Tuesday, 13 May 2008

The Cookie Project - Part 2

Ever since I read this blog post by Kelly-Jane, I haven't been able to stop thinking about these cookies. I could almost say that I've been obsessing about them, but then you might think I was very strange.

I adore dulce de leche, and have long pondered making my own. Martha, true to form, gives complex instructions about simmering condensed milk in a double boiler for 5 hours (yeah yeah yeah...) but I knew that it was possible to simply boil unopened cans of condensed milk to get the same effect. Slightly scary though, don't you think? I was thrilled to come upon this method, as described in a new-favourite blog of mine, Crockpot 365. I must try that some time... but it takes 8 hours and I wanted dulce de leche NOW! So I followed a link from Crockpot365 to the Eagle Brand website, which gave several methods for making it. The one that involved a mere 26 minutes in the microwave seemed the obvious choice, so that's what I did. It worked really well, although I fear that I nuked it for a couple of minutes too long, as it became almost toffee-like as it hardened, and I found myself chewing it off the spoon. I ended up adding a splash of milk to thin it down to the correct consistency. It tastes perfect, but just keep a close eye on it near the end of the microwaving time.

I only made 1 can-worth of dulce de leche, so decided to also halve the recipe for the cookies. Somehow 'only' using 1 and a half sticks of butter didn't seem so terrifyingly unhealthy as the 3 sticks in Martha's recipe. I still have birthday cake in the house from last weekend, so I didn't want to subject myself to the pressure of having to eat lots of cake and cookies! However, it still made 2 dozen cookies... oops!

I had assumed that the cookies would be like shortbread, but in fact they were rather more like pastry - quite flaky. Unfortunately some of mine were a little like puff pastry, and rose up dramatically during the cooking, making them tricky to sandwich together. I'm not sure why this happened, but I had a few mini-explosions as I tried to squish them flat. Because they were so pastry-like, I found that they looked rather dull. Boring really. Even though I had played about with my fun Linzer Cookie Press (hence the cool cut-out shapes on the tops), they looked a bit sad. This is clearly why Martha recommends the sanding sugar topping, something else that had hadn't been bothered to do. I must address my increasing culinary laziness. OK, now I'm only balking at the 5-minute job of sprinkling some sugar... the next thing you know I'll be blogging about buying microwave ready-meals.

After much faffing around I filled half of them with the dulce de leche, and the other half with Nutella (never a bad option) and after a quick dusting with icing sugar they looked fairly presentable. The cookies themselves are slightly bland, but enough sickly filling means that's not too much of a problem. If I made these again I think I wouldn't actually use this recipe at all - I'd make a plain shortbread cookie and sandwich them together with the dulce de leche.



Re-reading Kelly-Jane's blog post, I see that hers look like - and are described as - shortbread cookies. I clearly did something wrong. Ah well. We live and learn! I had intended to send these into work with Rob for his office bake-sale, but as I now learn that the bake-sale has been cancelled, I know a staff-room where these will be appreciated, no matter what they look like...

7 comments:

Anna said...

Norm, your cookies look lovely!

I make caramel by boiling the unopened tins for a couple of hours, always a bit scary!
I think I might try the microwave method.

Kelly-Jane said...

Your cookies do look lovely :)

I would reckon yours puffed up because they weren't chilled enough when they were baked. I feel terrible that they didn't turn out how you wanted! but I hope you still enjoyed eating them :)

KJxx

Norm said...

No problem KJ! I think that might have been it - I should have put them in the fridge before I baked them, as you did. It didn't really matter though, they still tasted nice (they disappeared in minutes in the staffroom!)

julie said...

They look nice all the same! Wouldn't have turned them away.

I microwave DDL too but always find the result too hard. I should really try boiling it (pressure-cooking it? that's scary!!)

Sarah Nicole said...

Eh... you will NEVER see me boiling a can. I'd die of fright if were to pop. Seriously! Anyway, the cookies look divine and keep a look out every time you pass where the isle where the condensed milk is, because sometime it's already in the dulce de leche form. Its never easy to find where ever you are, but Nestle does have it.

Lisa said...

Oh, they look SO good, Norm!

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