Thursday, January 8, 2009

TWD (Catch Up) - Grandma's All-Occasion Sugar Cookies

Due to various illnesses, injuries, and equipment malfunction during the months of November and December, I am very behind when it comes to Tuesdays with Dorie (not to mention the Daring Bakers ... imagine, I missed their pizza bake!).

I'm trying to play catch-up now.  The leaders of both groups have been kind and let me stay on even though I missed a few events.  I suspect it's that I bothered to contact them and explain the circumstances.  You know, not just drop out of sight with no word.

Still, I'd like to thank the leaders of both groups for being understanding!

Today I'm doing Grandma's All-Occasion Sugar Cookies.  This was selected by Ulrike of K├╝chenlatein.

Since this recipe is from a book in print (Dorie Greenspan's Baking), I'll not post the exact ingredient list.

Now, I have no complaints about this recipe.  It's simple, tastes good, and seems relatively foolproof.  The complaint I have is about cookie recipes in general.  In this recipe's case, it claims to make fifty two-inch cookies, 1/4 inch thick.

OK, so let's look at this for a bit.  I'm going to be very generous.  There is about 4.5 cups of material in this recipe.  Now, the liquid parts will soak into the dry parts.  I'm going to ignore that because ... well ... I'm being generous.

4.5 cups is about 1.1 liters.  Or, 1100 milliliters ... 1100 mL.

The cookies are 2 inches in diameter and 1/4 of an inch thick.  That's 5 cm in diameter and 1.25 cm thick.  We'll just treat them as a simple cylinder for the sake of computing their volume.  So, their volume is height * area.  The area is the Pi times the square of the radius.  So, the area is apporoximately 19.6 square cm.  This makes our volume 1.25 cm * 19.6 square cm ... which is 24.5 cubic cm.  By sheer coincidence, a cubic centimeter is also a milliliter (oh how I love the Metric System so).

So, if we take the total volume of the ingredients, 1100 mL, and divide by the volume of each cookie, 24.5 mL, we get about 45 cookies.  A whole 10% less than 50!  So, there's no way this recipe can possibly make 50 cookies of the size it claims.

Now, the dough was actually closer to about three cups in size.  That's closer to 733 mL.  That has a theoretical yield of approximately 30 cookies.

What to know how many cookies I made from this?  Yes, you guessed it ... 30.


I whisked together all of the dry ingredients.  Ooh, look at that big, big whisk.  I like that one very much.

Next, I creamed the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla together.  That big red block behind the mixer is a transformer.  It changes the power from 220 volts to 110 volts so that my American-bought KitchenAid doesn't fry itself.

All the wet ingredients creamed and ready to receive the dry ingredients.

This is after I added the dry ingredients and scraped down the sides of the bowl with my silicon spatula.  When using a scraper blade like I am here, be sure to be careful when adding the dry ingredients.  They like to puff up and out.

I decided to use the cut-and-bake option.  So, here's my dough getting ready to go into the fridge for a couple of hours.

Here's the dough rolled, sealed, and about to get cold.

OK, fast forward 2.5 hours.  I pulled the dough out of the fridge two hours after I put it in.  Rolled it into a more cirular form.  Then, sliced it in 1/4" slices.

I baked the cookies for about 10 minute (rotating at the half-way point).  Here they are after they came out of the oven and received a generous dose of cane sugar.

Test Results

Primary Test Group:  Very good, kuya!  Make more!

Potential Improvements

Next time I want to try rolling the dough out.  Use my cookie cutters.

Potential Variations

Maybe use brown sugar on the top and see how the flavor goes with the cookies.


These are good cookies.  They'll definitely be made again!


n.o.e said...

And people complained about how much math my TWD posts contain! I've yet to mention pi... But I agree about yeilds in cookbooks. Kinda silly really.

Your cookies look great. We liked them, but they were a little too fussy for me to make my regular recipe.

James said...

Nancy, what IS your regular recipe? Post it please. :)