Okay, so let's get to know each other again, yeah? Since I last posted, I have graduated college, moved into a really awesome apartment, traveled around India for 4 months, been using a laptop with a non-functioning period key for nearly a year, and finally got a legit job at a photo company. This is the lady who is writing to you:
And here are some nice things she has in her apartment (Baryshnikov and Dahlias, both are sexy):
She has NOT been baking very much, that's for damn sure. Until now--I am so ready to do this. I hate the fact that my triumphant return is marked by such a pathetic, boring, lame cookie, but hey, I'm still the same girl who wants to bake cookies without having to go food shopping for any ingredients other than sugar and butter. So I made these guys. But don't worry--I've pretty much exhausted all the really boring recipes from the book, so now I have no choice but to buy expensive, weird ingredients and bake difficult, tedious recipes!
So I tried to spice it up by using Droste cocoa and this fancy vanilla extract, but it really didn't make much of a difference.
And I didn't even TRY to make the bull's-eyes, because those look so LAME!!!! Like, who cares about those guys when you've got spirals around.
In summation, this recipe is in no way remotely worth the effort of rolling the dough into a pretty spiral log. The cookie is nice only if you've just discovered that you had already made the dough several years ago and it's been sleeping in your freezer collecting freezer burn and now you can have surprise cookies! I would not bake them if you want cookies right now--maybe bake them in preparation for nuclear apocalypse? Otherwise, choose from any of the other delicious, simple, fast recipes in the book.
Icebox Spirals and Bull's-Eyes
Makes 34 bull's-eyes and 28 spirals
- Using the electric mixer, mix the butter and the sugar until creamy. Add the eggs and the salt, and mix well. Beat in milk and vanilla. Add flour a little at a time, mixing it in until all of it has been incorporated.
- Divide the dough into balls, one for each color. For chocolate dough, add cocoa (1/4 cup is enough to flavor half a batch). Mix well with electric mixer. For colored dough, start with 1/4 teaspoon food coloring, and mix well. Add more in tiny amounts for darker colors. Gel-paste coloring can be intense, so add it gradually.
- Wrap each ball of dough in its own sheet of plastic wrap; pat flat into a rectangle. Refrigerate at least one hour or until ready to use.
- Parchment or waxed paper makes a good work surface. Sprinkle generously with flour, then roll out each piece of dough 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick to make the swirls; you can use thicker layers for the bull's-eyes.
- The bench scraper is a good tool for trimming dough's edges to make them even. The egg white, brushed on with a pastry brush, will act as a glue, making the layers stick together.
- For center, with your hands, roll chocolate dough into a 1/2- to 1 1/2- inch-thick rod; chill 20 minutes. Place rod on edge of rolled-out dough that's been brushed with egg white.
- Roll rod inside sheet of dough. Cut the dough where it meets up. Seal by pinching and pressing gently. Chill 20 minutes, then repeat to add other layers. To decorate, go to step 7, or jump to step 8 for plain.
- For spirals, measure and trim two or more colors of dough to same size. Brush on egg white, then stack layers. Brush top with egg white. Starting at one end, roll up the dough.
- Smooth and straighten the layers as you roll them so there are no gaps, then gently pinch and press the edge of the roll to seal it. Now the dough is ready to decorate. If you want plain cookies, skip to step 18.
- Add your favorite toppings (try coconut, colored sanding sugar, chopped nuts, or chocolate sprinkles): Spread topping in baking sheet, brush dough with egg white, and roll the log in topping.
- Roll each log in parchment or waxed paper; twist the ends of the paper closed. To help the logs keep their round shape, set each in a cardboard paper-towel roll that you have sliced open lengthwise.
- To remember what colors you have already used, with crayons, draw the designs onto key tags; tie the tags onto the paper covering the logs. Chill logs until they are solid, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Cut 15 inches of dental floss (or double thickness of thread). Let log soften for about 10 minutes. Remove parchment. Wrap floss around log and pull through. Make the slices thin: 1/4 inch or less.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place slices on an ungreased baking sheet (lined with parchment paper). A grown-up should bake the cookies 12 to 15 minutes, until firm but not browned. Let cool on baking sheet for several minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Baking Difficulty: 2/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 5/5
Is it worth it?: Nah
Activity: Celebrating my return with listening to the above song