Creativity and Ramblings from the heart of NYC and around the World

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bridging the East and West...One Cookie at a Time

I'm at the main factory that I work at...the factory that I spend the most time at - it's oddly like a second home. (Photo at left is an average shop scene in this town/area.) In talking at lunch yesterday, they asked me about baking cookies. Apparently since ovens are nearly absent from homes in China, so is baking cookies.
Mag, (factory head and friend), had Fu bring over her new deluxe oven to the kitchen where we eat lunch -- which she assured me has a temp guage-- and I was asked to find/print a recipe from the internet.

The oven...it's a deluxe toaster oven... And the temp guage...well it says “turn to 8-12 for cookies” on the front.

There was no getting around it - they wanted to learn to bake cookies!!
Many of the ingredients had to be bought in HK and brought in today with our team member Jessie...and there was a chance I'd need to do some creative substitutions (like making my own brown sugar) as so much of our standard basic cookie recipe is REALLY FOREIGN here.

You had to see them all yesterday --- SO EXCITED! They were already looking forward to taking turns watching each batch bake!! (Which won't be a problem with cooking capacity for 4-6 cookies per batch!!)

Monday morning rolls in and Jessie arrives with the special "imported" ingredients! Everyone looked over the strange ingredients as they sat upon the shelf all morning and thru lunch. About 30 minutes after lunch, Tony, Mag's husband and disbeliever that that little oven would work for cookies, popped his head in to see if I was ready to teach the ladies how to make cookies. (Apparent visions of cookies in his head!)

At lunch I'd surveyed the options and given a list of tools to bring up from Mag's kitchen.
Keep in mind that having never baked, there was no technique mentioned in the standard recipe... so each step was watched with great care. We had a 2.5 cup liquid measure, and a single tsp & Tablespoon measure available. By measuring the volume of a few of the drinking glasses I found one that was exactly 1.25 cups! Perfect for the 2.5 cups of flour! Again, showing the technique of NOT rapping the poor glass on the counter to settle the flour (what tough cookies we would have!) All eyes on the lesson and eager to get there hands on for a try!
As we mixed and added the excitement built. Apparently it takes two to stir (Fu on right and Mag needed to help on left!) I tell you - Mag was SO EXCITED, and Fu was in awe. The moment we mixed in the vanilla -- the OOOOhs and Ahhhhs began!!

They were nervous to have me alter the recipe too much -- it was standard Chocolate Chip Cookie batter -- but we were already replacing the choc chips (which they couldn't find in HK) for Raisons and Almonds. So we baked the first test cookies with the recipe as is. The Excitement in the room...even Tony came in to check on the progress!! Look at Mag -- she hadn't understood why I'd said only 4-6 cookies would fit on the sheet... in theory atleast 10 should fit...she couldn't BELIEVE that they MELTED and SPREAD!! WOW!! When I had shown Mag the recipe, she wondered what on earth they would do with 48 cookies? (She did not know the general rule of cookie baking...how good they SMELL!) It was amazing how people suddenly found reasons to come to the design room's kitchen... one by one. **grin** We were told you could smell them all the way outside on the quad!
After thinking they might be a bit sweet for their tastes, they took my suggestion to alter the recipe after all by adding some oatmeal. Now THAT was a COOKIE!! They liked the flavor EVEN MORE!!! As they came out of the little oven (6 at a time) each cookie was cut into fours and brought thru the offices. A few were saved in the freezer to share with the bosses (mine and theirs) come next weekend. Folks keep poking their heads in to see if there might be a bit left.


Verdict: A SUCCESS! They are already planning for the next type of cookie to make!





Even with all of that -- I have gotten a lot done today for work (so far -- the night is young!)
After all, I only had to help thru the first batch -- from there they were off and running!

Back to making hats I go!!!

2 Comments:

Blogger J. said...

ahh yes the Asian "oven" always a treat. Tell them that if they decide to bake more due to the way that they process the the flour over there they should always double the amount of flour given in a Western recipe. I can't explain why but it was a trick we discovered at school after a number of failed attempts, it does the same thing as the oatmeal.

I hope you are having fun and that all is well.

1:05 PM

 
Anonymous Nichola said...

It looks like fun was had by all!

10:04 AM

 

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