Baking during the summer is quite hot. Baking during perpetual summer is even worse. Sweating a stream of salty water while opening the oven door while fire breathes on your saturated face. Slinking away from the heat only to return once more to check on what lurks inside, rising, browning, or spreading.
Baking in Indonesia is like baking in a smouldering fire with only a rotating fan to quell the degrading heat. But that doesn’t change the experience of baking with my host family. I am willing to teach, and they are willing to learn. We typically use hand gestures and motions, but the overall time with my host family is great. Even when I don’t know what I am doing, using weight instead of cups for measuring ingredients. Blindly converting cups into grams and hoping for the best. Attempting to pass on my self-taught knowledge to those who rarely bake.
The other day was our second baking venture: gingerbread cookies and peanut butter blossoms, two classics from my USA household. The first round of gingerbread cookies turned out okay, the PB blossoms had to change into chocolate chip peanut butter cookies, and the last round of gingerbread cookies turned into a delicious mess, which lead into a conversation about sticky dough and how it will not hold the shape when baking. No idea if we understood each other well, and we still need to discuss proper cooling times before packing the cookies.
I WOULD have some photographs, but most of the cookies were devoured by morning time when I set out to photograph them. Nevertheless I do have some from the “experiment.”
Back to food science. The last gingerbread dough we made came out too sticky and would not be able to hold the shape of the cookie cutters because of a miscommunication with measurements. Then it came to me: Snickerdoodles! We could roll them in turbinado sugar and bake them, thus creating gingerbread snickerdoodles. The initial dough was too sweet, but then again, I’m not too much a fan of only tasting sugar. Anyway, at the end of the day they became my favorite cookie, so I’ll share the miscommunicated gingerbread cookie recipe.
1/2 cup butter (or vegan alternative)
1/2 cup coconut sugar (I begin with 1/4 cup and then add more, if needed, after adding the honey/molasses)
1/2 cup honey or molasses (or vegan alternative. Again, I begin with 1/4 cup and add more if needed)
1 tsp ground flax or chia seeds mixed with 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
2 cups flour (my choice would be spelt)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1-2 tsp cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg
Oven: preheated to 350F
Time: 8 minutes
1. Combine the flax or chia seeds with the milk in a small bowl and whisk vigorously with a fork. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream the margarine and sugar together until well combined. Add the honey, beat. Add the flax or chia egg, beat. Adjust the sweetness if desired.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients in the creamed butter mixture, slowly combine with a wooden spoon.
5. Roll the dough in 1 inch balls, and then roll in the turbinado/spice mixture.
6. Flatten cookies on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes in a preheated oven. They will look underdone, but don’t worry, they should look that way.
Hopefully that was clear enough! I am not very well versed in this food blogging stuff, as you can see with previous food blogging attempts. Haha.