Greetings, KuKd/TTC-Regulars and Inquisitive Guests,
When it comes to cooking, I've decided there are two kinds of people in this world.
First, there are people who can dig their hands into any recipe, whether from a book or website or their own free-flowing minds, and invariably spin it into something perfectly tasty and aesthetically beautiful in a seemingly effortless fashion. Take, for example, my friend C - who baked this spread of yummy goods for the baby shower (at which I did, per readers' advice, give a verbal shout-out to Zachary, and felt good doing so):
I know, I know. You don't even have to say it: f**king gorgeous. Jen, who hosted the shower, is also one of those superhuman people: everything she cooks, I mean literally and astoundingly everything, is always among the best of that thing I've ever tasted. And she does it with a shrug.
Then, there are who - no matter how good our intentions or how much time and effort we exert - manage to turn recipes into sloppy muck. Cakes turn into the sunken rectangle variety you find at church bake sales. Roasts turn tough. Cookies too crunchy. Or - although the flavor might be there - the food itself looks like a kindergartner made it. When something turns out, it's an accident - and oftentimes can't be replicated. You might have a small repertoire of dishes that you know turn out well - but if a NEW recipe ever works, you know deep down that it worked not due to your tremendous talent in the kitchen - but because some cosmic ray of culinary luck happened to slant its way across your kitchen at the exACT right moment in time. And those sorts of recipes - the kind that turn out brilliantly - will never be duplicated, unless that culinary ray of luck returns.
I consider myself an oft-frustrated member of the second category. Actually, "resigned" is probably a better word - for I've come to accept my propensity to screw up recipes, spill things, drop things, over/under-cook things, or - worse - get tired of a cooking project right in the middle of it, and finish it out the lazy way.
This is what happened when I tried to make these:
Who wouldn't want to produce these as a late Valentine's day treat?
It started off okay: a batch of regular old sugar cookie dough, which I dutifully chilled in the fridge. I always end up wondering why you're supposed to chill sugar cookie dough anyway, because that turns it into a miniature boulder that you practically need a steamroller to flatten. This was no exception:
Hard, rock-like fragments of stone cold dough. Already, I could sense my ambition fizzling. It was getting late, and approaching time to watch TV with my feet in K's lap. So I put away my rolling pin, as well as my awesome heart-shaped cookie cutter - the one I purchased specifically for this once-a-year occasion, and grabbed a knife instead:
So what if they weren't pristinely beautiful rolled-out hearts? Nobody would know the difference. These were more like modern abstract hearts.
After melting a bag of chocolate chips with a wee bit of shortening, I decided to try dunking the full cookies instead of just half-cookies, in order to hide their hidden ugliness and make them look more professionally abstract/modern/chic.
Alas, the full-on dunk didn't quite work, as evidenced above. You can see what happened to the one that got the full immersion: not only did it soak up half the pot of chocolate itself, but turned into what looked like a chocolate dog turd.
So I ended up doing them all in the half-dunk style.
Not exactly what I'd been aiming for, but my friends didn't act surprised, instead gobbling them up out of Zip-lock bags. That's the good thing about being in that humble second category of people: the bar is set so low that people don't expect much from ya. ;-)