Tuesday, December 18, 2007

An introduction to cookie baking on a massive scale

After a short postponement due to snow and ice, the annual family cookie baking event took place on Saturday. Each year, they make several hundred cookies in two varieties- normal "biscotti" drop cookies, and filled cookies which contain figs, dates, raisins, walnuts, and other stuff. This year we made 3 batches of dough, which required about 27 eggs, 15 lbs. of flour, 9 cups of milk, 3 sticks of butter, 10.5 cups of Crisco, tons of sugar, some baking powder and vanilla. And that's not even for the icing! These recipes have been in the family for several generations, although some tweaking of the recipe has gone on through the years. Dave sent me step-by-step pictures of last year's event, and since this was my first year joining the fray, Jerry & Dave documented it.

The plain drop cookies are pretty simple- you mix the wet ingredients in the pretty commercial-grade KitchenAid mixer:

Blend together the dry ingredients with your hands or a pastry blender. Jerry took care of this part:

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients:

Mix it all together with your hands:

Put them on a cookie sheet by teaspoons and bake for 12 minutes.

The fig cookies take a little more intense preparation after the dough is made. Roll out the dough:

Cut it into thin strips. (I did not like this part so much because of my difficulty making straight lines.)

Use your fingers to make a thin, goopy line of the fig/date/walnut/orange liqueur mixture. This gets very messy!

Flip half of the dough over the fig mixture. Roll the filled dough into a log and cut into appropriate sizes for crescents or wreaths.

Put on cookie sheet & bake!

Dip the cookies in the icing and add sprinkles. Jeff took care of this step.

Divide the cookies into many, many containers and distribute to friends, co-workers, neighbors, and passers-by.

Above all, keep the dog from eating the product!