Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

An Awesome Cookie Press

Yesterday, as part of my January 2008 Rudolph Club activities, I made Snowflake cookies with my daughter. Now, these were no ordinary snowflake cookies. They weren’t the kind that you roll out and then use a cookie cutter to achieve the desired shape (a task made incredibly easy by my beautiful, functional, multi-sized snowflake cutter). No, these were the kind of cookies that required the use of a cookie press. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this tool, it looks like this and functions thus, quoting from Wikipedia:
A cookie press is a device for making pressed cookies such as spritzgeb├Ąck. It consists of a cylinder with a plunger on one end, which is used to extrude cookie dough through a small hole at the other end. Typically, the cookie press has interchangeable plates with holes in different shapes, such as a star shape or a narrow slit to extrude the dough in ribbons.
For years, I had the same type of cookie press that my mother used when I was a child. Yes, it was an older model, but had always produced perfect cookies for my mother (the pastry chef) so how hard could it be? It required the operator, after filling the press with dough, to set the bottom of the device against the cookie sheet and turn a knob on the top of the unit while watching to make sure just the right amount of dough was extruded. Too much dough and the cookie would look “fat,” as if it had “melted” in the oven; too little dough and the cookie would look like the runt of the litter, if you will; like Goldilocks with her porridge, just the right amount of dough would create a firm, well-formed delight. Needless to say, this took a little training and it seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I always ended up with “fat” cookies (and it usually took a while for me to get them in that condition). Such positive reinforcement, of course, made me avoid pressed cookies like the plague.

Then, about two years ago, during a fit of frustration, I searched online for a replacement cookie press and found this, the Marcato Biscuits Cookie Gun. Yesterday was the first time I had used it and what a joy! Easy to load, easy to use, and FAST! I was able to press out two dozen cookies in less than thirty seconds. Whoever designed this thing was (is) a genius! If they handed out a Nobel Prize for kitchen equipment, this guy (girl) would definitely get my vote. Pressed cookies are no longer a nightmare at my house. I could make them every day. Hurrah!

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