That's right, I'm not making Creme Brulee, which was chosen byMari of Mevrouw Cupcake.
Not because I lack a butane torch – I have one. And I know how to use it.
And since I haven't been with TWD since the very, very beginning, that's where I went. Back to the very, very beginning. That first recipe was the Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread, which, if you have the book, can be found on page 127 in Dorie's Baking: From My Home to Yours. If you don't have the book…well, you have my deepest sympathy.
And also, I realize I'm posting relatively late in the day. Sorry. I blamed Scratchy earlier, but he really didn't cause the lateness. He's just a cute excuse.
So is this guy.
My sous chef - Alex. He didn't have school today, so I told him he could either make cookies with me or he could clean the bathrooms and wash the floors and polish the silver. He elected to make the cookie dough.
So here we go. First thing we did was to grind the pecans.
Alex scooped pecans into my lovely pink KA food processor
(Sorry about his blurriness – he is in motion 97% of his waking hours, and I don't like to use the flash. So if he's looking blurry, it's because he is nearly incapable of holding still.)
and I even let him press the "pulse" button.
Next task – to sift together the dry ingredients – the flour, the corn starch, the salt, and a pinch of ground cloves.
First the flour.
I also like to incorporate practical math when I'm baking with Alex. So I told him the recipe called for one and a half cups of flour. I asked him how many halves in "one," and he answered "two," and so I asked how many halves in "one and a half" and he said "three." Class dismissed.
Precision is very important in baking, right Alex?
Once we've got the other ingredients in there with the flour…
It's time to sift them together into a bowl.
He also helped measure out the brown sugar, but I didn't get any photos of that. I was too busy slapping his hand away from it.
So once we had everything measured, it was time to put everything together.
First the softened butter…
And then the brown sugar…
The butter and sugar are beaten for about three minutes and Alex spends that time making faces.
Now it's time to add our sifted-together dry ingredients.
And the ground pecans.
We mix the wet and dry and nuts until just combined.
And then you
HEY! Scratchy IS trying to sabotage our efforts today!
Yes, Scratchy kept playing with the dangling ties from Alex's apron. Very disruptive. But very entertaining.
Anyway, next thing we did was to put our dough into a gallon size zipper top bag…
pressed it into the corners, and
press the dough so it flattens and fills the bag (don't close the top yet) and try not to let the bag wrinkle while you're doing it.
Seal the top and put the bag – keep it flat – into the fridge. Dorie says it can stay in the refrigerator for anywhere from 2 hours to 2 day. I went with the two hours, just so I could get this posted while it was still Tuesday.
So. Let's pretend a couple of hours have gone by. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take the dough out of the fridge and unzip the top and carefully slit the sides so you can peel one side off the dough.
Flip the square of dough over onto your work surface, toss the bag, and mark off the edges of the dough in 1 1/2 inch increments.
Connect the lines and then slice into squares.
Try not to let anyone touch the edge of the dough with their little fingers. Kind of ruins the sharp edges. I can't imagine who might have done that….
Carefully place the cookies on two parchment-lined baking sheets, and, per Dorie, mark each square by poking (my word, not hers) with the tines of a fork. Twice.
Now. The SMART thing to do at this point is to pop the baking sheets back in the fridge so the butter in the dough can firm up again. I opted to do the NOT SMART thing and just put the pans right in my oven. The pans with the softened, no-longer-cold shortbread dough. Not. Smart. At. All. And I know better. I really do. But I ignored the voice of my inner smart person and listened, instead, to the hungry yowling of my children. Into the oven went the lovely, crisp-edged, fork-tine-poked cookie dough squares…
and out came my melted-butter, slightly greasy, ever-so-faintly dotted cookie blobs.
I had more pecans. I could have made them again. I could have listened to my inner smart person. But I didn't. Because even though they weren't pretty, or the right texture (soft and crumbly) for a shortbread (mine are rather crispy), they were the cookies I baked today, and you know what? Sometimes in life, you produce crisp cookies when they should have been crumbly. And you just have to make the best of it.
So I let them cool for a bit while I cleared some space
in my studio on the counter beside the sink, and I started to take some pictures.
And then I remembered that Dorie said these would make a nice accompaniment to ice cream. And hey – I just happened to have some. And it's PUMPKIN ice cream! That should liven things up a bit.
Yum. That looks pretty good.
But it could look yummier, I bet.
Pumpkin ice cream sandwiched between some Brown-Sugar Pecan Shortbread.
Not bad at all.
Now that you've suffered through my long and winding story, you should definitely head over to the Tuesdays with Dorie site and check out what all the other gazillion members did this week. Creme Brulee? Or something else?