Tuesday, October 5, 2010
As sugar loving bakeoholics, we decided to gets the oven mitts on and tackle Bill Granger’s cookie recipes. After all, while the Sydney-based chef has made quite a name for himself on the café circuit, many of us Masterchef novices have not yet discovered just how easy and scrumptious his techniques actually are.
Chocolate Cookies from Sydney Food
Ah, the humble chocolate cookie, the lazy afternoon bake-off staple that shall forever fill our hearts and minds with gooey, cocoa goodness. Naturally, Granger’s once coveted recipe sounds like a piece of cake. However, the temptation to undercook the chunky mixture (in order to maximise batter brilliance) and double the chocolate chip quantity means the finished products don’t always match Granger’s rad descriptions. But immature improvisation aside, these creations, made with brown sugar rather than a traditional blend of brown and white, are Cookie Monster hash. With minimal kitchen mess and a tantalising aftertaste, they are best enjoyed with a book, open fire and pretty much anything.
Improvisation Potential: the more chocolate the better.
Anzac Biscuits from Sydney Food
While these unassuming lumps of oaty, golden syrup magic represent patriotism at its culinary best, Granger can’t quite be applauded for excessive originality. Realistically, the iconic combination of rolled oats, flour, coconut, sugar and butter hasn’t evolved that much since the cookie's initial wartime appearance. Like their namesake, Anzac biscuits rose to fame during World War I due to their hardy nature and seafaring durability, easily making the journey from the home front to the warfront. In the more hospitable kitchen environment, Granger’s Anzacs have a melt-in-your-mouth quality, withstand multiple dunks into milky tea and are remarkably easy to whip together. Although they lose points for generating a considerable amount of kitchen mess (in the form of stubborn batter residue), the biscuits provide the perfect excuse for donning an apron and are thus worthy of anyone’s love.
Improvisation Potential: try a sneaky handful of dried fruit.
Granny Mac’s Shortbread from Sydney Food
Anything requiring a rolling pin, cup of jam, glad wrapping and refrigeration inevitably results in epic amounts of kitchen chaos and some form of delectable, albeit grotesque, scroll-like creation. Clearly baking experience or a Scottish heritage is needed to pull-off this two-part recipe and avoid browning the delicate mixture. Nevertheless, knowing that shortbread takes on even the subtlest flavour, Granger really makes the most of two teaspoons of cinnamon and a dash of vanilla. Anyway, when were cookies ever about aesthetics?
Improvisation Potential: do what the man says on this one.
Lemon Madeleines from Bill's Food
This recipe produces the prettiest batch of batter around – light, fluffy and with an enticing hint of lemon. While classifying madeleines as cookies seems slightly dubious due to their overcooked, cake-like consistency, they are perfect with coffee (or lemon mousse) and thus require road testing. In addition to earning 200g of quaintness points for their miniature size and linguistic connection to a fictional French orphan, Granger’s signature dessert side is remarkably filling, making feeding the masses as easy as pie.
Improvisation Potential: add a dash of lime zest for a sensory adventure.
Choc Oatmeal Cookies from Bill's Food
Not recommended for anyone with a crippling chocolate addiction or penchant for porridge, lest overindulgence leads to a mini cookie coma. The six-step recipe involves creaming butter, folding chocolate chips and giving oats an unconventional, oven induced crunch. Although Granger’s methodological paragraphs lack the poetic edge of Wordsworth’s later work, they’re surprisingly easy to follow. Mess is minor, baking is swift and any chance to show off those cooking skills does wonders for the inner Michelin ego. But be warned, whilst Granger’s choc oatmeal creations look wholesome, they remain dangerously morish.
Improvisation Potential: mix white and milk chocolate chips and see what happens.
words and baking: Liz Schaffer