The Bread Doctor

artisan bakery in Torrington, Wyoming
September 27, 2013

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies

Who can argue with cookies?  We had a cookie festival today at the International School of Baking and it was great.  Marda’s goal was for me to have a reptoire of cookies that would appeal to various tastes.  I think that she did a great job.  These formulas serve as jump-of points for other variations.  She has also given me formulae for chocolate chip, quadruple chocolate, peanut butter…etc.  I am so grateful for her thoughtfulness in planning the breadth of the curriculum.  It has been a perfect month for me and has been the best start to this project that I could have wished for.  I know that I have an ally in the baking industry and she would do anything to help me be successful.  That is a great thing.

Well, despite my many years of adamant disdain for sugar cookies, I baked the best tasting sugar cookie today and am now converted.  I just felt before that they were always unacceptably large and sweet for no reason and with no flavor.  But I had no been exposed to French sables.  These just mean sugar cookie, but are light and nutty.  And in this case, they have the added benefit of an icing made with cream, almond and a special powdered sugar.  I think that I have been convinced of the honorable place of sugar cookie in a bakery repertoire.

Marda’s decorating philosophy is that you pick a color palate and all the cookies should share that palate.  We decided that summer was definitely not over yet, and I decorated more of a celebratory cookie.  The fall colors just seemed too depressing right now at the end of such a great month.  Also, you need something colorful in the pastry case or everything is just beige and brown.
Speaking of brown, I have also learned that 46% of people who walk into a bakery are looking for chocolate of some kind.  This is a good thing to know.  We made double dipped chocolate wafers that we dipped the rest of the way today, and they are a great chocolate cookie.  Here they are along side the Florentines that we dipped yesterday and are amazing.
These are chocolate-dipped hedgehogs
We also made Scottish shortbread that actually has cocoa nibs in it and chopped up vanilla beans.  My teacher says that they need up to a week to develop the flavor of the chocolate and vanilla.
We also made soft lemon cookies (the bomb) with a lemon glaze that are truly bright and delicious.  Next to the lemon cookies you will see Ranger cookies which are oatmeal cookies with coconut, cranberries and raisins.  They are chewy and delicious.
 It was a great day and I am feeling better about my cookie skills.  I hope that they travel well to Wyoming.  Bend is a beautiful town and has been a good experience for me.  My roommate has offered dinner tomorrow which will be great because he is a good cook.