Friday, September 13, 2013

Disaster Chef: Cookie Cake (Pinterest Project #7)

Though I'm no cook, as most of you know, damned if I wasn’t going to try to make a cookie cake for my son’s birthday. That was what he wanted, and I figured, it’s just like a cookie, right? How hard can it be? You don’t even have to separate the dough into cookies. You just throw the whole mess on a cookie sheet and bake it and, voila, I’m the mom of the year. Of course that’s not how things turn out in the Hillbrand household.

First of all, I got a basic recipe off Pinterest that looked easy enough. I don’t like frosting, and neither does my son, so I figured I’d skip that part, which was the only complicated part of the recipe from Chasing Delicious. If you remember from my previous posts, it’s a difficult thing for me to stick with a recipe. So, again, changes I made are in parentheses. The coconut oil was a necessity, as I found out once I began that we only had one stick of butter in the house. It worked out well, though. I added some whole wheat flour and cut the sugar a bit, but kept it to a minimum so it wouldn’t taste too ‘healthy’ for the kids at the party. We didn’t have many chocolate chips, so I chopped up at 3 oz. chocolate bar and put that in. I would have added white chocolate chips, but we didn’t have any, so I skipped that part. It still ended up with tons of chocolate, as you will soon see.

8 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used 6oz. butter, 2 oz. solid coconut oil)
6 oz. light brown sugar (4 oz.)
6 oz. granulated sugar (4 oz.)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
13 oz. all-purpose flour (8 oz. white flour, 5 oz. whole wheat)
3/4 tsp. salt (I always skip the salt--I don't like the salty taste in many desserts)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
6 oz. milk chocolate chips (I used about 4 oz dark choc chips)
6 oz. dark chocolate chips (3 oz. Green and Black Organic's 85% cacoa bar, chopped)
4 oz. white chocolate chips (I didn't have these or I would have used them. Instead, I added about half a cup of chopped walnuts).
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of the pizza pan with parchment paper and grease the paper and sides of the pan; set aside.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about five minutes.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.
4. Add the vanilla and mix in well.
5. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda and mix until a batter forms.
6. Add the chocolate chips and mix until they are evenly distributed.
7. Spread the dough into the pizza pan.
8. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 22 minutes until the edges begin to brown and the center has set.
9. Cool in the pan for 10 to 20 minutes until cool enough to handle.
10. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack until cool enough to decorate.
11. Decorate with frosting as desired and serve.

So, here I got the cookie dough and spread it on the parchment paper as directed, on a flat pizza pan. It looked all round and wonderful. I was starting to actually feel quite pleased with myself.

I put the cake in the oven. About five minutes later, I thought that since I wasn’t going to frost the cake, I should make a big chocolate 7 on top of the cake. So I grabbed a pot holder and opened the oven and pulled out the pizza tray. The tray came sliding out, and the parchment paper with the cookie did not. It slid off the back of the tray into the oven. The paper couldn’t support the weight of the melting cookie dough and proceeded to dump a huge sliding glop of chocolatey goodness into the bottom of the oven. I might have screamed. I may have cursed under my breath. I grabbed the paper and pulled it back onto the tray. Luckily I was able to salvage most of the cookie. I had a time trying to scrape the chocolate mess from the bottom of the oven, though. All that chocolate had melted, so it looked like chocolate cake batter by the time I had scraped it to the edge of the oven. Chunks of it fell down between the door of the oven and the oven itself, but I managed to get enough of it out that it wasn’t smoking.

Then I had the cake to worry about. Since the dough was still all melty, I was able to reform it into a roughly circular shape. But all the melted chocolate made the parts that had been disturbed brown, while the rest of the cake looked like a chocolate chip cookie. It was entirely hideous! I might have started over at this point, except that…I had no butter. It would have taken 45 minutes to run to the store to get some and get back, and I didn’t have that much extra time before I had to get my son to his birthday party. So, I soldiered on with my wounded cookie cake.

When it was done, I pulled it out and let it cool, as directed in the recipe. Then I transferred it to a wire rack, whereupon it broke in several places. I had already decided I’d have to frost it to conceal the mottled color, so I figured it would be okay. I also broke off a little piece near one of the cracks to make sure it was edible, and it wasn’t half bad. When it had cooled completely, I was ready to frost it. I had quite some trouble getting the paper off the bottom of it, so I’d recommend pulling that off when transferring it to the wire rack to cool…if that’s something that someone else doesn’t know to do! As a newby, I had no idea. I’m pretty sure I’ve never used wax paper before, or I’d probably have known to grab the edge along with the pan when I removed it from the oven!

Now I was ready to frost the cake, but of course I had no frosting, since no one in the house likes it. And as it turns out, you need butter to make frosting. I searched several recipes until I found this one, which was the simplest I could find. I searched through the fridge and both freezers and, lo and behold, I found a rogue stick of butter in the freezer! Finally, something was going right.

I set the butter on top of the stove for a while, but it didn’t seem to be thawing and I really needed to get going. So I threw it in the oven, which by now was almost totally cool and hadn’t been on for a few hours. Now here you can tell me I’m really stupid, because I didn’t put it in a bowl or anything. But it was frozen solid, so I just threw it in and ran to take a quick shower. I came hurrying back, opened the oven, and found a big pool of oil in the bottom of the oven and a little chunk of butter in a wrapper on the rack. I definitely screamed, and, since my son wasn’t in the room, cursed thoroughly. Then I rescued the remaining butter and set to work on the frosting. Luckily, I had just enough (minus one tablespoon) for the frosting. I spread a thin layer on the cooled cake, which (mostly) masked the more unappetizing aspects. Then I attempted a clumsy “Happy Birthday” on top in colored icing. I felt very fortunate that my son was too excited about his birthday to even care about the cake, and was completely forgiving even though it was an epic fail. However, it was a hit at the party despite the appearance. Even my mom liked it, and she hates cookie cake. The walnuts totally made the cake. They were just what it needed to make it a little different from the generic. And, the frosting was amazing.
I don’t know that I’ll ever attempt a cookie cake again, as I was somewhat traumatized, but I will definitely use the frosting recipe again. It was super easy, creamy and just sweet enough.

1 block cream cheese
4 tbs. butter (half stick)
 1/2 tbs. vanilla
1 c. powdered/confectioner's sugar
Beat with mixer until smooth and fluffy.

Overall rating:

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