I see by your youngest's attire that the heat is on in your house now, too. Or, possibly, she should keep the oven door shut more - helps with the cookie baking, as well.
Just let him watch the swift. I can swing mine around forever...even without yarn and my 4 year olds love it!
Ha!! I love your kid - she rocks :)
Definitely a more heinous crime than lying under oath.
HA! See, knowing me i would've just eaten the cookie chips. Way to persevere.
I have to agree on the cookie recipe front. Can I suggest the Barefoot Contessa? Easy recipes...they always work and my boys can follow the instructions easily. As for the ball winder, can I borrow Hank one day? Too cute!
Did you turn on the heat?
Oh my! I have had the same luck with Martha Stewart recipes. There are a couple that I've tried that actually turned out and were quite good, but they were certainly the exceptions, not the rule. I just love the punch line at the end!
Haha. That is serious suckfulness. But I prefer to just make cookies from online stuff since people write reviews and such like so I know what to fix. XD
Ugh. I learned long ago that the only Martha recipes that ever turned out well were the ones she did on the show. But now her crafts are another story . . .
that recipe could very well have been wrong, as i have not seen it, but i have very butter heavy cookie recipe that i use from time to time and if you stick the cookie balls in the oven at room temperature, they turn out something like that. i always have to chill them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before i'm able to get anything resembling a cookie. then i learned, that's a generally good rule of thumb with baked goods involving a dough -- to chill first, that is. at least they got some cookies... anything more than none is success, i think, especially with a 13 and 7 year old manning the mixing bowl.
I agree with the Martha recipes, they never work for me either! Both of my kids love yarn. My five year old daughter wants to learn to knit! How cool is that?!?!?
Yep, I bet that's it. That first couple of messes I might expect at altitude (you have to mess about with baked goods recipes up here), but not where you are.
Hank winding hanks? Absolutely! And pictures, please, of his Hank-winding-hanks activities. He's about a year older than my Mr. R, so it's fun to see what he's doing.
BTW, has he shown any interest in learning the knitting part of playing with wool? Mr. R wants to learn, but we've run into some difficulty with his attention span. And I'm not the best teacher, frankly.
I find the 'Hank winding hanks' thing funny and I'm 22 and my name is Hannah and I'm 22. And I would agree with him that woolen goods are a better use of time/ money than baked goods.
So many funny things - Hank winding hanks...the ball-winder love (I feel it too), but the cookies! I HATE it when the recipies don't work - Martha should be shot for misleading the innocent like that. Good recovery, Harlot.
Ohh, those poor cookies. And kids. The first cookie monster photo had me in stitches, though.
Good for them for seeing the process through and solving the problem, rather than scrapping the whole project. I guess the McPhee genes do tell.
Man- I hate it when that happens! At least you were able to rescue a few cookies though and I'm sure the batter tasted good the whole time ;-)
This only confirms my suspicion that no, it was not merely the inadequate experience and equipment of four college students that led those multiple batches of cookies from a Martha Stewart magazine (intended as holiday gifts) to be both ugly and inedible. That was quite an expenditure in those days, as well. I felt rather vindicated when she went to jail. What I wouldn't give for photographs of those so-called cookies.
if you're a hardcore knitter and you're knitting every day and used to reading patterns you can often find the errata before you knit up the mistake, right?
i guess if you're a hardcore baker you'd find this mistake too? as much as she may try to position herself this way, martha's not exactly the debbie stoller of the baking world. i wonder if publishers post errata for cookbooks. if not, they should!
Why don't cookbooks have errata??
Gosh, I've never had a problem with Martha's baked goods--her candy on the other hand, well.
That's another story. I love me some Hank stories. Thanks for the update, he's terrif!
Betcha you could use the "bin" cookies as fuel. Heck, if you can burn dried cow patties for warmth then you could toss those Martha-Stewart-cookie-lava patties in the fireplace to redeem them a bit. Ugh. Cheers to Sam for sheer willpower. Might be some good vindication to watch those cookies get lit up. :)
That is definitely the pits. May I suggest Maida Heater's books in the future? Great tasting cookies (and other baked goods) and almost never a disappointment. (I recall something with chocolate and cinnamon - but what was I thinking - I don't even like that combination.)
That ball winder is really flying!
Sounds like Martha to me...giving you a recipe for Duck Confit or something, but failing in the simple things such as chocolate chip cookies.
Good to hear that Sam is persistent though, because I would have just tossed out the batch and burned the recipe.
I do enjoy the cookie recipes in The Joy of Cooking, they're very simple, but they always come out fantastically. I made the Peanut Butter Cookies the other night and they were like little peanut morsels of heaven.
Ok Sam, you made me laugh!!!
Being a frugal baker myself, it burns me up to waste ingredients (after ruining huge amounts of time and sugar, I no long make divinity candy).
A moment of silence for all those chocolate chips...
So sorry about the loss of all the cookies, that's just criminal.
Hank winding hanks... can't wait to see it!
Funny! Your daughter takes after you.
It's a sad fact that publishing cookbooks has nothing to do with being able to come up with reliable recipes. It's another fact that no one has ever been able to improve on the cookie recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag.
Good luck, and good cookies, to you and all your loved ones.
"I bet this is why Martha went to prison." --I just peed my pants. LOL!
I need to know - did you turn on the heat? I have been getting such a kick out of the furnace wars.
Oh my - It sounds like I'm in the minority when I say I've never had a problem with Martha recipes. Mind you, some of them are just not appealing to me, so perhaps the ones I haven't tried are the ones that don't work out??? I have a ginger chocolate cookie recipe of hers that always wins rave reviews when I bring out the cookies. If you'd like it, let me know, I can send it along. There's also a fabulous recipe I got from my sister - they were my dad's favourite and we used to make huge batches of them to freeze for him. As for Hank - what a sweetie, at some point I'll bet his interest widens to include the sticks/string portion of wool fun. Can't wait to see what his first project is and how quickly he catches on with such a great teacher.
You are SO right about Martha's baking issues.
To anyone thinking of making the dried apple and cherry oat bars on the back page of the November issue of MSL - DON'T DO IT! I followed the bleeding instructions to the LETTER, yet all those very expensive ingredients were rendered completely inedible when combined according to the recipe. Be forewarned.
Oh, dear. I've never tried any Martha recipes, I appreciate the warning about her baked good recipes.
Personally, I like Cook's Illustrated for baked goods. They're definitely NOT low-fat but are generally excellent, and usually good about pointing out places things can go wrong in the process.
In my household, we have a fool-proof way to baking cookies = Pillsbury Cookie Dough Tube. Perfection everytime!
Oh, poor Sam... I'm laughing, but sympathetically, believe me. Although she's learned an important lesson: never trust those fancy cookbooks. [g] If she stays mad, tell her it happens to every good cook, more than once. She's joined a vast club!
And I find the idea of Hank winding hanks pretty darned funny too. In fact, if you repeat it several times, you end up giggling helplessly. Or is that just me? Go Hank!
hahaaa! I assume from that rather fetching last name you have that theres scots blood in the family...because that kinda humour screams it! Wow thats made me laugh so much your daughter is spot on...or should be LOL ;)
Rofl! At least she's got your sense of humor to save the situation, and passing it down to Hank in the process.
Love the ballwinder pics and watching him grow up with that thing. Go Hank go!
I doubt she turned the heat on.
We've seen the size of her kitchen. If you have multiple batches of cookies going, and you're getting steamed up about their demise as well, I'd start losing layers fast.
Hank is too cute.
And Sam just cemented (no pun intended) the reason why there are no Martha Stewart cookbooks in my house. And technically only her line of towels in the RV and only until another brand comes up with that shade of yellow. Sigh.
I have found Martha Stewart recipes often seem to have too much of at least one ingredient. Usually it is a seasoning, but I guess in the cookies it was butter. I'm eager to see more progress on the sunrise circle; am thinking about adding it to the queue.
I have to agree with the whole MS thing. I am a very frequent and pretty darn good baker using those precision techniques you mention. But I DO NOT use ANY Martha Stewart recipes anymore. I have never before had so much trouble with baking recipes. I'm convinced the recipes are NOT tested and/or that there are numerous typos. Haven't made her stuff in over 7 years after multiple attempts at the same recipe. There are much better books out there!
My mother in her middle age, took up cake decorating for a living. She made many thousands of gorgeous wedding cakes, birthday, anniversary, etc., all in our home and in the beginning, without airconditioning. One of the first times she attempted a wedding cake was in August. August in St. Louis is HOT. VERY HOT. She mixed the layers, which required her to double some of the ingredients, put them in the pans and baked them the required length of time. When they came out, they hadn't risen and were very strange looking. So she started over and got the same results. After a third attempt failed, she realized that she hadn't doubled the liquid. She did and behold, the layers rose and looked great. When she turned them out of the pans, they stuck, broke up and were useless. My wild Irish mother simply picked up the pieces and the pans and flung them out in the back yard. The rest of us headed for shelter!
I teach jr. high. Yes, thank you for your condolences, but I did choose this profession. No, really.
Please let your daughter know that I didn't think a thirteen year old could possibly make me laugh after the day I've had. I was so wrong. What awesome kids!
I need to go wind a ball of alpaca now to finish bringing my blood pressure down. Hmmm . . . and maybe eat a cookie too! Thank you, Sam and Hank!!!!
i totally wouldve eaten the rest!!
I hope this doesn't make me sound likea baking snob... but I only use recipes that give me my flour amounts in weight.
Flour, as we all know, settles/fluffs up (technical word) so easily that making a recipe by volume only is just asking for trouble.
And yes, do remind Sam/Hank that all great cooks make horrendously awful ugly inedible mistakes, they are indeed in fine company.
Thanks for this post - I've had the EXACT same thing happen with one of her chocolate chip cookie recipes - and I'm pretty good with cookies. I must admit, however, that it did not occur to me to add more flour - well done! They look good.
Too true, Sam, too true. That Martha gets a little too uppity when it comes to baking.
Congratulations for winning out in the end.
P.S. Please pass the cookies.
I love Hank at the ball winder!
Such a cutie petutie!!
And the cookies..... Poor Sam, Martha should have got a couple more months....:~)
I should e-mail you my chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe. There's more to them than regular cookies, but the flavor's better. I looked at a MS chocolate chip cookie recipe once and laughed--it was massively wrong on amounts, from my experimentation. It's not Sam's fault at all.
out of the mouth of babes....
I love this: "simply reeks of vanilla extract and impending doom." It's beautiful and it has that horrific eternal-verity resonance.
We live in very different households.
bad cookies (ie cookie chips) can be crumbled, and made into topping for icecream.
they can be chopped up and added to fruit desserts
(in both cases the moisture (from the icecream or fruit juices soften and make the hard crunch chips edible)
they can be covered with milk, nuked, and made into cookie pudding. (in a pinch, if your mother isn't looking, cookie pudding can be eaten as a breakfast food.)
we've never had a cookie so bad that it couldn't be used (EATEN) in some way!
What is it with 7/8 year olds and ball winders???? My 5 and 8 year old boys beg to play with the "contraption" as they call it. Heaven forbid if I get out the spinning wheel, then all is lost.
And that last batch looks great! Around here, we're nothing if not frugal, all baking oops go to the chickens, who produce more eggs to be used in new baking projects ;)
Oh, and Allrecipes.com has an awesome pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe, a hit at our house!
3 or 5. I could see how that would happen. The best chocolate chip cookie recipe I know of is on the package of the toll house chips.
Please tell Sam that her comment led to my monitor being bathed in tea. Well done! =)
I am reading this at work and I laughed out loud at the end bit there!! (It's okay, I'm sure they all already think I'm crazy.)
Sam - I agree completely ;)
I would eat those gooey cookies and love every minute of it. Especially warm from the oven, with vanilla ice cream.
Please let Sam and Hank know that I too have had "issues" with some of Martha's baking recipes. And I consider myself a baker and not a cook - BIG difference.
Loved the post and yes Sam this is why she went to prison (out of the mouths of Babes).
Looks like it could have been too much butter.
Did she sift the flour before she measured it? That would account for a large discrepancy. If theres a lot of air in the flour less will fill a cup.
Now Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipies are magical. Her books are definately tough. I have made tons of cookies and never had to use five cups of flour!
That is why I always eat the dough straight. Too much room for error in the oven, but the dough is always good.
Ahhh...the wisdom of a teenager. Just one more reason to add to my "why I don't like Martha" list.
I like Carrie's assesment. Just eat the dough.
Adding my culinary comments to those above...if Sam used margarine instead of butter, that would account for some measure of spreading...but definitely not what seems to be the problem there. I would highly recommend the King Arthur Flour's COOKIE COMPANION. Not just one recipe for chocolate chip cookies, but SEVERAL ... chewy, crisp, crunchy, etc. etc. I have yet to have any disasters with their recipes.
BTW...Hank is cute.
Tell Sam to stay away from MS's Christmas Stocking knitting patterns as well. Obviously no test knitters ever made those!!! :/
biggest martha problem is that she is using american flour and we are using canadian flour! I know this sounds weird but our flours are totally different, with completely different types of wheat and amounts of gluten.
AMERICAN FLOUR SUCKS. there. i said it.
it has no gluten, nothing rises and it makes canadian recipes weird. how do i know this? I attempted to make (the world's worst) cinnamon buns while living in colorado. I couldn't figure out why they wouldn't work until I spoke to a local baker and he explained the flour situation. Therefore american recipes are actually created for their weird-o flour and our flour can make things all wonky.
Someone who claims to be perfect is not to be trusted (unless His pronoun is capitalized, of course) and Martha Stewart is one of those people.
And Hank? I wish we lived close enough to set up a playdate. In five minutes, Auntie Steph's living room would look like that spidery art thingie we saw in Toronto.
Priceless, I dare you to send it to Martha.
"Why she went to prison?" Hilarious! Glad the cookies came out alright in the end.
Oh and I WANT YOUR KITCHEN! That fab stove? The gorgeous tiling? Let me know if you ever plan on moving. I will pay double the asking price... just for the kitchen.
It almost started to sound like a Dr. Seuss book! Way to go Hank!
Perfect comment!!! It certainly makes more sense than the supposed reason they actually did send her to jail. I have had that experience with recipes & really understand Sam's frustration.
Martha is pretty infamous for the inaccuracy of her recipes. Her first cookbook was given to a professional test kitchen and only 2 of the over 100 recipes turned out when followed to the letter. Although she has improved somewhat I've never heard of a baking recipe that turned out as promised. So, let Hank and Sam know it definitely was NOT them. It's that Martha. She's trouble. ;)
Oh man, this happens to me every time I try to make chocolate chip cookies. It's like the stars have to align. Next time I'm adding more flour, darn it all.
Your post just gave me a brilliant idea. Brilliant, I tell you. Seeing how much fun Hank was having with that ball winder leads me to believe that my son, mechanically inclined as he is and only 1 year younger than Hank, would LOVE a ball winder for Christmas. Wouldn't that be an absolutely wonderful thing for me to get for him? And of course I'd get to use it too, since I'm ball-winder-less at the moment. What do you think of my idea?
Oh, and thanks for the explanation as to why I have such trouble with Martha's recipes!
I think I maybe a state side relative :)
hahahahahaha. thanks for a much needed laugh.
but your daughter is dressed like *that* during furnace wars?!?!?! hardy genes indeed............
Well, no, but it's certainly why she should still be there!
I know exactly how Sam feels. I baked a Pumpkin Pie for Bonfire Night celebrations only to be distracted from the important instruction to turn the oven down to 190deg at a critical moment by my three year old who was happily consuming half a pound of raw pastry! Isaac was not put off by the burnt offering that emerged from the too hot oven (while jam tarts were burning merrily away inside said oven) and proceeded to scoop pumkin pie mixture from burnt tart with fingers. He is my type of critic.
The cookies look great. Perhaps I should invest in ball winder to entertain a certain young man in my life.
Funny, very funny. I would never attempt any sort of Martha recipe, I just don't think I have it in me.
Hank has grown!
I had a problem with her Gingerbread cookie recipe from the special issue of cookies recipes.
However, I always get rave reviews from her toffee cookies recipe (of course I substitute raisins for the dried cranberry, throw in whatever kind of chips I have on hand and add a cup of walnuts). They are chewy and crisp and everyone says that they can't just eat one.
Hank is seven now - wasn't he just five last month? Will he have hanks for Hank on his Chridtmas list? That would be handy.
I think the lack of attention to the details of her empire definitely is the reason Martha went to prison and the cookie recipe is symptomatic of that.
I've never baked from her books and only had the first couple. I stopped buying them when I found that the few recipes I like from them were copied from Elizabeth David with not enough change to be worth the pretty pictures.
As far as I am concerned MS's credibility was destroyed when I saw here for the first time on a Thanksgiving special where she insisted on turkey shaped soup bowls for the dinner for 40 she was serving in her handy clean and decorated barn - oh, and the turkey was home smoked in a smoker built by her brother (or some thing like that).
Good save on the cookies, though.
That's too cute! I can't wait until my boyfriend's niece is old enough so that we can teach her how to knit. :) Question about ball winders, they seem to be worth having, but what would everyone suggest? I'd like something not expensive but solid. I've heard a lot of different opinions and I'd still like a few more. :) (Side note: this is my first comment after reading the entire blog start to finish and reading "Knitting Rules!" and I really want to say thank you, you've inspired me to start knitting socks.) Good job on the cookies! They look delicious. I probably would have given up after the first time and just eaten the cookie dough. :X
She definitey has her mother's sense of humor! I love it!
I have never used an MS recipe, so I only have this to say...kill tech editor kill kill kill. Oh that and Alton Brown is a genius. I bake at >5000 feet and my cookies used to always look like batch #2 until I got his "I'm just here for MORE food" book. The insights into the function of the various ingredients that go into making cookie perfection are priceless. Now my cookies don't spread at all unless I want them to. With Alton's help, I am now the master of my cookie baking universe (and muffins, and cakes, etc.). Unfortunately (or not) my knitting habit has cut into my baking habit...also unfortunately while I have seen the results of this on my feet (pretty, pretty socks) I have yet to see them on my...arse.
Not to defend the Martha -- but flour can actually be rather tricky. In my experience making much bread (and my ass shows how much I love the bread), flour can hold humidity and you need to adjust accordingly. Now, I suck at what you with you very different climates, but I know I always have to be careful with adding flour. Does this explain 2 extra cups? Perhaps no, but it often explains some of my more 'creative' cooking.
(or perhaps that's just in MY house.)
I never considered the name Hank for either of my boys - looking back, I think I may have missed a golden opportunity to make myself laugh everyday! (Hank winding hanks....)
A couple of the reviewers at Amazon panned this book because of the many errors and omissions -- items in the directions that were not in the ingredient list and vice versa, lack of baking time and/or temperature, out-and-out errors such as you found. For someone who is as controlling and perfectionista as MS, it boggles the mind.
Good recovery, though. Now I want some cookies. And, wow! has Hank grown!
That's so weird! Is this the Baking Handbook? I have that one and every recipe I've tried has been a keeper. Huh. Must've been a bad alignment of the planets thing. Sorry to hear about the loss of all those chocolate chips!
Darn Martha! Darn her to heck! Prison didn't even wipe away any of that "I'm better then you" look off of her.
And if it is the books fault! UGH!! That happened to me this weekend - the ONE time I said 'trust the pattern' - it screwed me. Big Time.
When I was in kindergarten, my school put out a cookbook for a fundraiser and each student was asked to submit their favorite recipe. Of course that meant that all the parents submitted their favorite recipe. For some reason, my mom asked me to write my own recipe (she is a bit of a free spirit). All I can remember is that my recipe for chocolate chip cookies called for some shredded cheddar cheese and asked the baker to put the cookies in a 500 degree oven.
I have no idea what posessed my mother to take this tack, because she is truly an excellent baker herself. But years later, I still wonder if any poor soul actually tried to make my monstrosities.
But Martha, not being in kindergarten, ought to know better.
1) When did Hank become SEVEN???
2) Did you turn the heat on, or is Sam hanging out by the hot oven all day so that she can wear her sleeveless shirts?
The next generation needs to be trained in the ways of ball winding, my 3yr old brother loves to watch me use the ball winder, but I'm not quite ready to let him touch...
From all I've heard Martha is a bit baking challenged...
oh and only now am I getting more open to calling my 'Henry' - 'Hank' but I won't admit it to the hubby!
I couldn't resist commenting. My almost 7 year old son and I spent an hour or so carding bright red cormo fiber for his hat on Sunday. He loves turning the crank on my drum carder. You have to start them young :-).
I burst into laughter as I read the last line.
Maybe you can point us in the right direction of the recipe and we can all try and figure it out.
Sam- I agree. I think that is why she went to prison. The recipes were never tested. I too have had problems with the M. Stewart recipes. Best laugh I've had all week. THANKS!
Haha, good for Sam!
Also, you can be 24 and named ashpags and still think Hank winding hanks is pretty funny. =)
If you knew me personally you would know I am quite famous for my cookies. The recipes are not mine, but that of Crisco. I don't know if there is a vegetarian equivalent, but I swear by recipes with butter flavored Crisco. Why? Butter melts and spreads the dough, causing it to thin and brown too much on the edges. Adding flour is easier than taking out butter. Some cooks swear that the butter has to be cool enough when you use it to counteract this. Too cool and it won't mix well. I just adapt my cookies for Crisco rather than butter, or use a Crisco recipe. Laugh all you will, but I won a First Place Ribbon at the Indiana State Fair with cookies made with Crisco.
You can never go wrong with the recipe on the Nestle Tole House Chocolate Chip bag. Now, in full disclosure, I do work for Nestle, and I am a classically trained pastry chef (as well as a food scientist). But it truly is the best recipe. I would also suggest a couple of things: chill the dough before baking (suggested already), do not grease the cookie sheets (it causes them to spread), use parchment paper to prevent sticking and don't beat the butter and sugar too long (whips too much air into the cookie which will cause spread). And lastly, stay away from Martha's baking recipes :)
i'm with sam ... martha sucks and her inability to write a recipe book that mere mortals can follow SHOULD have been the reason she went to prison if it wasn't already.
I was wondering about Hank just the other day - we haven't seen him here in a while.
And so so many comments about Martha. Well, you guys really shouldn't feel bad about the cookies. I'm almost but not quite practically a professional baker and I NEVER use Martha's recipes for baked goods anymore. There are often problems and if there aren't then I find the results kind of 'bland' and 'lack luster'. But boy oh boy, the pictures sure are pretty aren't they?
And all I can take away from that story is that Sam is wearing a sleevless shirt in your house...the house with no heat.
I have a nephew who is turning 8 tomorrow. He also loves the ball winder, and also adores my swift. Yes, he handles the skein-to-ball transition beautifully.
He also is using - with remarkable adeptness - my 48" Le Clerc floor loom now. Pushes the petals with the tips of his toes, and produces honest-to-God patterns from the Margarete Davis book. Since I'm the only weaver in the family and I didn't teach him that, I don't know quite when he figured it out.
Give your nephew the swift. It's good to let them learn how to do new things. I'm going to teach Ian to knit on his next overnight.
You know, I always wondered about that... (not enough to not make the Martha poncho for a beloved relative who had just been released from house arrest, but it had crossed my mind...)
This is why I stick to the recipes I know will work out everytime. aka the Nestle Tollhouse recipe
I agree with Sam, that must be the reasoning behind Martha's jail time. I hate when cookies don't turn out...makes me SO mad >:(
LOVE your stove/oven combo. Is it dual heat? (Gas range and electric oven) I am in the market for new appliances; do you recommend what you have? aside from the whole cookie thing...
I trust Martha to do crazy, useless, pretty things with glitter and a hot glue gun. She does not, however, get to come near my baked goods.
Hank is a couple of years older than the youngest kids I've taught to knit. Just nudgin' ya.
I love baking and very much dislike MS, we dont watch her or have any of her books nor any of her products, :-). As for Hank boy is he getting big, i agree it seems like the last time you mentioned hin he was just turning 5, since when did he become 7, lol! My hubby is my ball winder intil we can afford one and i imagine he will be the one to operate it :-) Way to Go Sam you are just like your mom!!
I needed to laugh like that! Thank you, Sam, for the gut-busting laughter!
I remember buying a copy of Joy of Cooking when I got out of college and was on my own and being sorely disappointed in how family favorites turned out. So I carried the darned thing home and was bracing Mom to find out how she altered the recipes and I was going to makenotes - and she told me she used the exact receipe out of the book. Then we took down her circa 1950 copy and compared them and a light dawned in the East - the recipes had been very much altered. And I went looking for an old copy of JoC. Martha's recipes never seem to work out as well as old JoC or NYTimes cookbook recipes. Eyecandy pictures and great ideas, but I've had more flops than successes.
Then there's the other evil that happens with cookbooks. Knowingly giving an altered recipe - notoriously, in the South, the receipe for benne wafers in Charleston Receipts is a complete fraud.
And that's a crime that should be punished - Sam was right.
Hank continues to be seriously cute.
I like your Sam's thinking.
And why doesn't Martha have an errata page, hmm?
Bless her heart. I had a similar experience with the directions that came with the new waffle iron. 1/2 a cup of batter is TOO MUCH and made a huge mess in the first go round. I was so mad that I wrote them an email (but without all the swear words and calling them liars).
I agree with Sam wholeheartedly and if that isn't the reason they need to get her back in court.
I've had recipes that have turned out like that. But kudos to Sam and Hank for working it all through and figuring it out. And do take pictures of Hank winding hanks.
I'm guessing (judging from Sam's attire) that either Toronto is going through a heat wave, or that you have turned on your heat. My money's on the latter.
Oh, and :-P to the person who has never had any problems with Martha's baked goods.
Oh - I hate to see the kids have a bad baking experience. I've got a terrific recipe for chocolate chip cookies on the blog and it's a winner. Better luck next time!
I just got a ball winder for my birthday on Saturday and didn't get to touch it because my muggle husband was playing with it. It made me think of Hank, and I was just wondering what he was up to.
Thanks for the great laughs and pics.
Oh, man, I have bitterly scraped chocolate chip cookies off a tray a time or two myself, and it is infuriating. Glad at least one set came out well.
I've had experiences like that and it's completely maddening.
For all things baked (food products NOT recreational vegetation), my go-to source is the folks at King Arthur Flour--I've yet to find a bad recipe from them. They produced a cookie cookbook sometime recently, too.
There's also a very small book called something like 50 Best Shortbread Recipes which is hands-down wonderful.
I can't believe the cookies made it this far! In my house, everyone chows down on the dough long before there's even a hint of a thought of baking them! Well, not really - some cookies actually do get baked - but I have to threaten everyone and hide all the spoons.
I once made a Martha three-layer chocolate cake for my husband's birthday. The cake was horribly dry after following directions. Oh well, I'll make the chocolate frosting she recommends to go with it. Um, how about chocolate lava. That stuff never set up and I had three layers of cake slip-sliding off each other and frosting running off the cake stand. I finally jammed a couple of wooden spoons down through the center of the thing to hold it together, wrapped it all in plastic wrap, and went to bed. The last time I made a Martha cake recipe (but I must admist her pumpkin bread is fabulous).
NOT funny when this happens. I'll bet you hear from someone on Marth's staff or maybe even herself on this matter, if she gets wind of it. Hank hankering a hank of yarn. Lordy where does this funny funny way of writting come from ? Thanks for the laughs
I didn't even realize there were chocolate chip cookie recipes that didn't come printed on the back of the Nestle' bag.
I feel your pain, Sam. Cookies that don't turn out are truly aggravating. I swear by Betty Crocker--the book I got in 1971, probably before your mom was born!
Martha really broke her own rule with that one.
This takes me back about a decade and a half, to a big old bohemian household I lived in with about sixty five roommates. One Christmas someone decided to bake cookies, batches and batches of them, and entirely forgot the flour. They slid right off of the cookie pan too - only difference is, we ate them because we were so poor.
Thanks for the memories...
From the mouths of babes...
Hank got tall! My daughter still calls wool "knittening" sometimes after having read a Hank post way back. ("Will you make this knittening into a pink hat for me?") I can commmiserate on chucking perfectly good ingredients away. Few things make me angrier than tossing food away. Wasted ingredients and time--poor Sam must have been really frustrated. Personally, I swear by Anna Olson. I've never come across a dud recipe of hers (and I bake a LOT).
Love the blog post and all the comments. With regard to MS - be forewarned that her gardening/horticultural advice has many errors as well. I suppose you can use the ideas, just cross check the information someplace else please. Pictures are pretty tho...
I usually make bar cookies as they're quicker, and the regular cookies I make are from Diane Mott Davidson's books (Ice-capped Gingersnaps from Tough Cookie are the best non-chocolate-chip cookies EVER, according to my everlovin' husband).
I tried a Martha cookie recipe and wasn't happy with it either. Her main course, side dish and soup recipes are much better.
Good girl, Sam, good girl!!!
I'm with you Sam. The woman annoys me to no end and I have more than once dubbed her The Anti-Christ. I accidentally had her Halloween show on last week and had to turn it off. Just had to.
I was wondering if you are going to share you rotating rib pattern. So don't faint, but I don't really like knitting socks, but would love to make a pair using your rotating rib pattern.
This was just too funny. Once I saw the photo of the lava cookies, I could not stop laughing! That was cool!
I vaguely remember Martha was exposed ages ago for for leaving ingredients out of her cookbooks on purpose because she really doesn't like sharing recipes.
Being secretive is an interesting trait for a cookbook writer.
It is most likely one of a few things (or all of the things) that made the cookies fall flat (and off the pan).
A) Flour. It's different in Canada versus in the US (gluten and all that), and it holds humidity.
B) Martha's recipes DO require finesse and not the simple reading and repeating of instructions (although, I would say that baking should be finesse-free LOL)
C) The new warmer temperature in your house melted the cookies. ;)
Glad to hear you won, and your nefew is by far the cutest little ball winder I've ever seen!
I've heard that cookbooks have more mistakes than aby other books because you can't tell by looking at the recipe whether 1T has been changed to 1t. (At least in knitting someone can see if that math adds up!).
Also, "beyond edible?" Butter, sugar, flour, eggs, chocolate chips... Spoon!!
My almost 4 yr old loves to "make donuts" with the ball winder. I learned the hard way though that he does not have the stamina for 400 yards of lace weight (gets messy without a swift).
Sounds like a pretty big mistake in the cookie recipe!
I hate to admit this, but...I've read Just Desserts, the unauthorized biography of M.S. I remember them saying that most of the recipes weren't tested in test kitches, they just put them in books with no idea whether or not they'd actually work. Not very considerate, if you ask me!
I've never tried a MS recipe, and after reading the other comments here, I doubt that I ever will. That said, my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe is from a cookbook I got when I was in college, called "The Munchies Eatbook". It's loaded with recipes that are easy to make and totally yummy. The chocolate chip cookie recipe calls for two 12-oz. bags of chips, which results in just enough dough to hold the chips together.
Hank is really cute with the ball winder. I'm sure he'll do fine with the swift, too.
I once saw a t-shirt that read:
"I want to be Martha. The bitch can do anything."
Your nephew is cute!! It is good you are teaching him how to handle yarn at a young age :)
Someone asked you a while ago how you knitted some fair isle gloves so fast and it amazes me how fast you knit things. It takes me about 4-6 weeks to make an adult sweater (I have been knitting for about 3 yrs, I started knitting while on deployment to Iraq). How long does it take you to knit a sweater?
I am glad to see the cookies worked out. I have had some cookie disasters too!
Oh my! The apple did not fall far from the tree, I see. Your daughter has both great insight and a fabulous sense of humor. I'll be giggling over her remark the rest of the day.
Martha's baking blows. It's either bland or always turns out crappy. I far prefer the baking recipes you get from those books that church/club ladies sell as fund raising stuff. They usually turn out much better. Also the recipe off the back of the Chipits bag rocks too. I usually switch butter (not margerine) for shortening in recipes though. Slightly more healthy.
I believe I have identified the source of your culinary disaster from your photos. The cookie sheet in question appears to be an insulated sheet of the "air bake" variety.
Cookies involving butter or shortening (i.e. most cookies) do not do well on these sheets as the surface of the cookie sheet heats too slowly. The butter melts faster than the cookie bakes, and you get amorphous cookie blobs.
I learned this the hard way one year when I systematically destroyed an entire batch of lady lock shells.
Regular garden variety cookie sheets and real butter (don't get me started on the maragarine "spread" incident of 1993) are the only way to go.
I love the stories about Hank and the ball winder. My little brothers are just as bad. If I've been playing with yarn and leave out my ball winder and swift, I come home to find them spinning merrily in all directions. Rarely is yarn involved; they're just boys, and like to make things spin. Preferably very fast.
The catch, of course?
My little brothers aren't 7. They're 21 and 18.
It never ends. :)
Thanks for the best laugh!
I don't have a swift or a ball winder so haven't a leg to stand on when declaring that it strikes me that it's not really all that enthralling unless you're a kid and been forbidden to do it unless under close supervisions or told that it's something that only adults can do. You see, reverse psychology. Is there an ingenious plan to get Hank winding wool for the next 3 years before he wakes up to this and refuses to wind any more? Just curious...
So, was your brother faking the cold? Was the heater really turned on?
I always have this happen to me. I'm glad I'm not the only one. MORE FLOUR!
I think I love Sam for saying that.
That said, the 7 year old didn't want to eat the warm cookie goo? It took a certain amount of finesse, and a lot of grand storytelling, but my clan thought unbaked cookie goo, warm or not was THE way to go. We never had a disaster that didn't get eaten but for the sugar substituted by salt debacle circa 1993.
Totally agree with you about Martha and her baked goods. However...she does have one recipe for a chocolate chip pan cookie that takes less than 1/2 the time of the individual cookies and you just plop the whole thing in a cast iron skillet to bake. It was the "dessert of the month" for July 2002 (!) and is called "skillet baked chocolate chip cookie." If you can't locate it online and want it, let me know.
BWAH! That is an amusing story.
I remember, in a tragic fit of hubris, forgetting to put the flour into a batch of oatmeal cookies for my Home Ec class in middle school. I ended up with a pan of sweet, oat-y sludge. This taught me to read ALL the instructions. It sounds like this one was all Martha's fault though, so not quite the same situation.
YESSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!! Way to go Sam! You Rock! And so does Hank. (7 yrs old???? already??)
I adore your daughter. That's too rich.
I've found that many of the baking recipes are off, especially in the Entertaining book. I am, however, in possession of a pound cake recipe from Martha that is to die for.
The cookie photos made me laugh, I love seeing other people's disasters. I'm usually too mad at the time to take photos of mine - the worst one was a Nigella Lawson chocolate pudding cake recipe that, despite following all the directions EXACTLY, resulted in Cake Krakatoa all over the inside of my oven which burnt and gave off so much smoke my lovely neighbours assumed I was on fire and called the fire brigade...
...who arrived and laughed at my cake.
Aah, reminds me of the time I tried to make brownies in Germany. I almost had to through the pan away!
OMG! I am laughing out loud!! That comment about Martha is TOO funny! And, I agree with you... something about Martha's recipes take finesse. I'm a good baker and I fail with her recipe more than any other and consequently tend to avoid them. Try to steer your daughter in the direction of Alton Brown's recipes for Chocolate Chip Cookies. He has three "styles" - they are here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/show_ea/episode/0,1976,FOOD_9956_17114,00.html. I'm partial to the Chewy ones.
I'm another one who has never had a problem with her cookie recipes...aparently they work with our sucky American flour. But then, I insist on having an electric oven. I have a friend who bakes with gas, and I can't even imagine how she can do it. Everything I've tried to make in a gas oven has failed miserably (uncooked in the middle even after 2X the recommended time).
My (straight) male hairdresser accepts cookies as his Christmas bonus and hides them away from his coworkers like a Ring-possesed fiend. He tells me I'm the only one he'll accept baked goods from, but he could easily be telling flagrant lies to get more cookies. It's what I'd do.
Wow, I can't believe I just wrote 'through' instead of 'throw'. Can I blame it on too much studying?
Nooooooooooooooooooooooo! I'd have still eaten the disasters. You know, frugality and all.
Well, glory be! And, here I was thinking I was the only failure on the planet with the Martha chocolate chip cookie fiasco.
I'd say that I am in darn good company now!
Next time I see you - the beer's on me!
When baking with Martha you have to let your eggs and butter come to room temp. Microwaving butter to soften never works out. When in doubt use the recipe on the back of the choc chip bag!!
My 3 yo is all about the ball winder and swift, often she switches direction as she's winding. I'm not sure how that is going to work out.
My last cookie disaster I was totally mystified why they flattened out within minutes and turned to the consistency of hard taffy. It was only a week later when my mother asked where the flour was that I discovered what I used in the cookies was not infact flour... it was coffee mate.
Great cookie story! I'm glad the last batch worked out. I live at high altitude so baking recipes rarely work as written for me, so we get plenty of disasters. Hank is adorable with the ball winder.
wow, that Sam is a very funny and witty girl.
Hank? well he is just a doll baby!
I had a similar experience with a Frugal Gourmet recipe I copied down from the TV show. It was for a cheesecake. I was furious when we tasted it and realized he had neglected to mention adding any sugar. I rushed to the library and used the recipe from the book, which was correct, but I have never watched his shows or bought his books since.
I couldn't make Martha's sugar cookies work, but her macaroni and cheese was fantastic. I think you're on to something about the baking.
Reminds me of the time my husband made brownies, carefully following the 'failsafe' recipe in his much used, much loved 'Joy of Cooking'. It was the first time he had tried the brownie recipe, and he's an engineer, so he did exactly what it said, which was to use two and a half cups of butter, two cups of sugar, and one cup of flour (plus eggs & chocolate and flavourings). Yup.
Guess what happens if you put that much butter in a batch of brownies? The correct amount was half a cup. Fortunately, the brownie pan had high sides, and the resulting chocolate soup did not spill over and make a mess in the oven. It did not go to waste (we have teenage boys, after all), but brownies that you have to eat with a soup spoon just aren't the same.
And, yes, we checked and the typo does not appear in later editions of that particular masterwork. If you have the May 1974 Signet edition, be warned...
I have had one similar disappointment with a Martha recipe. I'm scared to try any more.
My absolute favourite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe comes from a Sunset Magazine cookbook. The dough is good to eat straight from the bowl, if you're so inclined. You can find the recipe now at myrecipes.com using their Recipe Finder. It's called Celebration Weekend Chocolate Chip Cookies (2006).
Martha recipes frequently have mistakes in them, mostly the baked goods. I agree with Sam, this is a much better reason to go to prison than lying about $45K
'k, I gotta admit: I loved Hank and the leaves and the ball winder (Score, eh, Hank?!?), but I couldn't get past the part here you said, "they plucked a Martha Stewart off the shelf". "Wow", I thought, Stephanie-YarnHarlot has a Martha Stewart cookbook?!?!?"
Here in Australia I would never go past a CWA (country womens association)cookbook. Their receipies are tried and tested by many different cooks. Just love them.
And never sift flour before measuring it.
but I do love Sams final comment.
hmm...those aren't quite frogged cookies, but close. Very determined of Sam and Hank. And, Hank making hanks is verrry giggly-wonderful.
Hahaha, that's just too funny!
that's pretty funny. Although I do love love love Martha's Gingerbread cookies and they usually come out great.
I totally agree about the Martha cookies. I tend to think she makes it extra complicated or leaves things out to show everyone else as less than perfect...
Anyway, here's my Martha-can't-write-baking-recipes story. So, my mom is a professional baker, right? She had her own bakery for many years. For my wedding, she was trying out recipes to see what she wanted to make. She tried Martha's genoise from the "Weddings" book. It was a total rubbery sponge thing that was inedible. We pitched it, and the book, and my mom just made something up instead. It was fabulous. Thanks mom!
Now if you want a good cookie book, I love "Rosie's Bakery Chocolate-Packed Jam-Filled Butter-Rich No-Holds-Barred Cookie Book." Haven't had a bad batch of cookies. And ya gotta love the name.
We call those spoon cookies in our house. They taste ok, just put them into a bowl and hand people spoons to eat them.
"Hank winding hanks" was already poping into my head. Does this mean I think like a Seven year old? Probably I do since I have a seven year old myself.
And the final line of the cookies story made me laugh and cry. Thanks for sharing.
martha is a big fat baking liar, she really is. i have had more failures than i care to recall. and her friend the barefoot contessa? ditto. avoid her like the plague.
but.. if you have a mind to make martha's perfect turkey, i promise you, you will become the queen of turkeydom.
That second batch looks yummy. I like cookies that spread out like that. Plain or with vanilla ice cream! Maybe Hank will get his first job at his LYS winding yarn for the customers. :-)
Dear Ms. Pearl-McPhee:
I am sorry to learn of your recent difficulty with my cookie recipe. I am sure that with proper supervision and adequate reading skills, anyone could produce a perfect batch of cookies using this recipe. I feel confident that the highest quality ingredients measured precisely using Martha Stewart Home measuring cups, mixed in a Martha Stewart Home bowl, and baked on a Martha Stewart Home baking sheet will yield a perfectly delicious batch of cookies worthy of any black-tie event.
If you have any further concerns, I advise you to contact a member of my staff. Inquiries regarding my status vis a vis the criminal justice system may be addressed to my legal staff.
CEO, Martha Stewart Omnimedia
Your cookies = my current project - a short row heel. 7 tries and 3 techniques to get the thing to be free of holes but I cook and bake with Martha every day no problem. You are too right about the detail in her recipes. I bet the dough was supposed to be pre chilled - probably for several hours or overnight. It took me years (literally) to get to the point of making Martha's stuff without disasters. I hope this heel thing goes more quickly than that!
I've been fiddling with chocolate-chip cookies for years, trying to make them come out exactly as I want them, and sometimes I get very close, and sometimes... not. I must admit, however, that I've never been that far off. Inveigling innocent children into wasting perfectly good chocolate is definitely a higher-class felony than insider trading.
(What chocolate do you use? At a former job I used to have long scholarly debates with my colleagues over the merits of various chocolate brands.)
Oh, I love that. And I have to wholeheartedly agree with Sam. If The Martha can't print correctly something as simple as a cookie recipe, then she deserves to be in jail.
I hate when perfectly good cookies end up in the trash.
offside question: You can compost cooked food? with eggs??
You know, I think it was a Toronto freakazoid weather thing. Yesterday I was making chocolate chip cookies using my usually foolproof recipe and I swear to you I had the flattest cookies ever. Usually they're nice and puffed up and chewy.
That's not the first chocolate chip cookie recipe I've seen with the flour to butter ratio seriously out of gauge. I hope the cookies they did get tasted yummy.
Try Donna Hay recipes....always easy, always brilliant results .... for adults and kids!
memories and family stories are made
just this way
family dinner mother always put the
leg of lamb in two pans mother arrives
mother we made the leg of lamb as you
did when we were little two pans
mother oh i just did that because it did not
fit in the pan i had
i love that little hank! and the best part about your daughter's comment is that she was probably dead serious! :)
i work with kids everyday and while it can be completely DRAINING i wonder how people in other walks of life can go day after day without contact with young people? they miss all the fun!
I don't suppose you pointed out to Sam that Martha went to prison because she is a powerful woman (albeit none too nice if press is to be believed) who committed the same crime loads of men have with only a slap on the wrist? (rant off)
I NEVER cook anything from Martha. I think her recipies are snooty; I prefer The Joy of Cooking myself. It's a classic. The back of the chip bag is pretty reliable too.
Although I have yet to try the cookie recipes,for the cheesecakes and the chocolate-sour cream cake, I recommend "Rosie's bakery all-butter, fresh cream, sugar-packed, no-holds-barred baking book" by Judy Rosenberg. I think you can trust someone who refuses to skimp to save a lousy calorie or two, and who doesn't insist on being everything to everyone a la Martha. Specialize in the good stuff, I say. (And I'll wager she came up with the actual recipes herself...)
Oops, just looked at my cookbook shelf. Judy also wrote "Rosie's bakery chocoalte-packed, jam-filled, butter-rich, no-holds-barred cookie book."
How and when did that get into my stash?
Makes me wonder since I've never ever thought of this.. But do cook books, this one specifically even, have errata?
I've messed up so many recipes I almost don't pay attention to what they say when it comes to measuring flour anymore. I just keep adding until it "looks right". I've yet to have a major disaster since doing that... and my cookies are always perfect right out of the oven, and don't turn into rocks the next day either - it's like magic! :)
It must have been going around... I tried to make a fancy brownie mix I received as a gift and instead of "espresso mocha" brownies, I got... well we're still trying to figure out what it was that we got. Hang in there Sam... you're not alone!
You are such a good story-teller. I love hearing about Hank's and your girls' escapades.
The worn-knees in his jeans in the photo of him sliding down the slide brought back memories. My 'children' are now 18 and 15 (years) but in the past I dealt with many pairs of pants with worn knees. Sears used to have a policy that if your kid wore a article of clothing out (that you bought at Sears) they would replace it as long as you were getting the same size. I would get pants for my kids at Sears for just that policy.
Back to Hank: If Hank would just learn to wind from a swift his services could be in high demand. Take him to knitting night at the LYS and I bet people would pay him to wind their yarn. He could attach little tags to the yarn-cakes that say 'Your hank was wound by Hank'.
Thanks, now I've got an indescribably strong craving for cookies. Even reading about bad, ugly cookies-gone-wrong has made me hungry.
And you've got a pretty funny kid...
Hank is absolutely adorable!
Sam - You are a hoot! Thanks for the belly laugh!
I like Paula Deen's cookbooks. They're very simple recipies, and she's no snob when it comes to ingredients or technique. I made her Lemon Blossoms, which calls for a box of lemon flavor cake mix, and they were a huge hit at the party I took them to. One of these days I'm going to try her brownie recipe that calls for a pound of butter.
I made a recipe called Chocolate Crunch cookies the other day and they were very good. It was basically a chocolate chip cookie recipe with two cups of crushed corn flakes added. I found it in the novel "Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder" by Joanne Fluke.
I stick with the recipes I find on package labels. Those guys want you to buy more of their stuff to put in cookies so they usually work great.
I love Martha but...
OMG that's too funny!!! Seriously, how could a recipe be THAT far off???
So amused by this! If this was the "Lexi's Favorite Chocolate Cookies" recipe, I agree that it is different than most chocolate cookies, but it's one of my favorites. Perhaps the other comment about the different fours had something to do with it? They do spread out a LOT, but the second picture looks pretty close to what mine usually look like. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside. People rave about them and I make them as gifts every holiday season. Though I can only fit 6 per baking sheet and it takes forever to make them, I love them. Sorry to hear that they didn't meet with your approval! : (
When I first got to the cookie part I simply sighed in empathy with the resignation I'm sure Sam and Hank were feeling as their escapades became blog fodder.
Then I read Sam's comment. Freakin' priceless.
The intensity of focus that Hank brings to his wool winding is truly impressive! That look of utter concentration...
I tried out a Martha Stewart recipe and had similar results where I had to add A LOT more flour. The problem was that I had used 1% milk instead of 2%. 1% milk creates a much more wet batter I guess from the lack of fat in the milk.
I am not seven, my name isn't Hank, but that is funny. :)
I would have to agree with Sam, though. It wasn't a political agenda that sent Martha to jail, it was the disgruntled bakers of the world!
lol! love her comment!
did you use real butter? I've had disastrous results like that if I use the veg spread sticks.
oh, and the recipe on the chocolate chip bag? works wonderfully every time! Martha's got nothing on Toll House
Yarn hanks arriving in the mail is very exciting in our place. My 6 year old son loves the ball winder AND the swift, and is very careful and precise with them. Even my 3 year old daughter gets to have a turn, and is learning to stop nice and quickly when I yell "STOP!" if the yarn snags.
I bought a spinning wheel but haven't had much chance to use it yet, but I fully intend for both of them to have the chance to learn to spin. Young Mr Mechanic ADORES it. We took it to his classroom for a special presentation one day.
Hank is adorable! My (almost) 6 year old son loves winding yarn with the wool winder too.
You are a Doula, right? After birthing my third child at home I really discovered the miracle of pregnancy and labour, and I'm seriously considering becoming a Doula. Any advise?
I too have made a version of these cookies. Mine came from frozen dough "buttons" that turned out exactly the same. It takes special talent to screw up premade cookies. Turns out my (state of the art circa 1978) oven was 50 degrees off. Thanks for the heads up about Martha. It's a good thing.
Oh man, now I want cookies...
Oddly similar to my weekend. I made a batch of cookie bars, noticed that the edges were browning but not the centers. When i took them out of the oven i found the reason: the pan was actually two pans stacked into each other.
But i just tossed the doughy ones.... :-/
PS. Hank is adorable!
Ha! That's the best line ever. I tried one of Martha's recipes (Alexis's chocolate chip cookies, I think) and there was WAAAAAY too much butter. I'll stick with the recipe on the Nestle Tollhouse package.
My name is not Hank, and I am WAY past seven years old, and I still think "Hank winding hanks" is pretty funny. Maybe because I regularly hang out with a 7yo and a 4yo, maybe just because I'm a dork. Who knows?
If Sam wants work every time baking, she should get Donna Hay's 'Modern Classics 2' - my very favourite cookbook. Donna Hay kicks Martha Stewart's and Nigella Lawson's butts. And she is responsible for the greatest culinary achievement in the history of the world - the Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie.
Hank winding hanks.. I love it. I'm sure you have plenty of hanks for Hank to wind too! Too bad about the cookies, I don't own a MS cookbook, and I will not be getting one, after having read this! Joy of Cooking, best cookbook ever. period.
Two words for Sam: Maida Heatter.
Eight more words for Sam: Maida Heatter's Brand-New Book of Great Cookies. It's not that brand-new anymore (about 12 years old), but it *is* great, full of genius, never-fail cookie recipes. Maida leaves nothing to chance; her instructions go on for pages and pages -- we're talking serious Virgo here -- but those instructions pay off. Maida herself is a riot, too, full of enthusiasm and encouragement. ("If you bake these for your friends, they will tell you you should open up your own bakery. And if you did, I would stand in line to buy them.")
Good to know that I'm not the only one who has cursed M Stewart over a baked goods recipe. The cookies I tried to make were shortbread with a caramel filling. They looked easy enough and had that distinctive MS look that would have impressed everyone if they turned out like the photo. Having never made caramel before, I had no idea that you weren't supposed to stir the sugar or you'd end up with a crystalline mess. 3 tries later (I was determined damn it!), I finally cracked open the Joy of Cooking to see what it said about caramel. It said in no uncertain terms not to stir--do not stir--don't even think about it. Come on Martha, couldn't you have included that little gem in your recipe? I'm no slouch when it comes to baking, but come on!
My theory is she leaves out certain instructions or leaves in certain typos so we all throw up our hands and say, "I guess I'm no Martha Stewart." It's totally a superiority thing with her, don't you think?
"I bet this is why Martha went to prison." I concur.
If Martha didn't go to jail for that, she should have. From one baker to the next, you are very correct. You have to be Martha and hold your mouth just right to get her baked goods to come out. I won big fat ribbons with my baked goods at a girl Sam's age, but still to this day, Mathra's baked goods don't turn out. I have lost many cakes and batches of cookies to the trash because of her recipes.
(I havenon Hanks who loves to wind balls in to balls)
LOL!! i just love that! and i don't know where the time has gone. it seems that Hank just skipped a few years.
Hank winding hanks! Ha, ha! I think it's funny and I'm - ahhh - considerably older than 7. I'm making a lace shawl for my friend Heather from Knit Picks Lost Lake Heather yarn. It just never gets old for me... And Betty's the one for cookies (well, OK, Fannie too.)
I used to try to make cookies that looked like that blob on purpose when I was seven. Basically I was trying to eat as much raw/warm cookie dough as possible. Lots of tummy aches followed.
I can't count the number of mistakes in recipes I've come across; and one of them was definitely a Martha recipe. The others were printed off the food network website. If a recipe said, "1 1/2 butternut squash" do you think that means, one and one half butternut squash, or one half of a butternut squash? apparently by how much flour had to be added to make my butternut gnocchi, it only means half a butternut squash. I don't think a five pound bag of flour would have been enough to bring together the 1 and a half squash that I baked and mashed. grrrr...
I hope she doesn't know about the poncho. Please, for the love of wool, don't tell her about the poncho.
I may not be able to knit my way out of..well, anything, but I do bake. Martha always takes the long way around in her recipes. I do a lot of tweeking, read first and then fix. Her carrot/orange cake is fantastic. I made it into her garden cake-complete with little marzipan vegies. It was stunning. She is very creative. (Refrigeration might have helped stabilize the dough.)
that's the best endline EVER! hahaha!! And if that's why Martha was sent to prison, then she's hankering for another term! And good training on the young male!
My husband, who is chef took one look at the picture of your daughters cookies and knew, without reading a line that A. the recipe had called for way too much butter. And B. it was probably a Martha Stewart recipe. The air, or the atmospheric pressure must be different in Martha Stewarts house than anyother house in the world, because her baked good recipes rarely ever turn out.
P.S. I love your Hank posts,he's a cool kid. He reminds me of my newphews when they were his age.
Ha ha ha. I totally laughed out loud at her last line. My cookies that I made from Martha's recipe looked exactly like that. But, I then gave up, or ate them as they were, or something awful. Sam has obviously got moxie.
I knew I was so done with Martha when, years ago,she was on the Today show with Bryant Gumbal showing him how to make seashell Christmas Ornaments. He asked where she got the seashells and she said,"From the Shore(that means beach on the east coast)". Bryant asked,'What if you live in Nebraska? How do you find seashells?" Martha replied,"At the Seashell store". Bryant was speechless. Yeah, I bet Nebraska has lots of sea shell stores. The woman is so self absorbed. She also got pissy with Katie when she told Katie that she could make a gormet dinner for her kids in less than 30 mins. It consisted of like 12 different kinds of Mushrooms which Katie said her kids wouldn't eat on a bet! Then Katie asked did the 30 minutes include all the prep and chopping of said mushrooms. Martha replied" no "and Katie said "well, when does a busy mom do all this chopping and prep." Martha said,"the night before" and Katie said ,"doesn''t she have to make dinner the night before too"? Martha was really in a snit then!! Sorry I got so mad thinking about this that my quotation marks got out of control!
Tell Sam to use the recipe on the back of the chocolate chips, but use half shortning and half margarine(not butter) and she will have winning cookies every time-and Martha can go to--well, jail works.
I don't know--if it took 5+ C of flour to get actual cookies out of that stuff, I bet you could freeze the little buggers solid and it wouldn't help. That's a boatload of flour for any cookie recipe, anyway! I'm with Sam all the way, too. That insider trading business always did seem bogus! Julie
I can't vouch for the finesse of Martha's recipes or not, but a similar thing happened to me a while back and it turned out that the flour was old. I don't know how often you bake, but maybe you need fresh flour??
Watch for Edna Staebler's cookbooks in used book shops & get those for Sam if she likes baking, The recipes are always successful & use readily available ingredients, too bad they aren't printing them anymore.
I laughed out loud, with little bits of spit shooting toward the computer screen. Sam, you go!
Hmmm, Martha's cookie recipes sound like they are definitely not "a good thing" ;-)
Whew! Sounds like my kitchen! Here is a sure way, Sam. Ya look for the recipes on the product you buy [like chocolate chips]. I always think that no one would put a less than do-able recipe on their package...that would not be a good way to sell their product.
It helped me...
Does this mean that the furnace wars are over and you won? Heating the house with the oven for hours while various batches of cookies are baked seems to be cheating a bit, if the wars continue. Must say, the oven looks very pretty...and clean. :)
If this happens again - the gooey, not-enough-flour or else way-too-much-butter semi-cooked dough? Great served warm over ice cream. Just sayin'
Sam, darlin you rock!
Martha takes great photos and all that but a lot of her stuff is just bunk...(thats a nice word for S**t)
Toll House cookie on the back of the chip bag works every time.
Loved Hank too. The concentration at the ball winder made me all "awwwww"
I am howling. Your daughter will never be able to deny where she got her sense of humor! What a riot!
And, being a polar bear by nature, I love the furnace war stories as well. My heat will not go on until I start turning blue! My goal this year is to not turn it on at all. We'll see how far I can go being that I am in the midwest and all. I may make it! Thrilled and elated I would be - and maybe not in hock up to my ears from the heating bills!
Nothing pithy to contribute, just wanted to say you made me laugh. Cheers!
its tough when things don't turn out as promised... i've had a bunch of patterns, sewing and knitting with mistakes and sometimes i even recognise that things may be amiss, but i keep on following directions thinking that the writer must know what they are doing....i might have to live to be 100 before i learn that lesson....and oh, email@example.com that might not have been a good idea....
who knew Martha's crime against humanity was inadequate flour? Why she's the Debbie Bliss of the cooking world...what's a mistake in a recipe among friends? Kuddos for perservering. :) another McPhee trait.
Although I am a faithful reader, I hardly ever post here.
But the "out of the mouths of babes" comment about the cookies and prison made my day:
how many times we have all had a recipe fail and wonder why (I say that as I am trying different sourdough bread recipes with different starters....)
I never did like that Martha chick. Locker up; throw away the key.
Teach the little dude to spin. He may grow up to open a business, Hanks by Hank. Gotta love it!
OMG! The same thing happened to me a week ago. It was not a Martha recipe though. I got the recipe online, and followed it exactly (almost, which I'll explain in a moment), and got "cookie chips" On the second batch, I added a lot more flour, and got something closer to a cookie, but nothing completely normal. I researched what the problem was, and have concluded that too much butter was the problem. Which was ironic, since I actually used HALF the butter in the recipe. Shortening has a higher melting point, so butter makes cookies spread out all over if there's too much of it.
Here are my cookie chips:
My 10 year old brother LOVES my wool winder and whenever it comes out he always wants to use it! together we are a pretty efficient team; I hold the skien and he winds.
Oh my gosh- what a fantastic punchline! I laughed out loud, and loudly! That is too funny... 'No one makes a cookie as good as mine.' Recipe fraud. Martha, how could you?
I just love it when Hank shows up in your blog! What a cute kid! Your Sam seems such a nice girl, Stephanie!
So, does the fact that Sam is wearing a tank top in November in Canada mean that you have turned on your heat? Or does she have some thermal undies on? My house (with the heat on!) is still so cold I have socks, flannel jamies, fleece robe and a lap blanket on!
If only I could arrange for Elsebeth Lavold to go there, too, convicted, by the Human Rights Commission, of crimes against humanity for the outrage she calls the Viking Knits Collection, Vol. 1. Or, indeed, for any of the other atrocities she has perpetrated in the name of knit design, while smugly proclaiming her own excellence and innovation.
That paragraph turned out surprisingly rancorous.
Okay, after reading the post and all the comments about chocolate chip cookies, I'm jonesing for some and it's almost midnight, so I have to wait until tomorrow to make them. I'll use Julia Child's recipe. Now there's a woman who knew how to bake cookies -- and everything else. Fannie Farmer was a dab hand with cookies too. My FF cookbook's binding broke at the oatmeal cookie page from overuse.
Way to go Hank and Sam. I like to see kids who keep on trying. At least they got a few cookies as a reward.
What sort of butter do you have in Canada-- is it more like American butter or more like European butter? You wouldn't think it, but the water content of the two is different. I've had similar disasters trying to bake american cookie recipes with european butter. (You have to use about 15% less butter and add the same amount of water, or else add a LOT more flour)
I love your daughter's train of thought. My Gran highly dislikes Martha because she never does her own stuff, her assistances do.
Congratulations on passing on the money-saving trait to your daughter. Today my 5 year old finally grasped the concept that letting go of the toys she doesn't play with is a good thing. We filled a garbage bag with everything she didn't want and promptly took it to Goodwill.
I've had this happen before... I think it may be a "fat" issue... like using margarine instead of butter, or something like that. (They have different melting temperatures, I think.)
Sam's remark: priceless.
Hank winding hanks: snork! Heehee! I guess I am seven too.
Cookies: is that one of those blasted insulated cookie sheets? They ruin almost anything.
[Caveat: there were a lot of responses and I haven't read then because my dissertation and next quarter's syllabus creation call, so forgive me if this is a repeat]
I encourage you to save the next ill-fated cookie maker by writing the correction into cook book with a ball point pen. Anabel and I make all sorts of notes in our cook book about substitutions, changes, and improvisations. Over time those cook books are personal and a form of improvised family history.
Amanda ... if you decide to give a ball winder to your son for Christmas and you think you're going to get to share it, it better have a tag on it from
Santa and have both your names on it, so he knows you have to share it! Otherwise it's going to be his exclusive property and you'll have to be sneaky and send him somewhere so you can wind yarn.
European butter, American flour, altitude, it's a wonder anyone manages to bake anything, even without having to translate measurements. The ultimate recipe: "Season to taste, cook until done."
I like the crafts on Martha Stewart's website, but I wouldn't trust her recipes. I've watched her shows, and sometimes it doesn't seem like she actually knows what she is talking about.
I have a Better Homes and Garden's cookbook - the red and white checked one that everyone I know owns. (Seriously, it's weird - my mom has one, my friends' moms have one, my mother in law has one).
"Reeks of vanilla extract and impending doom"--brilliant, as usual. Sounds like a fun day in spite of everything. I've got a seven-year-old boy in my house too, and the combination of cuteness and seriousness at that age cannot be topped.
I can't believe how much Hank has grown in (seemingly) such a short time ... sigh, time flies.
After spending a year in the UK, we grew to love Delia Smith and brought back a few of her recipe books. She's never failed us, from the UK, Australia and now the US. And this from somone who is not known for her cooking ... at all!
Martha, OTOH, always gives me the irrits. Lovely ideas if you have a team of staff on hand to do your bidding at a moment's notice, but how many of us have that?!
It's nice to see Hank again. He looks so appealing on the slide. I have only tried one Martha Stewart recipe, for Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies that are to be given as gifts in a CD envelope. The cookies are really delicious, my mother-in-law loved them and my husband begs for them. I do agree that there is a particularly fiendish glee society has in punishing a woman, as opposed to a man, for the same crime. Men are even admired for it. I think our feelings about Martha are colored by the desire to excel in the so-called womanly arts and also to live the lives we are now accustomed to, having fought so for equality. It is clearly an enormous amount of work, even requiring a team, to turn out what she has, flaws and all, and it's hard to not feel envious when we see the lovely photographs. We also want women to be very modest about their success and I haven't noticed her doing that. I would feel this way even if my cookies didn't turn out.
Hank might enjoy treadling yarn onto the wheel. It's a trick to keep the bobbin going in one direction, but if he can do it, you've accomplished one step on his journey to ::ahem:: spinning?
Would chilling th dough have helped? Good save though.
You should put a warning on your blog before you post something that funny! Those of us who peruse your site in the wee morning hours with our coffee cup in hand are in serious danger of choking to death when we read something that funny. If we don't die, then we risk suffering the "Coffee Syndrome" as we spray hot coffee out of our mouths and noses all over our computer, keyboard and monitor! Not a pretty sight this early in the a.m. I can assure you, and seriously not fun to clean up. What a riot! I'm with the McPhee family, there is nothing worse than wasting Chocolate Chip cookie batter! I mean, really now Martha! As for the ball winder, my son and his friends have the same fascination as Hank. I can always get them to wind yarn for me. I think it's a guy engineering thing on their part because I don't think I'll ever get my son to knit or spin. Sigh! At least I've taught enough people to drop spindle to feel like I've made up for my son's lack of interest in fiber skills. It is nice to know I can always get him to wind a ball of yarn for me though. Please thank Sam for the laugh!
Hope you annotated that recipe with the correct quantity of flour, for next time someone decides to cook it.
FWIW, I would never trust a Martha recipe - when her first cookbook was published one of the food critics enumerated the errors (I think one involved several tablespoons of salt). Also, many were reported to have been lifted directly from Julia Child's books without alteration.
I guess I must have the mental age of a seven-year-old because "Hank winding hanks" made me nearly spit out my coffee, mid-slurp! Love your blog. Makes me smile or laugh every single day!
Oy, I've met that M woman personally, and let me tell you, what a witch. She had the audacity to insult me, my talent, and my professionalism to my face without knowing a damn thing what she was talking about.
As for the cookies, just chill the mixed batter for half an hour, 45 minutes or so before plopping them in the oven. Room temp butter makes them spread like the second coming of The Blob.
I'll send you the recipe for that Finnish Christmas gingerbread. Easy, one of those recipes where you do not have to follow the amounts absolutely exactly. And, everybody loves them, my cat included.
We are so lucky in the UK. Martha Stewart has not penentrated our national consciousness particularly. I have had similar issues when trying to make the perfect flapjack. Four different recipes and three attempts, two of which turned out kinda like granola (we ate it with a spoon, it was great) and I finally had something resembling flapjack. Can I remember what I did? Can I hell. ANNOTATE YOUR RECIPES!!!
This whole post cracks me up! Great story, and way to go Sam! There is a sign in my kitchen that says, "I'm not Martha Stewart. Deal with it!"
And oh - the fascination of the ball winder! :) He will love the swift!
It is being assumed that Martha Stewart actually has something to do with the cooking and recipes. She is all show and no substance.
I usually laugh inside my head but I laughed out loud this time!
Surely why she went to prison, it's like when my mother in law wants to share a recipe but leaves out something important that makes it actualy taste good. Sneaky.
No! She didn't really say that! That is seriously funny - and probably true. I can just see the judge sitting there in front of Martha with barely controlled rage reliving some kitchen disaster that she was responsible for.
Hey, we made cookies that looked just like that last week! Sadly, I think it was my fault for writing the recipe down incorrectly. Oops.
The best chocolate chip cookie recipe? The one on the back of the Hershey's chocolate chip package!
Oh, and my husband loves the ball winder too :).
Martha should go back to jail. That's an unforgiveable error in a recipe--don't they edit those darn books? I'm getting all steamed up just thinking about it. Grumble grumble. Congratulations to Sam and Hank that they didn't have the tantrum they well and truly earned.
If Sam ever wants to make a traditional Italian almond cake or a Mexican chocolate cake or some pumpkin cream cheese muffins, I will gladly share recipes that will not torment her. Grumble grumble.
It boggles my mind that Hank is 7 already! Wasn't he like, 4, yesterday?
Ya know... "Hank winding hanks" is funny even if your name is Sue and you're 38. *grin*
Martha Stewart is the devil. I'm just sayin'.
The only chocolate chip cookie recipe I use and do not deviate from is the recipe on the back of the Nestlé Toll House Bittersweet Morsels bag. Tried and true. :)
I hope Sam took a pencil and wrote a note in the cookbook to the effect that this recipe was not one the McPhee family should try again. I'm 60, and find that the notes in my cookbooks are very helpful in avoiding repeat performances of disasters as well as finding again the terrific recipes when I can't remember which was the best!
Oh now that's priceless. I had one of those moments this morning when I made blueberry soup instead of blueberry pie for breakfast. We ate it anyway.
Sam just made tea come out of my nose.
Your kid rocks! Also, I'm pretty sure there's some sort of conspiracy by Martha to make the rest of us feel inferior--and I bet that cookie recipe is part of it.
Yes, and the poncho should have kept her there.
I am so glad someone else has grief with Martha Stewarts cookboooks! I love her craft ideas, but so many of her recipes I've attempted have failed. I thought it was me. Now, I always go with my two best Kitchen friends: Canadian Living and my circa 1970's Joy of Cooking.
A truer word has never been said!
being a bit frugal myself ( husband has more than once called me a "tightwad") I feel Sam's pain.
Anyone who has more money than G_d, can afford to have those recipes kitchen tested.
The back of the Nestles Chocolate Chip package has always been my friend, same with the label on the Libbys canned pumpkin, makes a great pie!
hey there.. man that WAS cookie lava. Unfortunately that has happened to me in the past. so here is one of the most simple cookie recipes i know of. Hope there is no allergies to nuts.
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of peanut butter
mix all together and put a spoonful on the cookie sheet for each cookie. turn oven on 325*f bake for 12 -15 minutes. these guys do not need that much room between each other.. doesnt spread to much.
Yer darn right that's why, Sam!!!
Martha may be great at making beds and setting a table, but her recipes suck.
Sorry for the second post, but just thought of a Martha story.
Several years ago, when I was relieved of my appendix, I woke up in a hospital room in the middle of the night to find myself connected to an IV drip that I later learned was morphine. Feeling loopy, I turned the TV on low and found Martha stringing leaves onto a sturdy piece of thread. The leaves had been spray-painted silver and gold. She was making a holiday garland.
Of course, I was so stoned, I was only thinking ... "shiny, pretty, shiny, pretty..."
At this point the nurse walked in to check on me.
The interviewer asked Martha if it mattered what sort of leaves were used, if you wanted to make the garland yourslef.
"Oh, yes," Martha said. "It's so simple and inexpensive! All you need is a needle and heavy thread ... and some spray paint. And then I just ask friends in all 50 states to send me dried leaves from their official state trees..."
The nurse said, "Honey, if I asked 50 people to send me leaves, somebody would call the nuthouse on me."
Hank & Sam did not give up after the lava batch! Good for them!
I made some cookies that looked like that. They were oatmeal. I went back to check my ingredients, looked around and realized I had left the oatmeal out. Who knew?
I laughed out loud at Sam's comment. Perhaps she needs another stint in jail until she can learn how to properly write dessert recipes.
I cannot believe how big Hank is getting! He is quite the little boy now and very cute.
That first batch of cookies reminded me of my first batch w/o adult supervision. I believe we forgot to add the baking powder (or soda). Glad they got a few good ones for their labor (we did not). And, of course, learning to "read" the batter is a lesson I'm sure Sam won't soon forget.
I, too, have noticed that Martha leaves finesse out of her list of ingredients. Her Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting just won't Meringue.
1. Hee! I love it when Hank comes over. Hank rules.
2. You know some judge's cake just wouldn't rise quite right...
laughing so hard i just fell off my chair...
That last comment is priceless! Good on them to keep trying, though. And Hank? I have lots of yarn to be deskeined into balls so I can finish the holiday gifts . . .
As soon as I saw the picture of the 2nd attempt at the cookies, I exclaimed (inside my head, of course, I'm at the office), "CHOCOLATE CHIP POTATO CHIPS!" Friends & I made exactly the same thing when I was in high school (back in the late 60's), and we never did figure out what had gone so very wrong. We ate them, even though they left a little something to be desired. Thanks for the funny memory!
As one whose kitchen always "reeks of vanilla and impending disaster," I am sending my most heartfelt sympathies to Sam and Hank.
And the swift? It adds a whole new dimension of joy to the ball-winding experience. You can ask my seven-year-old son, who is even now turning hanks of bulky alpaca into center pull balls for an afghan for his bed.
That is the funniest thing anyone has ever said in the history of the world. EVER.
You know, with my standard chocolate chip cookie recipe, one always chills the dough. However, with the run of the mill Nestle formula, the weather really can affect the dough. The same thing happened to me once, with all of the cookies just...melting. It was very disappointing. It's only ever happened with Nestle, but typically in winter one has to add more flour, or at least pay very close attention the the consistency of the dough.
That Sam is one smart cookie!!
And, no, you don't have to be a seven-year-old named hank to find the notion of Hank winding hanks funny.
Yeah, Martha's great but I've learned that many of her recipies require you to 1) take out a loan in order to purchase the ingredients, 2) travel to exotic and hard to pronounce countries to purchase the ingredients and 3) a week to prepare, cook, then serve. I'm sorry but sometimes it's just not worth it! I nearly chocked with laughter when I read you had to add an additional 2 cups of flour. What the H was that all about?
Hank winding hanks is indeed funny even when you are 7 six times over.
And how can Hank be this big?!? I well remember your telling us about how he wanted you to do some "knittening" for him. When I remember he's the same age as my dd, it makes me even sadder.
I made polenta from a Martha recipe once. My family has since decided that polenta isunfit for human consumption and will not even consider any recipe in which it is an ingredient. I feel Sam's pain.
I thought it was common knowledge that Martha printed mistakes in her baking recipes on purpose. I've heard explanations ranging from "it's so everyone will think she's amazing, being able make these screwed-up recipes work" to "she doesn't actually test them and her assistants hate her", but I've never heard anyone saying "I made this cookie from a Martha Stewart recipe, isn't it delicious?"
Alton Brown, Isa Moskowitz, the back of the chocolate chip bag - all resources that will teach you more about the science of baking than Martha Stewart will.
Love the cookie escapade! Too funny!
My four and seven-year-olds love to help wind yarn. I don't have a swift yet (hopefully Santa will bring one), so I usually have to help so they don't get a tangled mess.
Boy, she was mad...! What a hoot though. I'm with her too. Last night DH and I had a little disagreement over scottish shortbread. I gave him the recipe I wanted him to use, because it used half the butter and flower of another recipe. My thinking being, it would save both butter and gas, since I wouldn't have to go to the store to get more sometime later.(this family uses a lot of butter, I tell you!) Well, he wasn't happy when he realized he had only enough dough to make a very small pan of shortbread. I said, 'eat slowly...'
Oh! I thought it was just me! I thought for a very long time that I couldn't bake because of Martha's baking recipes. Thank goodness she doesn't have a learn to knit book.
Your daughter's comment made me laugh very loudly and clap my hands together with a big YES!!! I do so hate it when cooking goes wrong with the little ones - they get so disappointed.
re the ball winder - my neice is 8 and loves winding all my hanks of yarn into balls. Our latest game - that you might save for Hank - at some stage - is to set the hank of yarn on the swift, set up the ball winder and then she has me time her - stop watch style. At first she didn't understand why some hanks took so much longer than others - until I explained that some of the yarn was finer and therefore more of it on one hank. it is great fun - til the man in the apartment downstairs complains about the noise from the ballwinder (or machine as he thinks it).
Oh, Martha baking flashbacks! We are still trying to forget the year we made Martha's gingerbread Christmas tree ornaments. It took three days, and an extra week to chisel the hardened icing off every surface in the kitchen. On the other hand, it was the only Martha recipe I've tried that appeared to include ALL the ingredients, in approximately the correct proportions. I'm with Sam....simply criminal.
Your daughter is brilliant.
From my experience, Martha's baked goods are all fantastic, EXCEPT her chocolate chip cookies. Those really are more like cookie chips. Her currant scones on the other hand... to die for delicious.
haha, the cookies. baking powder instead of baking soda perhaps? I did that before. You can be sure I never made that mistake again! hank is so cute. I want to put him in my pocket.
Ha! I love your daughter. I think she and I have the same approach to cooking, and humor :-)
HAHAHA. That cookie mishap happened to me a few months ago. I just wasn't paying attention and left a whole cup of flour out of the bowl.
My sweetie and a friend thought they were fine and went to town scraping off the tray and eating the smushy bits.
Okay, I didn't read all 300 something comments, so if I am repeating anything anyone else has said, please forgive me. The cookie thing, funny, but damn that sucks! Might I recommend the Cook's Illustrated books? They take something super basic, like a chocolate chip cookie, and research the HELL out of it. It's all scientific and everything. I have yet to have anything fail.
This is actually the first time I've read your blog, I'm not much of a blog reader really. But I do love your books. They make me laugh out loud. Thank you!
I do love Martha, but that story just made me laugh and laugh! I also hate it when my cookies turn out bad!
OK, I know you have moved on to other things in the blog, but I had to come back and post after this weekend. My sister was baking Christmas cakes this weekend and measured, mixed etc, and popped the cakes in the oven for the required 1 hr 15 min. At the timer bell, she took them out and tested them - completely doughy. We continued baking in fifteen minute increments for another HOUR and they still were somewhat doughy - when she told me it was a MS recipe, I just about died - and showed her this post. We had a good laugh, but then she said, hey, someone once gave me a cookie recipe and they turned out just like that - it was because I was using aluminum cookie sheets. Try baking stones - they are amazing (even if they are expensive). However, after reading most of the comments, I am sure that Martha's proportions might have had a few challenges as well. LOL
Where on earth did you find a yarn winder? I gotta have one? Can you share? Thanks!! Lydia
I'm a little late, and I didn't read all the other comments, but that second batch looked exactly like what happens when you mix the dough with butter that is already melted (like I do sometimes when I'm too impatient to let it soften to room temperature so you can mix it easier) or even just too soft. If you're using an electric mixer, just throw it in there.