Baking Contest. Day 1: “How many damn cookies do I have to make?”

Oh hello!

Zero hour is quickly approaching…in 2 days. And by ‘zero hour’ I mean the Whittaker’s and Moore Wilson’s Hero Day baking contest. Because I am a perfectionista, I want everything to go right, taste the best possible, and (if possible) look pretty. So far, I’ve made the tart twice. The second time came out even better than the first time, which is hard to believe, but promising. I’ve been slowly modifying it and tweaking it and making it more delicious.

I think I’ve found the winning combination for the ganache filling…but more on that tomorrow.

Today is all about cookies. Mmmmm chocolate cookies.

Because I don’t half-ass anything, I am making homemade chocolate wafer cookies for the tart crust. Sure, the cookies are just going to be all crumbled up, but that bit of extra love can definitely be tasted. I think so anyway.

These cookies are amazing. They are chocolatey and crispy and just glorious. They would make the most wonderful homemade Thin Mints. [I will be experimenting with that idea at a much later date.]

I’ve adapted the wafer recipe from one of my all-time favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen. Yes, I linked the blog. It’s awesome. It has gotten me through many a tough time. Even when I just go and browse the recipes and dream. So good.

I’ve adapted this Chocolate Wafer recipe in a couple different ways to see which comes out better. I love the flavor of coconut and chocolate. So, while the original recipe calls for butter and whole milk (recipe 1), I changed it so that it has coconut oil and oat milk. I also reduced the amount of sugar from 1 cup and 2 tablespoons to 3/4 of a cup. But, I don’t like things overly sweet. Now, not only is the recipe a tad healthier, it also means eating the raw dough isn’t an issue. How exciting. I’ll include both recipes here, and you can make the choice of which way you want to go: the high road, or the healthy road. Both are delicious, I assure you. And while the ingredients are slightly different, the method is exactly the same. :) Enjoy.

The Original Chocolate Wafer

1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (2.4 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking soda in the bowl. Mix thoroughly. Combine the milk, butter (or coconut oil), and vanilla in a small cup. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix. The dough will stick to the whisk. At this point, use your hands to kneed the dough until it’s all combined and evenly blended.

Form the dough into a log about 14 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in wax paper or foil and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or until needed.

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the log of dough into slices a scant 1/4-inch thick (I went thinner, closer to 1/8 of inch. If you’re trying to emulate the store-bought wafers, slice as thin as you can, and watch the baking time carefully, as it might be less.) and place them one inch apart on the lined sheets (cookies will spread). Bake, rotating the baking sheet from top to bottom and back to front about halfway through baking, for a total of 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies will puff up and deflate; they are done about 1 1/2 minutes after they deflate.

The cookies are the left are the coconut oil ones. The larger ones on the right are the butter ones.  Notice the difference in color.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on racks, or slide the parchment onto racks to cool completely. These cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks or be frozen for up to two months.

Now, I have two confessions to make. One: I made the first batch and said, crap! I forgot the pictures. I made the second batch fully intending to take the pictures, got distracted, didn’t take the pictures, realized and then issued forth a barbaric yawp DAMMIT. After the DAMMIT moment, I made a third batch and took the appropriate pictures. Awesome.

But then, I realized. I am pretty sure I messed up my first three batches of cookies. I did not add enough butter/oil. So they they came out fluffy. For the crust, I will remake them, because I want this tart to be the best it can be. I want to WIN. As the motto of the Self-Defense club stated: “Failure is not an option…it’s a requirement.” No, wait. NO. No failure! We will do it again, over and over, until it’s right (or until I run out of ingredients…whichever comes first). Even if that means upwards of 5 batches. And since I’m already at 3, I’m over halfway there.

Update the first: The cookies that weren’t quite right, were still delicious. They were crispy, but a bit fluffy around the middle. while they could potentially work, I want them to be crispy with a cracker-like quality [or wine biscuit quality, as my kiwi’s say.]

The Butter ones had a fantastic rich chocolate flavor. The Coconut ones weren’t as chocolatey, but had a wonderful (and unexpected) macaroon quality. And, clearly they were ok, since they’re all gone. I also think it’s good that I made 4 batches. the first 3 are for the flatmates, so they will leave the tart-batch alone. So…I’ve decided to include the messed up recipes, since now they are even healthier!

Molly’s messed-up, still delicious (and now healthier) Chocolate Wafer Recipe

1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (2.4 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 to 2/3 cup oat milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method:

Same as above. :)

Update the second: I remade the dough with proper proportions of butter this time. That brings the total batches to 4, for those of you keeping track at home.

Sweet. That’s all for now. Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of this Hero Day extravaganza.

Ciao.

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