February 6, 2011

A Baking Challenge - FAIL!

A group of my girlfriends and I are taking part in a Woman of the Year Challenge. We're doing a monthly challenge together, keeping score, and at the end of the year, we will name a Woman of the Year. We're trying to find out who is the best all around woman. Now, no mean comments or anything, this is all in good fun. We're making new friends, laughing A LOT!, getting out more often with the girls, and trying things that put some of us out of our comfort zone.
Our first challenge was a Dave & Buster's Ticket Challenge. With $2o bucks, how many tickets could you win. And no secretly re-loading your card!

Our second challenge was a cookie baking challenge. Some of the girls were doing test runs, really putting a ton of effort in to this challenge. I chose what I was going to make the night before the big event. And I chose a cookie I've never made before. Risky, yes. Did it pay off? HELL NO! I came in second to last.

I have to say, I don't think it was the cookie's fault for placing poorly, it was a GOOD cookie. But the competition was tough - Andes mint cookies, peanut butter balls, meringue, maple white chocolate chip. No wonder I placed near the bottom.

But, my cookie loss turned in to triumph at the office the next day when everyone raved about them at work!

Silly husband judges, not understanding the flavor combination of sweet and salty.

I got this recipe from Simply Recipes for Butterscotch Cookies. They were really quite easy to make (a prerequisite for all of my cookie making endeavors!), tasty, and had that wonderful combo of sweet and salty.

I do think mine cooked a little too long - could be I was the last cookie in the oven at the night and it was too hot or that I went too long on the time. I will certainly adjust that next time I made these - and there will be a next time - they were really good!!

(Please note, apparently my pink heart doilies made no
difference to the judges....)

Butterscotch Cookies
From Simply Recipes via guest cook Garrett McCord

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized slices (I diced my butter, I found it easier to work with)
1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Sugar Dredging Mixture
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
Fleur de sel, Maldon, sea salt, or Kosher salt for sprinkling * I used Kosher salt and that worked out just fine!

1 Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside. Mix together the sugar dredging mixture in another bowl and set aside.
2 Place 10 tablespoons of butter into a thick-bottomed skillet over medium heat. The butter will foam a bit before subsiding. Once the butter takes on a tan color and begins to smell nutty take it off of the heat. Add the other two tablespoons of butter and mix it in until it melts.

3 Pour the brown butter into a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the brown sugar and salt and mix. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix together, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl at least once. Add the flour mixture in three increments being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom once or twice. Mix just until the flour is incorporated. The dough will be very thick.

4 Take 1/2 to full tablespoon-sized pieces of dough (you can make them a bit bigger or smaller to your liking, just make sure the pieces of dough are all the same size) and gently roll them into ball shapes. Dredge them in the sugar dredging mixture until well-coated. Place on the baking sheet and sprinkle with a little bit of the sprinkling salt (be reserved with the salt as very little goes a long way).

5 Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges have browned a bit. Be careful not to over-bake. Allow to cool on the sheet for one minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Tastes best with a glass of milk for dipping (THAT IT DOES!!!)

Makes 4 dozen

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