Cookie Monster!

December 24, 2015

Yummy little caramel sandwich cookies -- alfajores.

Yummy little caramel sandwich cookies — alfajores.

Sweet Baby Jesus, he’p me. I am plumb cookie’d out.

And I still sorta-kinda have two more cookie recipes I intended (the road to hell being paved with good intentions, don’t’cha know) to try out, and may yet, but it’s looking doubtful. I did, however, manage another recipe of bacon fat gingersnaps, and one of an Argentinian sandwich cookie, alfajores.

Note to the gingersnaps recipe. I went with a half-cup of bacon fat and a quarter-cup of butter, and upped the ginger to 2.5 tsp. I might go as high as 3 tsp, but I could tell no appreciable difference in the taste by subbing part of the bacon fat for butter.

Damn, I love those cookies.

I think I am also going to be right fond of alfajores, though they’re a bit fussier than I’m interested in working with on a daily basis. (Who am I kidding? I’m NEVER going to make cookies on a daily basis. In large part because I would eat them.) But these spurred me to, for the first time ever, try the standard trick of creating caramel by simmering an unopened can of condensed milk in water for two hours or more.

Y’know what? That stuff works. It really does make caramel.

And I used about 3/4 of a can of it making these sandwich cookies.

The recipe is here. I found it on a Food 52 assemblage of cookies from around the world (and you know I’m a sucker for collections like that), and thought it looked simple enough. And really, it is.

Cookie construction

Cookie construction

I doubled-plus-a-little bit the recipe, because I wasn’t going to get dishes and utensils dirty for 12 cookies. Who does that? And as the recipe called for 7 tbsp of butter, I did major math and determined how much I’d need to increase everything else if I just said hell with it and used two sticks of butter.

This is, as one of my friends referred to it, butter season. I’ve lost track of how much butter I’ve bought, and used, in the past month and a half. I probably don’t want to know. I do know I’ve purchased nine pounds in the past week, because I found it on sale once, and then found it on a better sale the next time. You can freeze that stuff, y’know. And I’ve bought lots of cream cheese, too.

Anyway, back to the cookies. You mix butter and powdered sugar and flour and cornstarch into a thick dough, which you then refrigerate. For 30 minutes, the recipe says.

Now, I have made a lot of cookies in my day, and I’ve never seen a recipe that, if it said refrigerate for 30 minutes, meant that as anything other than a minimum. The bacon fat gingersnap dough, as an example, says refrigerate from 2 hours to 2 weeks.

So I stuck the alfajores dough in the fridge, wrapped in plastic, and went off to get other stuff done. Fetched it back out two or three hours later, to find it the approximate consistency of the stone with which David slew Goliath. I’m tellin’ ya. That stuff was SOLID.

“H’mmmm,” I said. “Self? We may have effed up here.” And self looked at me incredulously and said, “Surely not.”

Taking Self at her word, I left the dough on the counter for 30 minutes. Little change. Figuring nothing ventured, nothing gained, I took half of it, wrapped it in waxed paper, and nuked it for 15 seconds. That limbered things up a bit.

Using an 1 1/2 inch cookie cutter instead of the called-for 2-inch, with the doubled recipe, I wound up with 3 dozen cookies. It rolled out easier than I’d thought it might. I cut out the cookies, baked them until they were barely starting to brown, as directed, and let them cool. Then I commenced assembling sandwiches.

These are cute. They’re tasty. I don’t know that I’d call them tasty enough to go to all the trouble again, but they’re not to be sneezed at.  I did not waste my time.

Still on my cookie list are Nigerian coconut crisps, and Greek sesame twists. They may get made; they may not. Because I still have three batches of fudge, toffee, and a couple of batches of flavored pecans to do.

And I still haven’t wrapped a present. And there’s housecleaning yet to do. Ahhh, Christmas. If it gets done, it gets done; if not, it doesn’t.

And, to be serious for a moment, it really doesn’t matter whether it gets done or not. What matters is that I, and all the rest of us, take the time to stop, be thankful for all we have, embrace the friends and family with whom we’re sharing the holiday, and spread the joy and peace of the one whose birthday we’re celebrating.

I may or may not post again before then. If not, you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em have a most merry one.



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