Part XXXVI: Flotsam and GetSome
There’s power in cooking, ladies and gentlemen. And a big part of that power is being able to command a room, quite literally, with a few eggs and a couple tablespoons of butter.
When you have a room filled with people expecting magic to come from your stove, what you decide to make and who you decide to give it to controls the evening. Screw up, and the night is utterly ruined. They may not say it outright, but you know what that hushed grumbling coming from the hallway’s about. It’s about you, and your overcooked wooden chicken with overspiced lentils on the side. How dare you.
On the other hand, when you get it right, and all the flavor notes align in just the right galaxial gastronomic creation, it’s glorious. They still can’t shut up about you, but its for all the right reasons. You didn’t just make dinner, you made the night. You made memories so powerful they can be recalled just by smelling something that smells like the delicious stuff you made.
That’s a big reason why I do this blog…I’m addicted to that feeling. And trust me, it’s not out of altruism, although I do like making people full and happy and whatnot. But at the heart of it, its an ego-stroker. I’m guessing it is for all of you too, whether you want to admit it or not.
It’s OK to say it! Seriously, I’ll set up a nice therapist’s couch right there next to the oven, you can talk your fat little heart out. We both know why you do it. You like having people rave about your carbonara, you like it when people offer to do unsightly, probably illegal things for you for just one. more. cookie.
Here’s the worst part: you know it’s true, because you know the difference between cooking for that full room and cooking alone. Even if you make the most spectacular dish of all time, you know it’s just not the same if you’re in your crappy one-square-foot apartment eating it with your despondent cat. You need those people. You need the love, man. And you also need some Grapefruit Cookies with Lemon Glaze, so get in there and bake them, damnit.
Here’s what you need:
– A stick of butter (8 tablespoons), room temperature
– 1 and 1/4 cups sugar
– 3 cups powdered sugar (you might need more, I didn’t really keep track because I’m lazy)
– 1 egg
– 1 egg yolk
– 1 grapefruit
– 1 lemon
– 2 cups AP flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
Here’s how you do it:
Get your butter and sugar mixed until they’re nice and creamy, just like every other cookie recipe you’ve ever made. This one’s not special, it’s just delicious.
Add the egg and the half-egg in and mix until combined.
Zest your grapefruit, then juice it. All you need is 2 teaspoons of the zest and 1/4 cup of the juice, so you’re probably not gonna need the entire grapefruit. Not that it matters anyway, there’s not really much you can do with 1/4 of a crushed up, mangled grapefruit. But hey, at least now you don’t have to worry if you spill some of the juice on the ground like an idiot. (source: not personal anecdote at all)
Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir until it becomes cookie dough. I’m sure you’re familiar with it, the only unfamiliar part is gonna be when you actually bake it instead of just squeezing a tube of it into your mouth.
Wrap it up and put it in the fridge for an hour. Ordinarily you want to keep your dough refrigerated overnight to let those flavors get nice and cozy together, but I did this recipe twice, and the grapefruit flavor was much more present when I only kept it in the fridge for an hour. Of course, I might have just screwed it up the second time, but I’m still gonna stand by my decision. I’m a prideful bastard.
Preheat your oven to 350, then take the dough out.
Use a cookie scoop and make your dough into balls. You want the balls to be about an inch wide, so if you don’t have a scoop just use a spoon or your hands or a freaking tape measure or something. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, just close enough.
Put half the powdered sugar in a small bowl, and roll your dough balls in the sugar. You want them to be COMPLETELY coated in the stuff, so make sure you roll them until you can’t see the dough anymore, just a marvelous layer of diabetes-inducing sucrose.
Once that’s done, put the balls on a baking sheet about an inch apart, and stick ’em in the oven for about 11 minutes.
Let them rest for 5 minutes, move them to a cooling rack, and wait until they’re room temperature. That means completely cool to the touch, not just warm enough to eat.
Once they’re cool, you can make the glaze. Now, as you can see from the pictures, I made lime glaze. The recipe says lemon. I know it’s different, I didn’t suddenly go into a coma and forget how citrus works, so don’t panic. Like I said, I made this recipe twice; once with lemon glaze, and once with lime. Both were tasty, but the lemon glaze allowed for more of the grapefruit flavor to come out. Which may be a good or a bad thing, depending on how much you can handle grapefruit (shame on you if you can’t, it’s delicious. Don’t make me rant at you again about it). I recommend using lemon, but like I said, it’s your preference. I’m not gonna stand in your kitchen with a wooden spoon held over your head or anything.
Either way, making the glaze is unbelievably simple. Just take the rest of your powdered sugar and add the juice from the lemon. And stir. That’s it.
You want it to be a drizzle-able consistency (whatever the hell the actual term for that is), so if it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar until it gets there. You’ll probably need a lot more sugar than you think, so don’t be surprised if it looks like you’re adding a small mountain into the bowl. Also, make sure you make it RIGHT before you drizzle it on your cookies. Glaze tends to have a nasty habit of seizing up on you if you leave it sitting for too long, and then it becomes a hard, clumpy mess. Make it fresh, and you’ll be just fine.
All thats left after that is to make the glaze-to-cookie connection. I like to just use a spoon to make a few small-ish (hey, I’m not perfect) ribbons on top of each cookie, but if you like more, use more. And for the love of god, put down some wax paper under those cookies before you glaze them. It’ll save you the headache of having to scrape glaze and/or ants off your counter-top later.
Here’s another way to keep things clean: some clean summer beats, courtesy of Slum Village, John Legend, and the one and only Kanye West. Take a taste of this week’s song, Selfish:
As much as I like to goof around about this stuff (and it’s a lot, in case you haven’t noticed), the stuff you can do in a kitchen, and the things you can affect…they’re serious business. Maybe I’m being a little too grandiose here, but I still think it’s true. Cooking isn’t just throwing some flavored powders in a bowl and having a pie materialize. It’s destiny-altering stuff. It’s something that can change the way people think, that can tell you just as much about an entire nation as it can about your friend’s grandma down the street. And it can dismantle those expectations just as quickly.
Now that’s real power.
I’ll see you next time.