Saturday, August 8, 2009

Baking in Iowa

In the mail today I received a surprise: a Jessica Steele apron! (thanks mom!)

I took this moment of retro-cooking inspiration to break out one of my new wedding gifts: a Cookie Press and Decorating Kit.

The kit even came with a recipe. It was all seemingly so simple. Mix a TON of butter with a bit of sugar, an egg and some flour. Throw in a few spices and voilĂ  - beautiful and delicious spritz cookies full of buttery deliciousness.

Please note: these are NOT my cookies, they are the creation of High Altitude Gardening. Incidentally, this cookie recipe requires no adjustments even when baking at high altitude. They are THAT straightforward to make.

I started out with intentions to bake a chocolate version of this cookie. Lacking powdered cocoa, I opted for the vanilla version. Realizing I didn't have vanilla essence, I got creative. We just moved to Iowa so my cupboard is a little barren these days. However, I did plan ahead and packed some more exotic ingredients I thought might be lacking in the Great Midwest. My final version was flavored with orange blossom water, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice and ginger. The batter alone was delicious. However, as soon as I packed in the very simply designed cookie press with batter, I realized that spritz cookies are not as easy as they look. Batter alternatively poured out the nozzle or stuck to the press. Every 12th cookie looked half-way respectable. I realized the hard way that cookies made with 50% butter should not bake on non-stick or oiled surfaces (they just flatten out and bubble.)

Two batches of flattened, and oddly-mishappen cookies later, I finally had enough half-way decent cookies to pack up as gifts. There's no better way to make new friends than to bribe them with butter and sugar!


p.s. Despite looking a little funny, the orange blossom cookies were DELISH!!!

Images lifted from and