Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Of Ginger and Lemon and Cream (Cheese) - Part The Fourth and Final

You know in the science fiction movies when Earth is invaded by aliens with more advanced tech and we're getting to pojees beaten out of us? Some quirky genius guy comes along and figures out how to reverse-engineer the technology he shouldn't be able to understand, no matter how much of a genius he is, and saves the day, right? Well, I'm here to tell you that advanced cookie tech is no match for the Quirky Guy Who Bakes! (Please notice that I didn't put "Genius" in there. I have some modicum of humility.)  This is the cookie:

This is an Austrian cookie, marketed heavily in Germany and imported here. Finding these locally reignited a long-lost love affair with wafer cookies. They are, however, best when eaten fresh from the freezer, in my opinion. Using my uncanny ability to read the back of a package, I discovered the ingredient that I thought would allow me to save the day.

But where to purchase it? This was a job for Kalustyan's! (I am seriously going to have to take you all on a pictorial tour of that place one day.) They may not have everything I need but they have enough of what I need that from now on, that store is going to be my first stop on any shopping outing.

Now armed with the citric acid and the lemon oil, I knew I'd be able to finally perfect my ginger-lemon creams. I figured out the proportions for the filling (and by "figured out" I mean "took an educated guess") and came up with a filling that was lemony and zingy and would set just right to help give the cookie a nice texture.

Oh. A word about citric acid: it actually softened the cookies somewhat, making them a little chewy towards the center. I guess it was drawing moisture out of the filling and the cookie absorbed it. My solution was to let them sit for a couple of days before handing them out or eating them myself.

I was happy with all the elements I was bringing together for this project but there was one thing still missing. It took a while to realize what I needed was an imprint of some kind. Once that idea presented itself, I didn't have any trouble procuring it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the birth of The Cool Factor:

Yes! A rubber stamp! Simple. Elegant. Cheap! But would it work? I don't know. You be the judge.

Not bad, eh? It could be better, though. I'm looking into having a metal stamp made because as cool as the rubber one is, it doesn't make as deep an imprint as I think is necessary.

Remember what I said about patience and obsession? The recipe I'm using regularly makes around one hundred cookies. That means I'm cutting, stamping and baking over two hundred rounds. Now, does this justify my not simply buying prepackaged cookies? Probably not. But it does give me a lot of joy and satisfies something that's an intrinsic part of my life.

And I get to share them with people. I sent a batch to work with Michele and she said that they disappeared rather quickly. Actually, I've sent a batch of each test along the way and the response has been encouraging each time. One of the students in Michele's office commented that visually she thought the cookies were "fancy...like Williams-Sonoma." As for taste, it was "light and delicious! I feel like I'm in Paris!"

It was this last batch that prompted the response from our friend John that helped launch this blog. Thank you for reading! There are many, many more adventures to come!



  1. I bet Gert is very proud of you and your rubber stamp. A new use.

    1. Well, someone had to break the rubber stamp out of its rut, don't you think? ;)