Post #24: The Diary of a Wannabe Baker

Sugar, Flour, brown sugar (at least I think it’s brown sugar), Vanilla (in a powdered form, weird I know), eggs, baking soda (thanks mom for sending this with the sis so that I wouldn’t have to find the Italian equivalent), cocoa, and white chocolate chips (or, in my case, chopped-off chunks of a white chocolate candy bar). I have measuring cups in quantities consistent with the U.S recipe. So, we’re almost ready to go. Just have to figure out the burro, or butter…

1 Cup of Butter =  227 grams
The block of butter I purchased from the grocery store is 250 grams. So, I need 227/250, or approximately 90% of the stick. So, if I use tick marks for tenths of a stick, I cut the stick at 9/10 and add it to the mix.

If this works, I don’t know who will be prouder… my baking mentor mother or my former math teachers who bestowed upon me the knowledge of fractions and percents.

The recipe calls for an ungreased baking sheet. I’ve got a cheap roasting pan. I’ll add a tiny coat of butter to compensate for the worn surface of the pan. Most cookie sheets come with a natural non-stick surface anyway, right?

First batch is loaded. Dough is delicious by the way. If that serves as any indication for the final product…

Small oversight on my part. How could I forget that my oven has one cooking temperature… incinerate. This might be a problem seeing as the cookies want a consistent 350 degree baking environment. Not to mention that the only thermostat I have is on the inside door of the oven and registers the heat in degrees Celsius. That’s a quick fix. As all of my Algebra students should know, F = 9/5C + 32. With a few applications of inverse operations, we arrive at the desired temperature of about 177 degrees Celsius. For all you kids that whined about wanting real-world applications of functions, there you go. Sure, you could have whipped out your I-phones or laptops to do the dirty work for you, but where’s the fun in that?! About the uncontrollable heat index problem, I’m going to have to monitor it closely. It may be necessary to open the oven door for intervals during the bake time.

Two minutes into the bake time and, Houston, we have a problem. Greasing the pan was a bad choice. Cookies spread out (A LOT), but did not rise up.

Batch #1 done. Ugly but yummy. A better combination than pretty but yucky, but still unacceptable. Next batch, no buttered bottom.

Unfortunately, the problem is bigger than the grease on the pan. Batch #2 looks as bad (but tastes as good) as Batch #1. I think the Italian butter is just too buttery. I’ll try adding more of the other ingredients in equal ratios to compensate for having essentially added too much butter. Will the third one be the charm?

Not quite. Batch #3 is better. Not great, but better. I’ll add some more flour and cocoa and baking soda to the rest of the mix. Heck, I’ll throw a little baking powder in there too. I think that will help them to rise...

Batch #4. I think I’m onto something here. More of the same adjustments as made to Batch #3.

Batch #5. Acceptable in the presentation department. And it seems as though my modifications to the recipe did not noticeably affect the taste. I’ll leave the last portion of the mix as is.

Batch #6. Burnt. To a crisp. Clearly my frequent visits to the oven to open and close the door intermittently during the 12 minute bake time did make a difference in the previous batches.

My conclusion. Trial and error is a lengthy process in the field of culinary arts. Oven temperature does need to be monitored closely. We'll try this again tomorrow. Raspberry thumbprint butter cookies are up next with Molasses cookies on deck. I might just need a little bit of a Christmas miracle...


  1. I knew the baking would be different, but not that different!! Haha!! Something to laugh about as you celebrate your first Christmas in Italy! Love you!

  2. I can empathize with the burnt cookies... that is why I don't bake! But at least the others taste good!I'm sure Kevin Loves them all!