Usually my opening photo is of the final baked product in its full glory. Unfortunately, three little monkeys ate all The Ischlers before I could take a photo. So I guess that is at least three votes of approval for these annoying cookies.
So, The Ischler. Everything about this "cookie" annoyed me. As boring as it may be, let me list the ways (which coincidentally follow the recipe flow)
- The name prefaced by "The". How would I know if they were "The" Ischler given I had never knowingly consumed any lesser Ischlers. I moved on quickly from here, given I am most accustomed to putting my faith in Rose's pronouncements.
- The toasting and grinding of "preferably unblanched almonds". Sigh - unblanched sliced almonds are akin to unblanched sliced unicorn horn. I mean, ground almonds and unicorn horn are thick on the ground - so in the pursuit of annoyance minimisation and avoiding a trip to the supermarket I used ground almonds (note here as Error 1 - ALWAYS do as Rose instructs at least the first time around)
- Actually, not quite everything annoyed me (I am such an exaggerator - some would say). Mixing these in the food processor was brilliant.
- The dough was then kneaded in a plastic zip lock bag and then divided into four plastic wrapped parcels. Sometimes I think that Rose has shares in a plastic wrap company.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days - I was definitely at the bounds of the two days. I love that some of Rose's recipes respect that baking is not always a continuous end to end process. (See, I have clearly exaggerated my annoyance - brilliant and love have already been used)
- The making of apricot lekvar - seriously, a tablespoon of mixture will take 3 seconds to fall from the spoon? Is that three seconds to fall off the spoon or to fall from the spoon and make its landing. All of it? Or just some of it? Should it flow in a continuous stream for three seconds or should it just glop out. I took the glop option. Fortunately glop must be the right consistency - last time we made this I ended up with apricot concrete, this is kind of usable. Not in a lekvar on toast with a cup of tea way, more on a wodge it in a biscuit/cake way. So two jars should see me through to the end of my days.
- The rolling of the dough. Ayee. This was particularly stressful. A dough with 1/4 butter and 1/4 ground almonds is pretty soft and delicate. No match for a particularly helpful three and a half year old tag team of cuteness. They are at the pinnacle of "I can do it on myself" (Error 2 - bake only at night).
- So on to the baking. Bake 4 minutes, rotate the tray half way round and then bake a further 2 - 6 minutes until just beginning to brown. I think I need to invent some kind of special UV light which detects the beginning of browning, because I cannot work this out with my unaided eye. Looking at this photo, they were clearly at the very very very beginning of browning. In my defence I grew up in Australia where the threat of skin cancer makes me paranoid about tanning, so I can only assume this paranoia has filtered into cookie baking. (Error 3)
- Making the ganache was a snap. Well it would have been had someone (but no one who lives in this house apparently) not eaten the 60% chocolate. Note to self - store chocolate in the safe without the kids, husband or nanny seeing me do so. Given the kids prowess with technology I am sure they could crack a safe in about 2.7 minutes. So I cobbled together a mathematical equation of 40% x 75% cacao and 60% of 50% cacao and hoped it was roughly right. (Error 4)
- The the supposed synergy of bringing the three things together. I am an accountant (I only roll out that admission when it suits me) and when four different volume measures are used in the same sentence for largely the same activity, I start to get a bit twitchy. Teaspoons and tablespoons I can cope with. Grams and millilitres for two items of roughly the same viscosity - Rose's ears must have been burning. Just for the record 3.7ml of lekvar and 6 grams of ganache. Far fricking out. Don't even get me started on spreading them 1/8 of an inch from the edge. (Error 5)
- Fair to say rough enough was good enough for me - sorry Rose. I ended up with 35 love heart biscuits - completely false advertising because by the end, I wasn't wodging them together with much love in my heart.
We may never know because I will probably never make these things again. They just tasted bland to me, overwhelmed by chocolate (Error 4) and underwhelmed by the lekvar (Error 5 - maybe it was 3.2ml of lekvar, rather than 3.7ml?) all surrounded by a bland biscuit (Error 1 and Error 3). So with that insightful analysis, it would appear that they synergy of errors brought these cookies undone.
Then again, the three monkeys polished of the remaining 27 biscuits on Monday afternoon between them getting home from school and me getting home after work. There was literally 1/8 of a biscuit left on the dining room table, which had somehow escaped the hoovering of the boys. I did eat it. And it almost had me reversing my opinion, but unfortunately I needed more than 1/8 of a biscuit for it to be a valid sample size.
Next week Coffee Crisps. Can I just say that I am most definitely not a cookie baker. So much work and they are just consumed in minutes!