This week, my friend Andrew surprised me with a set of Spider-Man cookie cutters, from Williams-Sonoma:
My immediate response, after profuse gratitude, was to show them to everyone in the office and gleefully plan some time this weekend to make Spider-cookies with Spider-Man and the Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus, and even though the cookies on the box are made by professional food stylists and probably not even made of cookie at all, mine were going to look something like that. Maybe they weren't going to be perfect (Maybe? I've been in my own kitchen, and I know what happens there, but we'll stick with a gentle term like "maybe" rather than admitting at the front end that my cookies would somehow make me sad even if they came out really well), but I would do my best and be happy with the results.
Which is why I'm now totally unhappy with them.
Things started out very promising. I opened the box, and washed and dried the cutter and stamps:
in case they were covered with oil from the factory or something. I always wash new cooking supplies before I use them.
After that, I started mixing my dough:
and then I committed the fatal mistake.
When I talked to my mom about this on Friday, and explained what I would be doing, my mom said, "Be sure to chill the dough before you cut out the cookies." We agreed that I should do this even if I just used sugar cookie mix from the grocery store rather than a recipe from one of my cookbooks, because this would produce the best results. When I got the cookie mix, though, and started reading it this morning, I noticed that it had a separate section for cut-out cookies, rather than drop cookies, and that section didn't say anything about chilling the dough.
Hmmmm. My mom says to chill the dough, but Betty Crocker says to make it and roll it out. Maybe my mom isn't familiar with this kind of mix? Maybe there's been some kind of innovation in cookie mix technology? Some sort of molecular gastronomy chemical that makes chilling the dough an unnecessary step?
Or maybe I should have listened to my mom.
The problem wasn't immediately apparent. I rolled out the dough and started punching out cookies:
and had a little bit of trouble transferring them to the sheet, but they still stayed mostly rectangular. I pressed the stamps into them, and everything looked good:
Until I took them out of the oven:
Those don't look at all like the cookies on the box. They taste fine, but I'm not wasting frosting on those.
Next time, I'll listen to mom.