Assignment1

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Creativity Assignment 1: Create a New Cookie

I have never made cookies before, so this project was a bit daunting.

I began by making a list of cookies I like, starting with my favorites and working down to those I do not like. I love the basic cookies.

Favorites and others I like:
1. Chocolate Chip
2. Oatmeal Raisin
3. Peanut Butter
Mixes of the three previous types
Sugar
Sugar, frosted
Cake
Thin Mints
Peanut Butter with chocolate
Gingerbread
Shortbread

Cookies I do not eat:
Pizzelles (Italian cookies)
Horns (apricot, raspberry, nut) These are a family recipe that are popular at gatherings, but I never liked them.
Rum cookies (or anything with rum)
Biscotti (I don't drink coffee, either!)

Looking at the list, I found that cookies were:
1. The dominant flavor (gingerbread, sugar, butter).
2. The medium for another flavor (chocolate chip, raisin).
3. Shaped like something else, but not necessarily flavored like it (glazed sugar, frosted sugar, pizzelles).

Then, there were things like cookies:
Cupcakes (toppings, filled)
Rice Krispie Treats (marshmallow, rice cereal, M&Ms)
Granola Bars (granola, nuts, peanut butter, chocolate, fruit)
Brownies (fudge, peanut butter, caramel)
Pies (cheesecake, fruit, cream, chocolate)
Pancakes (maple syrup, butter, fruit, chocolate)

MarthaList.jpg

Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart had dozens of cookie recipes. Many of them included chocolate. I wanted to avoid any she had posted as a recipe.

Similarity and Contrast
I really like chocolate covered pretzels. (If you are in Cleveland, the Malley's Chocolate company makes terrific chocolate covered pretzels.) I think the mix of salty and sweet is fantastic, and perhaps a pairing of opposites would work for the cookie recipe.

I started listing things that were opposites of sweet, the dominant flavor for what I consider cookies, and moved on from there:
Popcorn
Pretzels
Potato Chips
Tortilla Chips
Sesame Chicken
Chili Peppers
Pumpkins
Watermelons
Candy Corn
Nerds and Runts candies
French Toast

Peppers seemed like a promising ingredient. They are a strong flavor, and have a different sensation that a sweet cookie, but might work well as an accent flavor.

I considered Grant Achatz's video on Flavor Bouncing. I wasn't sure what would go with peppers, but thought a fruit would be good.

Looks like...
Peppers are red, and strawberries are red, so I could make a cookie that looked like a pepper or a strawberry, fulfilling #3 on my "Cookies Are..." list above. Peppers and watermelon might work, too, but I much prefer strawberries, and want to make a cookie I would want to eat.

I wasn't sure if the peppers would work, either, so I made a list of other green foods that I could pick up at the grocery store.

sketchbook.jpg

Green Foods:
Peppers
Pistachios
Limes
Kiwis
Grapes
Green Apples
Basil leaves
Mint leaves

I bought lemons to be the seeds of the strawberry. I found out that the rind is used to make "zest of lemon."

CrumblyCookies.jpg
First Try

I began with the 3-2-1 Cookie Dough recipe from Michael Ruhlman. The dough was too crumbly, and did not shape well. When I tried to shape it, the dough fell apart. The baked cookies were dense, and brittle. But, they tasted good and simple.

I added the strawberries, and a garnish of four different flavors:
Basil
Granny Smith Apple
Spearmint
Green Pepper

The basil had a subtle flavor. When biting into the cookie, it was hard to detect, but had a pleasant after-flavor.

The Granny Smith apple flavor was lost until after eating. Overall it was not as interesting as the basil. The sweet was too similar to the strawberry.

The spearmint was much too strong for me! I think some might like it, but I found it hard to finish the cookie.

The green pepper was fresh-tasting. It was very similar to the basil, but had a firmer texture and bright flavor while eating it.

Second Try
In the next batch, I tried to solve the crumbling trait of the copies. I added twice the butter. This made for a softer, much stickier dough that was easy to shape. After baking, they had the same texture as the first group.

Third Try
In the third batch, I added chocolate for a half recipe. I used 1 1/2oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted, and worked into the dough with the flour.

This produced a pretty good chocolate cookie.

The basil was still good, though the taste was less pronounced because of the chocolate.

The Granny Smith apple tasted better with the chocolate cookies than with the plain.

The spearmint was still too strong.

The pepper's taste was amplified with the chocolate. Perhaps it was the contrast, but I thought it was no good.

Overall, I think the Strawberry and Basil cookies were the best, both with and without chocolate. The final recipe is below. If you want plain cookies, leave the chocolate out, but the rest of the recipe is the same.

However, I'll also be bringing the regular shortbread with mint variety to class. Diane, my wife tried them, and thought that that was the better cookie. She liked the strong flavor combination, but she has a more adventurous palette than I do.

StrawberryCookies.jpg

Runner Up Recipe
Strawberry and Mint on Shortbread

(Makes about 13 cookies)

4 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar
8 oz. Salted Butter
1 cup Flour
1/2 lb. Strawberries
Add 1 Tablespoon Sugar for Strawberries
A dozen or so Whole Mint Leaves
1 Lemon

The base cookie is an altered version of Michael Ruhlman's 3-2-1 Cookie recipe.

Mix 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar with 8 oz. salted butter. This is double the butter in the original recipe.

Add 1 cup of flour.

Roll into balls and put on a cookie sheet.

Flatten the cookie dough balls and mold into strawberry shapes. Raise the sides to act as a bowl for the strawberries.

Bake at 350°for 20 minutes.

While the dough is baking, prepare the strawberries and herbs.

Dice 1/2 lb. of strawberries. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the strawberries.

Cut 1/2 of a basil leaf for each cookie.

Shave the yellow rind of a lemon with a coarse grater.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Scoop strawberries into each cookie.

Add half a basil leaf to each cookie as if it were the stem of a strawberry.

Sprinkle on a pinch of the zest of lemon.

ChocolateCookieTest.jpg
Final Recipe

Strawberry and Basil on Chocolate Shortbread

(Makes about 13 cookies)

4 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar
8 oz. Salted Butter
1 cup Flour
3 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 lb. Strawberries
Add 1 Tablespoon Sugar for Strawberries
A handful of Whole Basil Leaves
1 Lemon

The base cookie is an altered version of Michael Ruhlman's 3-2-1 Cookie recipe.

Mix 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar with 8 oz. salted butter. This is double the butter in the original recipe.

Melt 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips. Melt until soft, but don't burn them.

Mix in the chocolate chips.

Add 1 cup of flour.

Roll into balls and put on a cookie sheet.

Flatten the cookie dough balls and mold into strawberry shapes. Raise the sides to act as a bowl for the strawberries.

Bake at 350°for 20 minutes.

While the dough is baking, prepare the strawberries and herbs.

Dice 1/2 lb. of strawberries. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the strawberries.

Cut 1/2 of a basil leaf for each cookie.

Shave the yellow rind of a lemon with a coarse grater.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Scoop strawberries into each cookie.

Add half a basil leaf to each cookie as if it were the stem of a strawberry.

Sprinkle on a pinch of the zest of lemon.


2 Comments

Your blog is well organized. I liked the bolded section titles, though increasing the size of the titles could make them stand out more. You explained your thought process really well. I can understand where you drew your ideas from and how you ended up at the final product. I like that you even went to the trouble of writing a runner up recipe.

I like that you have photos, however I'm a visual person so I would've liked even more; maybe of your 2nd and 3rd tries. Your cookie was very creative! The taste was good, but the basil was a little too adventurous for me. I'm guessing that's just personal preference. Perhaps you could've tried to find a few more people to test your cookies before deciding on the flavor, since you said you just asked your wife and she preferred the one you didn't choose.

James I think you're process is very interesting, I liked how you started out with types of cookies that you like and those that you didn't. To me it seems silly/ foolish to make a cookie that you wouldn't want to eat just for creativity's sake. I like that you had several iterations of the cookie, although I think it might have been more effective if you had narrowed down your options right away and tried different variations of the exact same cookie in different ways. For example, incorporating the strawberry flavor inside the cookie rather than placing it on top, as well as with the mint. I like that you used contrasting colors and it made for an interesting looking cookie!

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This page contains a single entry by cospe002 published on October 28, 2013 4:26 AM.

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