Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Makeover Story

Fig and Almond Honey Cake Batter

How does such sexy looking batter turn into something so ugly?

Smooth, luscious and velvety; it was the kind of batter that if proper restraint had not been exercised you would probably want to smear the stuff all over your face. Perhaps it’s just me and my odd fixation with batters that I could not resign myself to the fact that the fate of this exquisite batter would somewhat be, less than pretty. All I wanted was for them to grow up to be beautiful cookies, but alas it didn’t turn out that way and rather it is the butterfly that turns into the caterpillar.

This may all seem rather superficial, but are we not talking about food? If there is one thing I am going to get fickle about it is going to concern the appearance of food. If I can’t judge food by the way it looks then what kind of politically correct world do we now live in? You can harp on about how it’s not all about appearances and that it’s all about what’s on the inside that counts, but there’s enough of that malarky in the world for us not to be honest when it comes to food. I think if food looks bad then there is less chance that you will want to put it in your mouth.

I am probably going off the tangent here, and undesirable looking food could well be a whole other post. But the good news for these cookies is that their story does not end badly at all. Their tale is a little like the one of the frumpy housewife who used to be the pretty cheerleader in high school who goes to Ricki Lake seeking makeover help. In this case it is I that plays the role of Ricki, lucky me.

Fig and Almond Honey Cake Batter

In its heyday the batter was as irresistible as ever, nothing could go wrong, everything was peachy. Although a stint in the oven quickly leaves it dry, lacklustre and jaded. Luckily I (Ricki) and my team of experts came upon a stroke of genius to dress up these unsightly Fig Cookies and transform them into the Fig and Almond Honey Cookies (or Cakes) that you are now beholding. It’s a classic Cinderella story if there ever was one.

Fig Almond Honey Cakes

Fig Almond Honey Cakes

These cookies were meant for my mother and Aunt’s dinner party, so understandably there was no way they were going to the party all plain-Jane and unadorned. So with a quick wave of the magic wand, some honey syrup and a sprinkling of slivered almonds later, these plain cookies were transformed into something worthy of a dinner party. A collective sigh of relief is breathed by everyone, as that we all had very high expectations on how the cookies would turn out after baking. Lastly an important lesson is learned by all, that you cannot judge a cookie by its batter.

Fig and Almond Honey Cookies
(makes about 24 cakes)

Fig Almond Honey Cakes

2 cups plain all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp lemon zest
1 egg
3 tbsp yoghurt
½ cup honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup dried figs, chopped roughly

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sift flour and baking soda into a bowl.
In another bowl, combine butter, cinnamon and lemon zest,
In a small bowl, whisk together egg, yoghurt, honey and lemon juice.
Add the wet mixture to the flour and mix until incorporated.
Fold in chopped figs.
Drop two tablespoon mounds of batter into the prepared baking sheet approximately 5 cm apart.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the cookies have become a golden brown colour.
Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Honey Syrup and Almond Flakes

½ cup honey
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 cup slivered almonds

In a small saucepan over low heat, stir in honey and caster sugar until all the sugar dissolves and becomes syrupy.
Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool.
Dip cookies into honey syrup and then top with slivered almonds.
Place cookies in cupcake liners.

Fig and Almond Honey Cake Batter
A batter fixation


wheresmymind said...

Like you wouldn't turn the most plain object into something beautiful!

Brilynn said...

I love a happy ending!

Chloe said...

These look and sound so good. I am so in love with Figs. I had to get a fig square from our supermarket because I just couldn't imagine making it myself when it is just me eating it all. I might just have to make these though!!

Ellie said...

These are absolutely gorgeous! And what a clever way to fix unattractive cookies (though personally, I think they were quite pretty in a homely way before!)

peabody said...

Oh let them be ugly, it's okay...they look good to me both ways!

WhItE_PoPlAr said...

True enough... You cant judge the cookie from its batter! Your final products look yummy yummy, and it is the most important part, isn't it?

bea at La Tartine Gourmande said...

Very nice story Jenjen. It is funny to see sometimes something "ugly" turn into something "pretty". I wish it were true for a lot of things!!

Ivonne said...

Actually ... I thought they looked pretty good before. But the "after" is irresistible.

I'll take a tray of them please!

jules said...

nice work jenjen...I've often lamented how raw cakes and cookies end up disappointing after a spin in the oven

jenjen said...

wheresmymind- Awww thanks, just call me the cookie fairy godmother.

Brilynn- Me too it's a fairy tale to end all fairy tales!

Chloe- These are a great way to share your figs around, but really who would want to : )

Ellie- Thank you, they did look quite rustic and kind of scone-like, although they didn't look chi-chi enough for mum's dinner party.

Peabody- Maybe it's just me, I can't leave things alone until they look right... not that the other ones looked wrong. I think, they were just wrong for the dinner party.

White Poplar- Definitely I think how it looks contributes to how much you want to eat it. I think this goes for a lot of foods especially desserts.

Bea- Oh yes, these cookies had a happy ending but sometimes there is just no salvaging some foods.

Ivonne- Thanks, they didn't look too bad, I guess. They just didn't look as I expected. However their look did not affect their wonderful taste.
A tray is coming right up!

Jules- Whatever it is that happens to them in the oven I wish you could press rewind and just start all over. But I guess these ones did not end too badly.