So okay, maybe Martha didn’t specifically lie to me about these things, but still. A lot of recipes are complete crap, and none more than baking recipes. After my Christmas-cookie-baking-fest on Thursday,* I came to the following conclusion that everything below is an out-and-out falsehood.
1. You need a huge amount of sugar to make cookies taste good
Almost every cookie recipe out there calls for way too much fucking sugar. Sugar is necessary for the baking process, creaming is totally necessary for the cookie texture, and sugar tastes really good, yes, but you really can reduce the sugar in most cookie recipes by a good 1/4 cup and the cookies will improve. I really think the sugar amount has increased because Americans are, in general, fatasses who love sweets. Combine that with our universal obsession with more being better, and you have your recipe** for obesity right there.
2. [Insert food here] is an acceptable butter substitute
This might be the Southerner in me talking, but never, ever use shortening (or, well, anything) when you have butter on hand. It is demonstrably an inferior product. I don’t care if it allows an extra one-sixteenth of an inch of lift on your cake, it’s simply not worth it to miss out on the glorious richness that even a small amount of butter imparts. Margarine? No. Just no. Butter-flavor Crisco? The door, I can show it to you. Did someone just suggest applesauce? Fuck you. I should block your IP address for that blasphemy. And before anyone asks: if you’re making biscuits, harden the fuck up. Use lard as Paula Deen intended.***
3. Refrigerator dough will last up to one month in the freezer
Have you ever tasted shortbread dough? Do yourself a favor and don’t even bake the cookies. Eat that nectar of the gods straight up, sliced from the freezer. It won’t last two days, let alone an entire month. If it does last a month, I suggest therapy. You’re clearly unable to enjoy yourself and have some restrictive tendencies. Even R, self-professed sweets-hater, eats shortbread dough. It’s just that amazing.
Oh, they meant it would last a month before it went bad? I already explained no one has the self-control to keep shortbread dough around that long. Clearly they either made that shit up after horking the sweet, delicious, cold dough down in a day, or they’re nuts enough to not eat all the shortbread dough. So, the person who spread that ‘fact’ is lying or insane. QED. My point stands.
4. Icing is a wonderful addition to any baked good
Bitch, please. A good cookie, cake, cupcake, brownie or what have you should be able to stand on its own. I’ve already briefly touched on my utter hatred of icing and frosting (except the lightly-sweetened cream cheese variety) here, but it deserves a revisit. Honestly, if you’re icing a cookie you have no soul. If you’re one of the weird fucks who claim that sugar cookies are only good if they’re iced, I strongly suggest you get a better sugar cookie recipe. Or revisit point number 2, because you’re probably using Crisco or Earth Balance or some other butter-free abortion, and it’s no fucking secret why your sugar cookies taste like cardboard. Seriously, people. If your buttery, sugary confection needs more sugar to taste good, either 1) there’s not enough sugar in the recipe, or 2) you’re doing it wrong. In all honesty, ignore number 1, it’s always number 2. Hell, even shortening-based cookies are not so bad that they need an icing supplement. Just thinking about eating an over-iced Santa shaped cookie (complete with little sugar balls for buttons, hat bobble and eyes) makes my teeth hurt.
5. No matter what type of cookie you make, you need two inches of space between each for a good bake
Liiiiiies. Unless you’re baking a drop cookie, like a chocolate chip, or a cookie designed to spread for effect, like a crinkle cookie, you can cram ’em in pretty close with no negative result. In fact, you get a positive one: you can bake a lot more cookies all at once. If that’s not A Good Thing, I don’t know what is.
*It went wonderfully, thanks, and I’ve only eaten about six.****
**Haaaa! See what I did there?
*** If you’re vegan you get a pass, because my sadness when shortening is used is less than my sadness when I’ve met someone who as never consumed an old-style Southern biscuit. Also, yes, Paula Deen is kinda sucky, I know. I’ll do anything for a laugh, or did you not read the ** note on this post?
****Only of relevance because I need to save enough to mail to my in-laws. Dammit.