Bake A Thing Volume 1: Cranberry + White-Chocolate Ginger Cookies
Are you a bumbling baker? A clueless chef? A myopic maker of cookie-type things?
Do you want to make delicious food anyway?
Great! You've come to the right place. Join lyricalred, a reluctant, barely-competent cook (that's me!) on her journey to culinary enlightenment, and learn to bake a few things of your own along the way. We can get through this together.
Now it's time for the part of the show where lyricalred
sings a silly song shows you how to Bake A Thing.
Hello, artistic deviants! It's that time of year when many of us (once again) try to enact those resolutions that seemed so important and achievable just a few weeks ago. My resolution for 2013 was to continue my unbroken streak of never watching an episode of Jersey Shore... and, also, to bake more things.
You see, it was recently brought to my attention that if left to my own devices for too long, I will subsist on a diet composed entirely of ramen noodles and peanut-butter toast. For some people (most notably, my grandmother) this is a crushing blow to my credibility as a self-sufficient human being.
As such, I've decided that it's high time I shake off my kitchen phobia and get down to the business of making food that doesn't come packaged in a microwave-ready bowl. (update: I've been informed that you are NOT actually supposed to put Cup O' Noodles in the microwave. Oops!)
Because "real food" still intimidates me, I decided that the best starting point for this endeavor would be cookies. They're (in this case) fairly straightforward and very
helpful if the you are the kind who enjoys wooing young ladies and/or showing off at parties.
I've seen plenty of variations of this cookie on the internet, but what follows is a recipe for Cranberry White-Chocolate Ginger Cookies
, adapted to my
cheapness laziness inability to follow directions
brilliant chef's intuition. Alright, let's dive in! Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 large egg
¾ cup packed brown sugar
⅓ cup vegetable oil (or canola oil, if you like that sort of thing)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats (NOT instant)
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped OR ⅓ cup white chocolate chips
⅓ cup dried cranberries (or blueberries or cherries, if you are fancy)
¼ cup crystallized ginger, chopped into itty-bitty pieces (Note: I did this with a knife, which was tedious and stupid and sort of dangerous for a person as prone to clumsiness as I am. I suggest that you chop your ginger with a food processor or ChopWow! or whatever other as-seen-on-tv chopping device your undoubtedly well-meaning aunt got you a few Christmases ago.)Tools
2 mixing bowls; one large, one small
Measuring cups of various sizes
A large mixing spoon
2 medium-sized cookie sheets (ungreased)
A metal spatula or spatula-equivalent
Got all that? Good. Let's get started.
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Ensure that racks are positioned in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. (This is easiest to do BEFORE the oven reaches 375°.)
2. Set up your workspace.
Make sure you have a clean, non-threatening space with all of your ingredients/tools within reach. I use this time to plug-in some iPod speakers and create a "Making Cookies" playlist. Aerosmith and AC/DC, aww yeah. (Note: music that will induce head-banging is not recommended, due to practical hair-in-cookie-dough considerations.)
3. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground ginger together in your small bowl.
If you are me, turn down your music because even though "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" your brother is trying to do his homework and could you please at least try to be considerate?
4. In the large bowl, whisk the egg, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla.
They should be glossy and well combined (no lumps!
) before you move on.
5. Add the dry ingredients (small bowl) to the wet (large bowl) and stir to combine.
The dough will end up sort of dry and hard to mix; DO NOT give in to the temptation to add water. You're almost done. If you are me, this is the part where you struggle to whisk the ever-thickening ingredients together before switching to a spoon and realizing that you are an idiot.
6. Mix in oats, cranberries, white chocolate, and crystallized ginger.
As I mentioned earlier, the dough is pretty dry now and it will not want to accept the chocolate. Stir with tenacity and it will eventually (sort of) stick together. If you are me, realize that you forgot to chop up your ginger and contemplate leaving it out entirely because you are THAT lazy.
7. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto your cookie sheets.
Because of the dough's reluctance to bond with the ingredients from step 6, bits of chocolate and cranberries will probably cause some of your cookies-to-be to fall apart. Squish them back together or eat the stray bits and disregard everything you've ever been taught about raw eggs.
8. Bake for 10 minutes, or until puffed and barely golden around the edges.
Halfway through baking, switch pans back-to-front and top-to-bottom. (If you are going to injure yourself, this is the step where it will occur- please for the love of all things holy WEAR DECENT OVEN MITTS.) Also: if you are even a little bit like me, you will want to ignore everything I've said about this step and wander off for those 10 minutes. DO NOT DO THAT! You are lazy and that is a deeply unattractive quality. If you do not switch the pans out, your cookies will burn and you will be very sad.
9. Remove cookies to cool.
Use your spatula or spatula-equivalent to slide the cookies onto tinfoil or a wire cooling rack. Resist the urge to eat them until they are less likely to burn you.
10. And, finally...
behold, for now you have become Cookie Monster, destroyer of low-carb diets. Revel in self-congratulatory bliss and devour your cookies. If you made cookies of your own, how did they turn out? Is there a recipe or type of food you'd like to see featured in Bake A Thing? Let me know in the comments or a note!