On bad days…

Three recipes from last week that didn’t turn out as great as I expected them to:
– pull apart bread
– lemon ginger cookies
– sand dollar cookies

I’ve learnt a few things.

The first being this. Your family might be anti-butter and pro-cookies. That is a terrible combination. For the lemon-ginger cookies, I halved the measure for butter. And substituted the other half with milk. The dough looked fine. It even tasted great. The cookies came out wonderful too. But way harder than I had imagined. Now now, they’re not the kind that break teeth, but you know what I mean! A mild disappointment.

Lemon Ginger Cookies

Two, for some silly reason I can’t seem to understand completely, white home-made butter (makkhan) doesn’t work as well as yellow, unsalted butter from the store. I think it’s that buttery smell that makes the difference sometimes. And homes-made butter doesn’t always smell as edible as yellow butter does, even if it’s freshly made.

That brings me to the sand dollars. I used white butter. And my basic sugar cookie recipe. Also, I used two-thirds all purpose flour and a third whole wheat flour. Not as good as my usual sugar cookies – the ones I use for icebox cookies or thumprint cookies and good old naankhatais.

Four, the pull -apart bread was for a rainy day. In the literal sense of the word. Overcast skies. A gloomy drizzle all day long. And 3 hours into having kneaded the dough (all measures double checked), it hadn’t risen. Not by a millimetre. I resorted to a trick my mum suggested. The dose rose sufficiently to aid the baking process. The cilantro-garlic pasta was great tasting too! The bread was only partially cooked after 35 minutes in the oven. I thought I’d let it sit in there for a little longer. 10 minutes later, it was beginning to burn. Pull-apart bread, fail. While the dough tasted alright and the chutney was fantastic, whatever little of the bread that HAD cooked was stone hard. Sigh! Heat break.

Before I put it in the oven...

The one good thing that DID come out of this is a beautiful tip my maternal grandmum left my mum with.
On days when the ambient temperature seem un-co-operative with the yeastm here’s what you do. Heat some water (about an inch in height, assuming the container in which the dough is kept is taller than that) in a pot. When it comes to a boil, turn the heat off and put the pot aside. Let it sit for a minute or so. Cover the container in which you’ve put the dough (to rise) completely, and place it in the water. Let it stay there until the water has come down to room temperature, preferably with the whole apparatus in a dark and relatively warm place. Check on your dough! Magic! 😀 The warm water gives the yeast the temperature it needs to cultivate.

Grandmums are fairies. They come around at the right time in the form of ideas to make cooking easier for you.


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