I had a Christmas cookie mishap this year: the cookies looked great but were as dry as dust.
Jackie got me a cookie press last year for a Christmas present and I was eager to try it out. I thought about making heart cookies for Valentine’s Day. But I didn’t get around to it. Then I thought about making shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day. Again, it didn’t rise high enough on my priority list. I also thought about making some for my mom’s birthday but my sister was bringing a cake and I didn’t want to compete with that.
So, it got to be December and I still had not used the cookie press. Cookie presses aren’t something you use that often, so it wasn’t bothering me. But I was determined to make some Christmas cookies with the cookie press. I had some Stevia (substitute for sugar in baking) and a Martha Stewart recipe. My mom even planned a little get-together for some of their friends in the retirement community where they lived. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the cookie press.
One of the things I liked about the Martha Stewart recipe was the lack of almond extract. I don’t have anything against almond extract, I just didn’t have any and didn’t want to buy any for one batch of cookies. Martha Stewart’s recipe uses lots of vanilla but I have a gallon jug of that (well, maybe a pint). The dough mixed up beautifully. I scooped it into the press and tried out the different designs. I sprinkled on some colored sugar and baked them. Everything worked just as it should and the cookies were a work of art – or, at least, very pretty.
When the first batch cooled, I eagerly tried one, hoping it would taste as good as it looked. Five minutes and 16 ounces of water later, I managed to swallow the last bit. It was as if the Sahara desert had exploded in my mouth! The cookies were dry as dust! I am spit challenged. Seriously – I don’t produce nearly as much saliva as most people. In fact, I have to have a glass or bottle or water near me when I am speaking to people or my mouth gets so dry my lips stick to my teeth. When Tom and I took DNA test and had to fill up a small vial with spit, he did it with one shot. It took me close to half an hour to fill up my vial. So, maybe it wasn’t the cookies. Maybe it was me.
I looked forward to Tom getting home and trying the cookies. As soon as he saw them, looking so pretty on the cooling racks, he popped one in his mouth. Then his eyes got big and he reached for a bottle of Dr. Pepper. A few swallows later he had the cookie down. He said it was delicious – but really dry. Really, really dry. Dry as dust. We laughed about it and Tom ate another 10 cookies, but with his Dr. Pepper close at hand.
I took some of them to Mom and Dad. Mom had canceled her little get-together because of the rise in Covid cases, so it was just the four of us. I had each of them try a cookie. Mom agreed that they were dry as dust. Dad did too, but he and Tom still enjoyed several of them.
When the extended family got together after Christmas, I had everyone try one of them. The cookies look so pretty and innocuous. We all laughed as everyone reached for glasses of water soon after the first bite. But the cookies were also gone at the end of the day.
In reading the reviews of the recipe later (I should have read the reviews before I made the cookies) several people mentioned that you had to sift the flour before measuring. This gives you less flour so the cookies wouldn’t be as dry. Other reviewers said the cookies were too dry to eat. It would have been helpful if Martha had stressed sifting the flour first. I never do it unless the recipe specifically calls for it.
The cookies looked great and tasted really good – once you got past how dry they were. In fact, it was funny how good they were while being as dry as dust. Next time I’ll buy some almond flavor and try a different cookie press recipe. But this is one cookie that will live on in our memories.