12.29.2004

Cookies, Frankie and Decorations

More cookies! During the past holiday, Frankie decorated cookies with Mom (kind of) and showed amazing potential. Trish finished 'em off (2nd image).

The cookies were heavenly. Flour was used merely as a support for butter and sugar in this rendition of the sugar cookie. These were the most delicate sugar cookies I have ever had (I think it was from the Cooks' Illustrated Baking Book). Then, they were decorated quite festively. Christmas this year was food, food and more food.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was from the Mrs. Field's Cookie book. Not my favorite book, but the dough was easy to handle and the cookies were surprisingly sturdy despite their delicacy. -Clam

Anonymous said...

OH thank goodness. Cook's Illustrated makes my skin crawl. Indecisive nitwits exuding stupid and/or misinformation ... grrrrr.

Biggles / http://www.meathenge.com/

dave said...

I like CI, they work pretty hard to justify steps in their recipes.

Anonymous said...

OH poo.

They work hard at being nitwits. I've had a subscription to their rag for two years now and have been watching the show longer than that, I dunno how long though.
I've easily noticed so many contractictory information I've lost count. Plus just plain misleading information, such as:

Nearly the first issue I received had a featured article about grilling. Their grilling expert didn't like charcoal fired pits (such as yours pally boy) because the lid imparts a bitter flavor (creosote, which is created from poor fire management, his fault). Even IF the lid imparted a bitter flavor, CLEAN IT AND REASON IT YOU IDIOT !!!! So he really wanted us all to use gas fired pits. Yuck.

Many of the steps & procedures & epiphanies both from the show and the magazine can be found in print from the 1950's in James Beard's books and most others on up through the years.
One article in the rag went on about knives. The cooks illustrated staff were actually baffled as to why their cooks knives wheren't slicing large hams and roasts and turkeys well. So, they did their CI schtick and got to work. They figured out they should have been using a SLICER type knife. Sigh. Gee, no kidding eh?
Another article reviewing kitchen scrubbies? Are you kidding ?!??!?
And a semi-recent featured article wherein they test multiple non-stick pans versus stainless pans and find that there is NO difference as to the fond produced by each. It's bull crap because on the show you'll find nearly every episode Kimball's way hot blonde chefs are consistently talking about the great fond of stainless, cast iron and solid copper tin-lined cookware. Keeripes, non-stick. I got one non-stick and use it for scrambled eggs.
Sure they have 'some' useful information, but as soon as anyone who is new to cooking and start READING BOOKS they'll find how much they could have learned by NOT watching or reading CI.
That being said, their Mile-High buttermilk biscuit recipe is wonderful and his choice in blonde chef's is spot on.
I am not renewing my subscription.

Biggles / http://www.meathenge.com/

Anonymous said...

It depends on what you want. I have been wildly successful with CI's Baking compendium, but have yet to have a Beard recipe turn out as I had hoped. Sure CI says some stupid things, especially with regard to grilling, but every cookbook trips up now and again. Using CI's Baking book I have finally figured out how to bake a cheesecake that doesn't crack. My apple crisp is now crisp. Their cakes are foolproof - did you know you don't have to beat the egg whites separately and fold them in at the end? - the chocolate pudding cake is to die for, brownies go together in about 5 minutes... I love this book.

What I find most helpful are the detailed reasons why the recipes are put together as they are. This prevents me from taking creative shortcuts that produce less-than-optimal results. I have noted that some of the CI recipes are very similar to other published recipes (the cakes, for example, are very much like Beranbaum's, and the muffins are straight out of Better Homes and Gardens), but I think this is more a function of what happens when you test a recipe out the wazoo, rather than anything sneaky or underhanded that CI is doing.

My biggest complaint with CI is that they use volumetric measures instead of mass. So I cook with a calculator.

-Clam

Anonymous said...

Yeah I suppose, they still make my skin crawl. But that's my trip, I can deal with that.

See, I'm lucky. My wife is a real baker, so she does all that stuff. She's got it all in her head. She does with baking what I do with meat & gravy.

Biggles / http://www.meathenge.com/

Anonymous said...

I've just stumbled here by accident, but I agree with Biggles. Everything that is so "rigorously tested" in CI can be found in my well-worn and very trusted "Joy of Cooking"--almost verbatim. Just for kicks, compare CI's recipe for chicken pot pie and Joy of Cooking's (new edition) creamed chicken recipe. Remarkably similar. All CI does is take already trusted recipes and use them as components in their recipes. Joy of Cooking's creamed chicken recipe + their buscuit or flakey pastry recipe = CI chicken pot pie. A few minor things are tweaked, but really, why re-invent the wheel? Even I can look at 10 chocolate chip cookie recipes and can tell at a glance which two are worth giving a whirl in the kitchen. CI's jig is up.

Anonymous said...

Like I said, it depends on what you're looking for. I also use Joy of Cooking quite a bit. I even have the first edition -- although that's not the one I use, because it's a little bit tricky figuring out what a "slow" oven is. JoC's recipes run lean. There isn't a lot of extra discussion in there about options/shortcuts. Some CI recipes look like JoC and some don't. I've had some spectacular JoC failures -- totally my fault, I'm sure -- but haven't had the same trouble with CI. Again, because CI has already anticipated what I might try and tells me why it won't work.

Each to his own. -Clam