Baking Blogger SOS!

21 Apr

It all started years ago when I became OBSESSED with my first blog – Bake at 350.

Um, hello…God Save The Queen.

I was new at cooking, working full time, and we were in the process of buying our house.  So, unfortunately my creative baking endeavors had to be pushed to the back-burner.  This was mainly due to the fact that I am incapable of baking a sugar cookie.  If I had been any good at it, I’m sure she♥ would have encouraged MORE encouragement and LESS evasion.

I tried a few additional times, but they were all failures.  How disheartening.  It is probably easier to watch someone do it so you can trouble-shoot more effectively, but I don’t have that opportunity.

Here is the debacle that happened last night.  Perhaps some sympathetic reader could explain where I went wrong…

I used Bridget’s Sugar Cookie Recipe from Bake at 350° (it seems simple enough):

First, I lined my pan with this weird fusion of parchment paper and tin foil (They sell it now?  I’m not really sure what the point is or what its useful for.)

The cookies never made it this far, so I will have to let you know how the lining paper works out a different day.

So, then following Bridget’s recipe, I combined 3 cups of unbleached flour and 2 tsp. of baking powder in a bowl.

Great.  Like, who could mess that step up, right?

So then she says to combine 2 sticks of cubed, UNSALTED butter and 1 cup of sugar.

Then, I creamed them.  Like on the “Stir” and low settings.

This might be where things went salty, so to speak.  I’m really not sure what “creamed” looks like.

This is what I ended up with (I tried to get a detailed close-up photo).

¿Yo no se?

So then, I added 1 egg along with the extracts which the recipe required.

Then she says to gradually add the flour mixture in (which I know I did correctly because I am capable/have been capable in the past of doing this step).

She says, the mixture should be crumbly, so knead it into a ball and turn it onto a floured surface.

Cool.

My dough looks crumbly, I think?

Except this crumbly dough didn’t form into a ball.  Not at all.  And certainly not one I could knead and roll out.

In fact, I tried to roll it out as best I could and it was clearly in no shape to be cut into shapes.

Here is a run-down in my head as this progressed, since I can’t take video footage from my brain:

HELP!  This is a baking-blogger S.O.S.!!!

Can anyone tell, just by looking at the dough, where I went wrong?

I cannot for the life of me complete a decent sugar cookie recipe.

(I realize I could Google this, but you know how that goes.  I’d rather go right to the experts.)

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6 Responses to “Baking Blogger SOS!”

  1. Mike Beattie April 21, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    I’m a little skeptical of the cold butter. That’s typically something you do when you’re making something that is supposed to be flaky (e.g., pie dough, biscuits, etc.). Given that she specifically suggested it, that may be what the recipe is looking for.

    Assuming that’s the case, I would treat the dough like a pie crust. Gather into a ball, wrap it tightly in saran wrap, and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Then take it out, let it warm up a little, and roll it out. I suspect the time in the fridge will give the dough a chance to more evenly hydrate, and you’ll end up with something much more consistent.

    If that doesn’t work, then you can probably just add a few _drops_ of water. That will make the resulting dough a little bit more tough, but so does continuing to work with.

    …or you could take the easy route and try it with softened butter like every other cookie recipe.

    • SOLEfortheSoul April 21, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

      Mike, seriously I got your tweet earlier and was so grateful for the advice. You are so helpful!! Thank you so much 🙂 I will be attempting again tomorrow with your advice, wish me luck!

  2. Brittany April 21, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Gah!! No bueno! I don’t necessarily know what went wrong, but I always melt my fat addition (butter for you, I usually use coconut oil instead) to avoid any mixing problems. I find that when it’s in a liquid form it just molds together better! I hope you can figure out what went wrong!! Adding a little water might help too..anything to give the dough something more to bind to! Good luck!

    • SOLEfortheSoul April 21, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

      Ooooh, if I was going to do a coconut oil substitute – how would I do that and what would be the benefits? I’ve heard nothing but good things about it!

  3. Amy April 21, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    This recipe seems weird. Most call for unsalted butter. When you cream sugar and butter together, room temperature butter works best. I think using cold butter made your sugar, butter combo look grainy, not smooth. Also with a kitchen aid stand mixer I cream butter sugar on on middle speed, maybe 6. Just my thoughts.

    • SOLEfortheSoul April 21, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

      Thanks Amy, the dough was very grainy before I added the flour. I’m glad that was able to show up in the picture. And if our Kitchen Aids are similar, my setting was WAY too low. (I think I was nervous to over-cream it!)

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