Sunday, December 14, 2008
failure at every turn
A couple of days ago I started to make my Xmas pfeffernüsse from my usual recipe from The Spice Cookbook when I realized that my giant can of Trader Joe's honey was almost empty. I went to the QFC and got some more expensive honey to tide me over, as I needed quite a bit for my cookies. I left my molasses bottle standing on its lid while I was gone, as I was also very low on that. By the time I got my dough all made (it takes a while, since you have to heat the honey and molasses, then let it cool before you add the egg, plus you have to grind the anise and cardamom) it was 10:00--too late for me to bake.
I got up the next morning and started working on my cookies as soon as I'd drunk my tea. I was surprised to find that my dough only yielded 7 dozen cookies: a unique feature of this recipe is that, as well as making pfeffernüsse that taste just like store-bought, you end up with just about the number of cookies you're supposed to--11 dozen. It was not till the first batch were in the oven that I realised that I'd measured the flour out with my 3/4 cup measuring cup instead of the 1 cup one, so my dough had only 75% of the flour it should have! The cookies spread out a little bit more than usual, and tasted a little of baking soda, but I figured they'd be okay once I rolled them in their frosting: a cardamom-flavored royal icing, half of it dyed pink.
I separated the egg to get the white for the frosting, then went to gather the other ingredients. I had no pink cake frosting color! I distinctly remember buying it last year at this time, but it was nowhere to be found. I had to go downtown to Sur la Table to get some, as my pfeffernüsse wouldn't be right without half of them being pink. I went to the grocery store on my way home to get some more honey and molasses. When I finally got home and started adding frosting ingredients to my egg white, I couldn't find the corn syrup! I remember buying it not long ago--it was QFC brand, in a bottle with a rectangular rather than round base, but it was nowhere to be found. By this time it was dark and freezing cold. I'd just been in the corn syrup aisle of Safeway, buying molasses: if only I'd known! Anyway, I went back out and got the corn syrup, made the frosting, and frosted the cookies. They were a success! The frosting covered up the baking soda taste, they were pleasantly moist from lack of flour, and I didn't really need 11 dozen of them anyway.