Yesterday afternoon I spent some time with my new book (Sam's Club) and decided to mix up the Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread Cookies. I must insert a disclaimer here: My friends and family often make comments like, "You know, that Lori is a good cook, but her cookies..." I'm known for my spread-out cookies, I'm afraid.
I was seduced by the lovely photo on pg. 126 -- sharply squared cookies with their homey little fork prick marks marching across each one. Dorie's baking instructions were comfortingly precise -- "bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the mid-way point. The shortbreads will be very pale -- they shouldn't take on much color." They spurred me on to unwarranted cookie confidence.
So, yesterday I mixed and rolled them in their clever zippered bag -- "This is fun," I thought, because I hate rolling out cookie dough the traditional way -- and moved them to the fridge for their overnight sojourn. Bright and early this morning I carefully preheated my oven and nursed my first cup of coffee while I waited for the official ding of proper baking temperature reached. I used my ruler and bench scraper to cut precise 1 1/2" squares of dough. I pricked lovingly, whisked my baking sheets into the oven, and set my trusty timer. Nine minutes, rotate and switch pans, nine more minutes. I eagerly opened the oven door to find...
...not beautifully square, just-kissed-with-golden-color cookies, oh no! It was the old story -- my careful quadrilaterals had oozed into vague, slope-sided, over-browned short-thins. Some were merely medium tawny, but here and there were decidedly dark cookies.
I’m ok. I don’t need your pity. Really. One of my sons tasted a homelier specimen and said, “Wow, Mom. This is good!” It just goes to prove what I’ve always believed – some of us must be content to produce a lifetime of cookies with unfortunate complexions and figures who turn out to be beautiful on the inside, after all. In my case, I’m blaming it on the oven.