How to stealth bake for Christmas

24 Dec

Christmas baking in a small apartment is always tricky with a toddler around.  There usually isn’t enough room to roll out dough, cut dough, cool cookies and stuff.  To make it efficient, one would require a lot of space to set up a production line and no distractions.  I definitely don’t have the first and the second is tricky and the only time I have is when bubs is asleep.  I’ve tried baking while he’s awake and let’s just say that at every step of the way, he’s stuck a salivary finger in.

Bearing in mind that rolling out dough requires space and tends to slow one down with all the labor, I started my search for an easy way to make cookies.  All those crinkle cookies started appearing all over the shop, looking so tempting.  So it goes without saying that I would have to have a shot at them.

The night before the planned baking day, I started putting the dough together.  This went into the fridge overnight to harden and allow for manipulation the next day.  Then the big day came with bubs falling asleep very quickly.  How convenient!  But it meant I had to work fast!  I lay out the baking paper on the baking tray and placed the dough balls at the requisite 2 inches apart.  It could only take 12 balls!  Eek!  That meant that I had to work really really fast to get everything out of sight by the time bubs rose from his sleep.

The first tray went in.  I went on making balls, putting them on another sheet of baking paper so I could just quickly transfer them onto the tray once it came out of the oven.  But the 1st tray of cookies were a disaster.  It wasn’t a disaster in terms of taste.  It wasn’t burnt.  But it was really ugly!  I nearly got just 1 entire sheet of cookie!  I was very generous making my 1inch diameter dough balls.  No where online was it stated (I do research various blogs quite a bit before I launch into something new) that the cookie would end up THREE times  the original diameter!  Also, after the initial 10 minutes of baking, I found that the cookies seemed to be quite molten and ended up baking for another 10 minutes.  MISTAKE!  The cookies ended up still slightly molten but cooled to a crisp.  Yet again, my inexperience shone through.  But I had lots of dough left!

Armed with the knowledge I garnered from my first tray, I soldiered on.  I made the balls a lot smaller – about 2.5 cm across.  I ditched rolling the dough in sugar as it was already very sweet with me cutting down on the sugar prior to that.  Furthermore, I didn’t actually have any powdered sugar which was required to have that contrast with the usual crinkle cookies.  The cracks still showed up although not as dramatically.  I also continued to make the balls and lay them out on a plate, cutting the total time I spent on making these cookies.  Another time saving trick?  Since the dough actually melts into a puddle which is your cookie, I didn’t bother making the balls evenly round.

So did I manage to get everything done before bubs was up?  Surprisingly, yes.  I even got them all packed into a cookie jar, ready to be given away as a present.  Which goes to show, good planning does make for success and now I just need to know how to keep bub’s hands out of the jar.  His snail has already beaten him to them…

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Crinkle cookies

Adapted from Bakers Royale

Makes 48 cookies

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup plus 2 levelled tbs all purpose flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

0.5 tsp salt

110g semi-sweet chocolate, melted

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

50g butter, melted and warm

2 tbs honey

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1.5 tsp peppermint extract

Method

  1. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix the sugar, oil, butter and honey to blend.
  3. Mix in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla and peppermint extract.
  4. Mix in the melted chocolate.
  5. Add the dry ingredients from step one and stir until well mixed.
  6. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for several hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  8. Roll dough into balls of about 2.5cm in diameter and place on baking paper 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes.

Tips

  1. Refer to this post on how to melt chocolate.
  2. I hand mixed all the ingredients in this recipe and the results were great.
  3. The dough can be rather hard straight out of the fridge.  It may do well to take it out for a short while before handling.  Depending on the temperature of your room, you may want to work in batches.  I found that I didn’t have to do so.  The temperature was probably about 20 degrees at the most.
  4. To make the dough balls fast and approximately the same size, I used a table spoon to approximate the amount of dough required.  If you have a melon scoop and want to make small cookies, you could use that too.  Don’t bother to get perfect crack free spheres as this doesn’t have any bearing on how the cookies eventually turn out.
  5. What ever the size of the balls you make, just bear in mind that the cookies will turn out 3 times the original diameter and leave enough room in between each cookie.
  6. The cookie doesn’t actually cook to a firm finish.  It actually is slightly “lava” in consistency, being liquid under a slightly crisp crust.  I found that the timing for a slightly chewy cookie was obtained by baking until the cookies start to crack on the surface.  If the dough hasn’t cracked, it isn’t baked enough.  If the cookies come out slightly under baked, you can still salvage it by leaving it to cool (it firms up for handling) and then popping them into the oven again.
  7. The cookies actually deflate after coming out of the oven.  But you are on the right track!
  8. The cookies keep in an airtight jar for a week.
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8 Responses to “How to stealth bake for Christmas”

  1. geenanana December 25, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    thank you for the tips! much appreciated!

    I recently started to make “fridge” cookies and have learned, like you from the trial and error method to make delicious cookies!

  2. sara December 26, 2010 at 3:48 am #

    Mmmm, these cookies sound delicious even if they were a bit tricky. Yum!

  3. theordinarycook December 27, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    I love this tale. Poor Bubs missing out on cooking though. A few fingers dipped in always adds a little something I think 🙂

    • The Accidental Weekend Chef December 27, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

      It does add to it but I doubt my friends would appreciate it! LOL! He got to play with his playdough anyhow and “baked” his own cookies!

  4. ButterYum December 27, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    What a funny read. I remember the days when I had to sneak projects in while the kids were napping. They grow so very fast.

    🙂
    ButterYum

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 2010 in review « The Accidental Weekend Chef - January 7, 2011

    […] How to stealth bake for Christmas December 2010 7 comments 3 […]

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