to believe that the adage "Use it or lose it" is true.
The day before I left to visit my girlfriends, I decided to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Making the dough was my first problem. I thought I had checked the pantry to make sure we had all the ingredients, but I "assumed" we had the basics, like baking soda, vanilla. Helloooo? doesn't anyone cook in this kitchen anymore?? Naturally, this required a quick trip to the grocery store (sidetracked by a stop at Bealls).
Okay, got the dough mixed up and put the first batch in the oven. I haven't baked in this oven much (no kidding, no vanilla?? no baking soda??), and I should have set the timer earlier and checked on them...so the first batch was over baked (not burned, just very brown).
I adjusted the timer for the next batch, and 10 short minutes later...oops, those were too brown too.
At this point TanMan is watching me and trying not to say something. I can tell he is annoyed that I am ruining a good cookie. I say nothing, he eats the dark ones, and I successfully bake two trays of cookies.
Last batch - you got it - I forgot to set the timer and actually burned those (not dark brown, not over baked...burned).
Luckily, I had enough to take to the girls and I left the bad ones for TanMan to eat when I was gone.
I am kind of stubborn and needed to prove to myself that I haven't lost it, so when I returned, I decided to make my favorite biscotti recipe. This time I made sure I had all of the ingredients before I started (see, I do learn from my mistakes...) I put the almonds on a baking sheet to toast them up, I know they tend to burn easily, so I checked them. Decided they needed to be stirred a little, so I was taking out the baking sheet, and hit the top of the oven, and spilled about 1/2 cup of almonds on the bottom of the oven. Oops...they started to burn and I tried to scrape them out using a wooden spatula (which now has a nice, dark, edge to it).
The recipe said there is a a variation that adds almond extract to the dough. Half way through the mixing, I wondered if maybe I used to make it that way??? still can't remember if I did or not...didn't have any in the pantry (no surprise there...), so it would have to do with just vanilla. Spread the dough on the baking sheets, noticing that they really were spreading out, more than normal. I put them in the oven and picked up the recipe to check on the baking time. I guess I should have been wearing my reading glasses when I added the ingredients, I misread the quantity of flour, and left out 1/2 cup. I guess that could explain why there were spreading too much??
I pulled out the baking sheets, and reshaped them a little since they had started to bake up, making them a little more normal in size. At least I didn't burn them - in the first or second baking. Finally a success!