A few days ago, I (Katie) was excited to see that one of my favorite food blogs, The Bitten Word, was asking for bloggers to participate in their 2015 holiday cookie challenge. I love this blog for their real-world reviews of cooking magazine recipes so I eagerly jumped on board. Friday morning they issued me my recipe to bake and post this weekend: Bourbon Bow Ties from The Food Network.
In Zach & Clay’s email giving me the assignment, they wrote:
We randomly selected this cookie and were surprised to find that it is…(don’t hate us)….fried. We’ll all have this adventure together!
Well, this was definitely an adventure and a challenge for me, since I have never deep fried anything. But I liked the fact that this recipe:
- didn’t really sound all that tough to make;
- didn’t sound too sweet – something that I was sure Clyde would approve of;
- used bourbon, which meant I could break away from the regular routine of cooking with wine and;
- reminded me of Christopher Kimball!
So I resolved to make these cookies and to love them. I mean, after all, everything fried tastes good, right?
I won’t make you wait on my review. As it turns out, not everything fried tastes good. It could have been my lack of experience with frying, but even so, I don’t recommend wasting any bourbon on these cookies. You won’t be able to taste it anyways.
Do these look like bow ties to you? Total visual fail in my opinion. The dough was very sticky and extremely awkward to form into bow tie shapes as recommended in the recipe, even after getting the hang of it. I ended up finding that simply cutting rectangles of dough out and twisting them twice in the center made for a more realistic-looking bow tie in the final product (and I don’t even think they were all that good looking).
For most of the cookies in the picture above, I used the recipe’s recommended method for creating the bow ties. Except for the bow tie in the very bottom left. That one was made using my method instead. MUCH easier!
A second problem cropped up quickly after I began frying these puppies up (yes, some of these cookies resembled puppies more closely than bow ties). The recipe calls to toss them in a home-made cinnamon sugar blend while the cookies are still warm, thereby coating the cookies. So that’s what I did and uh, did you see any sugar on those cookies above? No? Well pretty much that’s because the sugar would not stick!
The sugar blend was totally delicious though….I recommend that portion of this recipe whole-heartedly.
I didn’t like the naked cookies so I decided to try powdered sugar instead. Fortunately the lighter sugar clung like a blanket to these charlie brown Christmas trees. So I mixed in a bit of ground cinnamon, ground allspice, and ground nutmeg to the powdered sugar and went with that as a coating. Not too big of a deal, but a definite fail as far as the recipe goes in my opinion.
The thinner I could roll out the dough, the crispier the cookie. But thin dough still didn’t help hold the bow tie shape at all. The three cookies in the bottom left were made from extremely thin dough…and yeah, I don’t even want to try to guess what they look like. Certainly not bow ties!
On the plus side, these cookies did end up being fairly light in texture, which is a nice break from all the rich, heavy treats we usually consume around the holidays. However, the only flavors that came through were the powdered sugar and the canola oil that I used to fry them in. So. Meh. They are a lot of effort for an airy, one-dimensional cookie I’m afraid.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the actual cookies themselves, I really did have fun cooking them. I can now say I’ve deep fried something, I have an awesome batch of cinnamon sugar to make mulled wine syrup with, and I have a bunch of rorschach tests in the form of cookies to entertain everyone with today! 😀 (ETA: I had customers today who thought they were tasty treats, despite my negativity. I should probably be more forgiving to these bourbon one-legged frogs.)
If you’re interested to see a round up of the cookie challenge results that everyone comes up with this weekend, head on over to The Bitten Word starting tomorrow. Or go to Instagram and search for the hashtag #bittencookiechallenge. My recipe category has it’s own hashtag as well, #friedcookies. I’m looking forward to seeing if anyone else had better luck with these clouds, er cookies, than I did!