Sunday, July 23, 2006

Dipping Etiquette

Milo and Vanilla Dipping Sticks

To dunk or not to dunk; I say, dunk all you want. Dunk breakfast, noon and night; coffee, tea or milk. Before you make all those vague expressions at the computer screen (you probably already have), I am talking about dunking your cookies, crackers, biscuits and the like into a drink. Whatever your preference, dunkers and non-dunkers alike are all accepted here at Milk and Cookies. The Romans did it with their biscotti and I’m sure the Victorian nobilities snuck in a few dips here and there during afternoon tea while no one was watching; everyone dunks don’t they?

this discussion-thread got me thinking about the whole nature of dunking and the protocol surrounding its execution. Should you dunk in public? Or should dunking be confined to the privacy of your own home? Should those happy to dunk, impose their dunking views on those who are opposed to dunking?

I was initially taken aback by
this fellow’s predicament. He was pro-dunking, although his girlfriend and her family were vehemently antagonistic towards any sort of dunking. A quandary of immense proportions I know. But when she imposes her non-dunking stance on him, is this then a violation of his freedom to be himself? Why should he alter his dunking behaviour for her and her family?

In this Western, pluralistic, post-modern society of ours, you would think that this type of strict social decorum had been done away with. Perhaps the company I keep is not high-brow and highfalutin enough to empathise with this family so antagonistic towards dunking, and perhaps I’ve been hanging out with the Eliza Doolittles of this world, but I was under the impression that this kind of social breeding had been, well ‘bred out’, apparently not. I realize that there is nothing wrong with being civil and refined, I am all for chivalry, good manners, not burping at the dinner table, the whole shebang. But snobbery, no. And this is what this young man’s predicament looked like.

However, I digress and I have probably lost you on all these tangential thoughts? The only reason why this discussion provoked such a response was because I had just finished baking these biscuits especially for dunking and I had thoroughly enjoyed sitting on my couch, feet propped up on the coffee table dunking away to my heart’s content. I felt under threat, like my cookie-habits had just been attacked. Although I am unmoved and resolve that even if I do choose to dunk, this does not in any way undermine my civility.

In fact I felt very cultured while eating these biscuits. Too hard to eat without submerging them into some form of liquid, these biscuits will allow you to enjoy dunking as proper etiquette. I hate to bake a biscuit that causes segregation, but simply put, there is no other way to enjoy them than to plunge them straight into a hot drink. By all means attempt to eat them dry as a bone, but I assure you, you will require the services of a dental surgeon afterwards. You have been warned.

Nonetheless I should get on with the recipe. Who knew I could talk so much about dunking a cookie? Yet again I have underestimated how verbose I can be about such trivial things. So whether you’re going to dunk or risk ruining your choppers, here is the recipe.

Milky Dipping Sticks
Recipe from Donna Hay
(makes 25 sticks)

Milo and Vanilla Dipping Sticks

185g unsalted butter
2/3 cup caster sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
3 cups plain all-purpose flour
2/3 cup malted milk powder
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
Add flour, malt powder and egg and beat until incorporated and a smooth dough forms.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll 1½ teaspoons of the dough into balls. Place on a lightly floured surface and roll each ball into 10cm logs.
Mark small slits in each log at 1cm intervals and place on baking tray.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on trays for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Serve as a dunking biscuit with hot drinks.


Anonymous said...

Whooo, this should bring them out of the wood work! These look fabulous and I'd be most happy to put my feet up and dunk with you and them!

Loney Kitchen said...

This looks like something kids would really enjoy. Can I use powdered milk instead of malted milk?

lobstersquad said...

I´ve always been allowed to dunk cookies and biscuits in milk or coffee, but never tea. It´s become almost second nature, but every now and then I´ll dunk a chocolate digestive in the clear tea, just to watch it melt inmediately, and it´s delicous.

wheresmymind said...

I wouldn't change my eating habits for a girlfriend...ok, maybe I'll keep my mouth closed! ;)

Lynda said...

I am definitely in the "dunking" contingent!

Helene said...

I have to admit I am careful not too dunk in ublic cookies that are too soft. Don't like fishing in my cup afterwards. As far as hard cookies are concerned...I am a dunker allright!

Alpineberry Mary said...

Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but I'm a non-dunker.

Jen said...

Tanna- thanks, I see you are in the pro-dunking party.

Loney Kitchen- I guess you can add powdered milk instead, however i'm not sure about the taste, but give it a go!

Lobstersquad- I grew up with a bunch of dunkers too, so that's why I think there's nothing wrong with it.

wheresmymind- stickin to your guns I see.

Lynda- you're not alone!

Helene- oh I totally agree, soft cookies are a no-no, unless, as you said, you want bits in your coffee, which is kind of disgusting.

Mary- it's all right, your secret's safe with me : )

Anonymous said...

I used to be an anti-dunker. Not so much for etiquette reasons, but rather for personal preferences. Why would I want a wet, soggy cookie? But I've since been introduced to biscotti and other hard cookies that only improve with dunking and I agree 100% with you! Some cookies just have to be dunked.

Catherine said...

Yummy! I could go for these!

Anonymous said...

ahah, I like the way you debate on this dunk cookies issues. I have to acknowledge that I have always disliked dunking cookies "tremper les biscuits" as we say in French, but it is more a matter of preference that belief! ;-) I do not like the taste of the food afterwards. In France, many people dunk croissants in their coffee or chocolate!

Anonymous said...

These look wonderful! So delicate, but so dunk-able - and I'm a chronic dunker! :)

Bron said...

I've always been a dunker, especially gingernuts and biscotti. It's not a habit I'm willing to change either.
To me a life without dunking, isn't a life well lived! ;-)

Jen said...

Natalia- yes I agree, dunking should only be done for hard biscuits only.

Catherine- Thanks

Bea- dunking croissants, I don't think I have ever done that. Each to their own I guess : )

Gilly- with these cookies, you have no choice!

Bron- I agree, biscotti and gingernuts are made for dunking.

Unknown said...

definitely a pro-dunker.. over here in Singapore, we love to dunk our fried doughsticks into local black coffee... the only acceptable way in fact!

dumoria said...

My father used to dunk buttered slices of bread in his tea. Even worse, an uncle of mine likes gouda/jam sandwiches in coffee. :shudders:

I have never been much of a dunker myself. The only cookies I dunk are speculoos (belgian cinnamon and brown sugar cookies) in milk or - very rarely - coffee. Have you ever tried those? They're excellent.

Thanks for the biscotti tip. I had absolutely no idea they were designed for dunking but would eat them nature anyway. My jaw will forever be grateful :D

Jen said...

eatzycath- fried doughsticks, that sounds wonderful! I need to get myself to Singapore very soon.

Dumoria- I think I may have to draw the line with dunking sandwiches. But those speculoos sound very apetizing and I must admit I have never heard of them.

syik s. said...

would love to try this recipe...

i dunked almost every biscuits and cookies i have... go dunker! :P