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Sunday, January 3, 2016

=How to Bake the Driest Fucking Cookie in the World=

If you can replace a portion of regular flour with coconut flour, why not just use coconut flour? It's healthier, it smells better, and it's tastier than regular flour, too. A chocolate chip cookie made of 100% coconut flour—how bad can that be?

This was the "thinking" that accidentally led me to discover how to bake "The Driest Fucking Cookie in the World." Now, if I really knew anything about baking, I would have known straight off "how bad it could be." Martha Stewart could have smugly told me had she been following me around the kitchen criticizing everything I did. That racist cracker Paula Deen would have been happy to set me straight, throwing in a few nasty jibes about my ethnic heritage for good measure. But I was baking blind, with no help and nothing but an unwarranted confidence, an ill-advised spirit of adventure, and a bag of dark chocolate nuggets. Disaster was right around the corner.


The Driest Fucking Cookie in the World
Here are the ingredients;
Bowl 1: 1.5 cups of coconut flour
              2 teaspoons of baking powder.

Bowl 2:  1 cup brown sugar
               2 teaspoons of almond extract
               1 beaten egg
               1/4 cup of coconut oil

I mixed all these ingredients up in their respective bowls. Then I joined them in one bowl. Immediately I knew something had gone terribly awry. What I had was a bowl filled with a substance that resembled nothing so much as sand. And not even wet sand. I mean sand way up above the tideline. Sand in the middle of the desert at midday under a blazing white sun with no oasis in sight. A Bedouin would have felt at home in that bowl if it were a small enough Bedouin.

I'd already used up all the coconut oil in the pantry. That was one of the reasons to make these cookies in the first place. To use up the last of my remaining coconut oil. I had just enough oil left for one more batch of cookies and now it was gone. I did have plenty of vegetable oil, though, so I added another quarter cup of that. The additional oil disappeared almost without a trace. In desperation, I beat another egg and threw that into the bowl as well. Now I had what looked like sand below the tideline. Damp, but it would hardly hold together. But I didn't think I could add any more oil without turning this mixture into a recipe for grease cookies. 

So I pressed, molded, patched little lumps of this sandy mixture into something that resembled cookies right on the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Then I did the only thing one can do in emergency circumstances such as these. I pressed lots and lots of chocolate chunks into the sandy mounds.

Finally I slid the entire imminent disaster into the oven at 375 degrees before the (I use-the-term-loosely) cookies could crumble of their own accord. Crumble away like the parched 5,000-year-old flesh of an unwrapped mummy.

Ten-and-a-half minutes later I took the cookies out of the oven. To my astonishment, they looked surprisingly fit! 

But looks, as so often they are in other situations, were also in this case deceiving. As I gingerly lifted them off the cookie sheet to cool on the wire rack, I could see with what lack of conviction each cookie was resisting the overwhelming urge to return to its constituent elements. That is to say, dust, ashes, atoms. 

With great misgiving and a sinking premonition of despair, I picked up a broken piece of cookie from the table and put it into my mouth. Instantly, every trace of moisture was sucked away, sucked away to the back of my tonsils—to the tonsils that were removed when I was six.

Let me put it this way. These cookies suck the spit right out of your salivary glands. Leave them squeezed dry like old sponges forgotten for months under the sink. They are like having your mouth packed with sawdust. They are like having the Oklahoma dust bowl stretched from one side of your mouth to the other. You can feel the Joad family crossing the parched expanse of your tongue futilely looking for work. It's as if it hasn't rained in your  mouth in years and there's no change of weather in the forecast. I felt like one of those Georgia O'Keefe skulls lying for a hundred years in the sand.   

My husband came in and grabbed a cookie. I tried to warn him, but I couldn't get my tongue unstuck from the roof of my mouth in time to form the words. He dove for the sink, choking, like a French Foreign Legionnaire who'd lost his way in the desert with nothing in his canteen but spiders. He wouldn't have believed me. No one would. You probably don't either.  He would have thought I was exaggerating, just being hard on myself, overly critical. You probably think so, too. But no, I assure you: this is truly, honest-to-the-god-I-don't-believe-in, THE DRIEST FUCKING COOKIE IN THE WORLD. This cookie is, I'd venture to say without exaggeration, the most concentrated circle of absolute dryness in the entire culinary world. 

If you don't believe me, bake them yourself!

The odd thing is that I haven't been able to stop eating them. True, I just break off a little at a time, sneaking a piece here and there throughout the day, often eating them with a dab of nonfat ricotta cheese, or even a spoonful or two of ice cream. There's something masochistically yummy about these cookies that I can't seem to resist. Like all masochistic pleasures, the pleasure derived from eating this cookie is hedged around with frustration, guilt, humiliation, and discomfort. By the strange mathematics of masochism, the sweetness, so fleeting, is magnified tenfold by the attendant pain. Think of them as the pastry equivalent of being pulled over a knee, skirt hiked up, and soundly spanked in front of a room full of family and friends. They're pretty awful as conventional cookies go, but they're awfully appetizing in a kinky sort of way. I'll probably bake them again one day. 

Go figure. 

If you can, congratulations.

I can't. 

There's just no accounting for taste.










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