Sunday, July 5, 2009

As American as...

Apple Pie Cookies!

Happy post-Independence Day, everyone! I hope that your day was filled with good food, lots of fun, and few fireworks-related injuries.

Yesterday, my Dad decided we were going to have a "cookout." At our house, that usually entails Dad cooking outside, yes, but he's the only one who ever sets foot out the door. The rest of us stay inside and patiently wait for the fruits of his labor. So, okay: cookout. My father also invited my boyfriend--who accepted the invite--so this meant the potential for embarrassing stories and/or tons of really corny jokes and weird comments. The usual family-meeting-the-boyfriend silliness.

I figured that, in order to deflect attention from the crazy, I should cook up some sort of distraction--literally! So I made an old favorite, the Apple Pie Cookie.

It's been a long time since I first made these cookies. I think the last time might have been in Jessica's kitchen at UF--well over a year ago. But I pulled out my recipe and ran off to Publix (the most glorious grocery store on Earth!) for the essentials.

Unfortunately, while I did (finally) remember to pick up some nutmeg and allspice, I forgot the cream of tartar. (This was the first mistake.) I did not realize this mistake until I was halfway through transforming a gloppy mass of shortening and sugar into cookie dough. Now, if you've never heard of cream of tartar, you're probably not alone. It's a white powdery substance that forms on the inside of wine barrels. When the wine is emptied, the powder is used to stabilize egg whites and as an acid to enhance the leavening power of certain products like baking soda. You can find it in the spice aisle of all reputable grocery stores.

My lack of cream of tartar was a problem--leavening is kiiind of important in this sort of cookie dough. So I did a Google search of cream of tartar substitutes, and found that there really are no good ones...however, in a pinch, and in certain recipes, so long as you have an acid you should be okay. An acid like vinegar or lemon juice. Jackpot. In went 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. And I prayed that a) it would work and b) it wouldn't make the cookies taste awful.

I also had some difficulty with my apple pie filling. First of all, the butter nearly exploded out of the saucepan because the stove heated up too quickly. Then the sugars started to caramelize, even though I turned the heat allll the way down. But I managed to catch it in time, put in the apples, and transfer the filling to a nice, cold bowl.

The cookies were easy to put together, and I dusted the top of each with cinnamon sugar before throwing them in the oven.

They came out looking exactly as they were supposed to...and so I crossed my fingers and waited until my first taste-tester arrived.

The good news is that, despite the substitution of lemon juice for the cream of tartar, the cookies came out beautifully. They were indeed a hit (as they always were when I made 'em at UF).

I guess the sugary distraction worked, because a great time was had by all (myself included). Yesterday was honestly a perfect day.

The Cookie!


Enjoyment of the Cookie
The Boyfriend


The Father

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