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Lemon Poppyseeds
Posted: 23 November 2011 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I have made Rose’s Lemon Poppyseeds from “Rose’s Christmas Cookies” and instead of staying in a ball, they’ve spread out.  All the measurements are correct, as is the oven temperature. Any idea why this is happening? I am not a novice cookie maker and I have never had a trusted recipe not ‘work’.  Was there a typo? Have I somehow done something? I am at a loss to explain why this has happened.  I have even double checked my measurements and made sure the oven is reading temps correctly.  Ideas, anyone?

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Posted: 23 November 2011 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Since no one has responded yet, I will go ahead and post the ingredients and that will perhaps help with the responses.

(ingredients edited out)


I want these to work, so please bring on the advice as to what the problem is with this recipe.  Again, it is from “Rose’s Christmas Cookies” cookbook.

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Posted: 23 November 2011 03:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Well, in hopes of someone getting on here (ideally Rose herself since the recipe is one of hers) and clarifying what the issue might be, I have decided to make the entire recipe a second time.  These are becoming very expensive cookies!!!

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Posted: 23 November 2011 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi, Stacia!

Welcome!  Sorry you haven’t gotten more responses—no doubt everyone’s rushing around for the holidays!!!  I know there are several members who have baked a good deal from this book, and lemon poppysed is such a yummy combination, someone’s probably made these!

I haven’t made these before, but could it be the temperature of your butter?  I think the softer the butter is, the more likely they are to spread.  Also, if you don’t completely cool your baking sheets before using them for another batch, cookies can spread.

I’m not a cookie expert, so that’s about all I can think of off the top of my head!! 

—ak

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Posted: 23 November 2011 04:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thank you for responding and for your suggestions. Unfortunately, neither was an issue here.

The butter was cool; neither cold nor warm. It had been out of the fridge probably an hour.  The dough was refrigerated overnight. The cookie sheets were, of course, cooled between batches.

I am making them a second time right now.  For this batch I am using butter that sat out for 4 hours and is much softer. The dough has been in the fridge for an hour and a half (recipe says 1 hour minimum) and I am about to try again.  If it fails again, I think Rose needs to clarify what the issue is.

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Posted: 23 November 2011 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Okee dokee. Same result with a second test.  The recipe was published with some kind of error in it. There is either too much butter or not enough flour. Or an ingredient was left out altogether.  They begin spreading by minute 1. By minute 6 they are a dome. By minute 10 the edges are getting too dark but the centers are not done. (FYI: The recipe has them baking 18-20 minutes). 

If any of the admins communicate with Rose, can this be sent on to her please?

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Posted: 23 November 2011 07:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Stacia, how are you measuring flour?  Are you weighing or dipping and sweeping?

This is the only errata for this recipe, published over on the blog: p 89 Smart Cookie: just before When rolling the balls of dough insert:
If you flour your hands before rolling the balls of dough, the cookies will be rounder, as show in the picture. If you don’t flour hour hands the cookies will have more almonds adhere to them but will be flatter

I had to edit your post with ingredients, as Rose and her publishers request us not to post recipies.

Once we double-check your flour method, we can forward your messages to Rose/Woody.

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Posted: 23 November 2011 07:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Measured the flour using dip and sweep.  RE: the flouring of my hands before rolling the dough: It may have helped, but I am confident that this would not have prevented the cookies from collapsing into ‘regular’ cookies. Here, I took a photo of batch #2:

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Posted: 24 November 2011 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Great photo, that helps.  They look pretty good to me, though I hear you that you are expecting a more round, almost ball-shaped cookie.

I’ll see if Rose/Woody might be able to check this thread.

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Posted: 24 November 2011 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Yes. The photo accompanying the recipe shows a cookie with an appearance similar to that of a Mexican Wedding Cake. Secondly, the recipe gives a 20 minute cook time and these cookies are done in less than 10.

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Posted: 28 November 2011 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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more flour will form rounder cookies. feel free to add more flour to the recipe itself—you could even try just one cookie to see how much you need to add to obtain the results you want!

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Posted: 28 November 2011 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Stacia - 24 November 2011 03:36 PM

Yes. The photo accompanying the recipe shows a cookie with an appearance similar to that of a Mexican Wedding Cake. Secondly, the recipe gives a 20 minute cook time and these cookies are done in less than 10.

If the cookies flatten out, they will cook faster than if they stayed more round, so the 10 minutes may be reasonable.  The “dip and sweep” is much less accurate than weighing, so it’s possible you’re getting less flour than Rose expects.  What kind of flour are you using?  I assume you’re not sifting?  You said you verified the oven temperature, but did you do this with a separate thermometer?

Still, to me, the rapidity with which the cookies flatten out suggests not enough flour.  You really should weigh it.

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Posted: 28 November 2011 09:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I feel that there is an issue here that would not be answered by weight vs volume, or by the oven being a little bit off. My two tests have indicated that the recipe as published will not produce the cookie in the photograph. 

No, I do not sift my flour. I stir the flour before dipping and leveling. In order for this cookie to be a ‘ball’ cookie, we are talking at least another half a cup of flour; that would be an excessive variance produced by volume measurement, don’t you think? Oven temp: The fact that the cookie begins to go flat in the first 90 seconds would not be caused by a couple of degrees variance. The flattening is why it is done in 9 minutes instead of 18. I have my doubts that this result would be addressed by 3 degrees and/or using weight measure instead. (FYI: I did test my oven temp. for accuracy.)

When I made the recipe for a second time, in order to rule out user error I used a different set of measures; just in case the issue I had could be explained by the dry measuring cups I used the first time. I have several sets and have not encountered issues in the past, but I wanted to rule out other possible causes. My second result was identical to the first.

For myself, should I bother with this recipe again, I would have to test with weight measures, and most certainly add more flour to it in order to produce the cookie shown in the photo.

Rose, I felt this feedback would be of interest to you so you can check the recipe which appears to have been published with a typo.  I was specifically looking for a ‘ball’ cookie and was disappointed with the result. I was sure that you would want to check the recipe before the cookbook is published again.

Thank you

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Posted: 28 November 2011 10:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Stacia - 29 November 2011 01:26 AM

that would be an excessive variance produced by volume measurement, don’t you think?

Perhaps, but in my professional troubleshooting career, I’ve found that reliably solving problems requires that one eliminate all potential sources of error. 
It’s sometimes the thing that can’t possibly be causing the problem that turns out to be causing the problem.

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Posted: 28 November 2011 10:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Perhaps, Charles. But since volume IS one of the measurement options offered in the recipe, and since I tried the recipe twice using two different companies dry measure cups (in order to eliminate that as a potential source of the problem), it would still seem that the measurement offered in volume will need to be looked at as possibly being inaccurate and resulting in the cookie not being as expected.  But lets leave that up to Ms Beranbaum.

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Posted: 29 November 2011 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I gotta say, I think Stacia’s got something here and someone ought to also test this recipe to see if we get the resutls Stacia got or the “round” results.  Maybe an addition to the errata section is necessary.  Alternatively, maybe Stacia has some funky ingredient that is fussing things around.  I have some poppyseeds, but I don’t have this recipe.  If someone will send it to me, I would be willing to give it a whirl this weekend, if nothing comes up.  Or if someone is feeling lemon poppyseedy, feel free to give it a whirl.

From the picture in the book, what are the cookies supposed to look like IN PROFILE?

A.  Round balls - totally round, like meatballs
B.  Hemispheres - like half a meatball
C.  Mounded - a slightly flatter hemisphere
D.  Flat - like a corn meal cookie, which I think is how Stacia’s came out

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