A couple of weeks ago I was going on a work retreat. A potluck was being organized and I decided to volunteer to make dessert. I chose dessert because I like posting recipes up here but don’t like having to eat it all by myself, so I figured a potluck was a perfect opportunity to make something sweet to share with lots of people. Let me tell you, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. As the food restrictions came pouring in, I realized that I had to make a gluten free, vegan, nut free dessert. That meant no eggs, no butter, no flour (unless it was an overwhelming combination of a bunch of flours I didn’t have), and no nuts to simulate all of the above. It wasn’t like I could back out, so I started to do my research. I came up with two viable options. The first, being a fruit crisp like this one on Cookie and Kate. I thought that maybe this was the most obvious choice and left it out there in case my co-worker who was also making dessert chose to go in that direction. The second option that I found was a recipe for Fig Newtons on My New Roots (a beautiful blog that focuses on healthy ingredients, which I knew would come through in terms of looking for a recipe built around dietary restrictions).
I have had many cookie disasters in my day. There are a number of things that normally trip me up.
1- Cookie recipes normally call for creaming the butter and sugar. I only got an electric mixer a couple of years ago, so before that, this was a major problem for me. I am not strong (or determined?) enough to do this properly by hand, so it never quite worked out.
2- I always keep my butter in the freezer and am never patient enough to get it to room temperature when I am making my cookies. This results in cold butter being whisked with the sugar. Don’t do this! Your cookies will be the completely wrong texture and you will regret it in the long run.
3- I usually cook them too long. Cookies often firm up quite a bit once they are taken out of the oven. I never realized that and just thought that baking times were completely off and cooked them until they were cooked through, which resulted in horribly overcooked cookies.
4- I drop entire trays of hot cookies on (the relatively clean) floor where they break into a million pieces (because they are still mushy and hot) and I have to salvage them by making a ‘trifle’ as the potluck dessert.