Isn’t it awesome when we’re cooking and everything goes as smooth as silk, ending with a perfect dish? Hmm….this isn’t one of those times! I’m calling these Parmesan, Garlic & Basil Savory Cookies because, honestly, I didn’t know what the heck to call them! Are they pancakes? Flatbread? Some as yet to be named morsel? If a recipe does NOT turn out at all the way you planned, but it tastes incredibly delicious, do we classify it as a failure or a happy surprise?
I love the Caesar salad at the Nordstrom Café, because they add this delicious, parmesan crisp. My thought was to expand on that idea, adding in some of my all-time favorite flavors, like caramelized garlic and basil. More like a tuile – savory instead of sweet. I could change up my favorite lemon tuile recipe into a savory, Parmesan, garlic version.
The trouble began with my overconfident belief that I could successfully accomplish two recipes and a craft, PLUS photography, in the space of 24 hours. I know! This is the never-ending challenge of a blogger who works full-time and crams everything in on the weekend. Sometimes, it’s just a recipe for…disaster. There’s always a funny story in there after the fact, though.
Starting on recipe number two at about 6:00 a.m., I had all the ingredients ready to go.
The eggs were at room temperature and separated. Cookie sheets were lined with parchment. The butter was perfectly soft, mixing in the KitchenAid. I realized that I needed a pastry bag and tip to form the tuiles and that box of stuff was on a shelf I can’t reach without a chair. Distracted because I wasn’t prepared, I hopped up on the edge of the chair in slippered, ill-placed feet, camera around my neck. Stretching to reach the shelf. Balance lost. Going down, down, down and the only thought was, SAVE THE CAMERA!!!!!
A number of things went down for the count along with me. (Not, thank goodness, the camera!) From my vantage point on the floor, in a sea of broken glass, I watched that bowl of egg whites do a pretty impressive quadruple axel across the kitchen. The scores? In air performance – 10! Landing? Yeah, that was a big fat zero! There was no perfect landing, just another bowl in a zillion pieces and goopy egg white everywhere. Oh, and don’t let me forget the brand new bottle of olive oil that somehow decided to join in the messy fray!
After a few tears, a string of expletives I wouldn’t dare repeat and an hour of clean-up, the icing on the proverbial cake? I was OUT of eggs! NOOO!!! I turned off the mixer, tossed the bowl of creamed butter and sugar in the fridge, stuck a hat on my head, big sunglasses on my face and headed out. I needed a Target fix. Enough said, right? Two hours and 10 bags of stuff later, now I was really pressed for time.
I didn’t wait for the butter to soften properly – I rushed adding the egg whites. The batter, almost a soft dough, seemed ok and I chilled it for about an hour before baking.
Feeling too rushed to use a pastry bag, I just spooned the mixture onto cookie sheets. The first batch was WAY too big and thick. They spread like crazy and butter was oozing out all over the oven. Mr. Smarty Pants asked, “What kind of pancakes are those??” THEY ARE NOT PANCAKES!!!
The second batch, I made smaller circles – they still spread and oozed, but at least the size was better.
I did not have a tuile, for goodness sake! I had this soft-centered, crispy edged SOMETHING! I was just about ready to toss the whole pile into the trash can, and we decided – tentatively – to taste one. Hold the cheese grater! This tasted…delicious. It’s a soft, bread/cookie, rich and buttery, with the sharp taste of parmesan highlighted with the sweetness of garlic and basil. These were not tuiles but darn, they tasted amazing!
I took the pancake-sized “cookies” and rolled the edges up and let them cool.
Might as well use them for lunch! I filled the rolled “pancakes” with Caesar salad and stuck a “cookie” in the top. I have to tell you – it was SO good! I packed the rest of the cookies in an airtight container. Two days later, they still tasted delicious and were a great addition, in place of bread, to a simple dinner of linguine with marinara.
Big fat failure or happy accident? I’m thinking happy accident! We’ll try these again, minus the drama and mayhem, to see if I can actually turn out a crispy tuile. Until then, these accidental, savory cookies just might be a tasty alternative to Italian bread every now and then.
I almost thought I wouldn’t post this, but I’m sharing the recipe as I made it, leaving out the extra 3+ hours of butter re-chill. I’m not making any guarantees on how this will turn out a second time, but I’ll update you guys when I try these again, I promise!
UPDATE: May 26, 2013 - Thanks to a very kind reader, I realized that I left off the directions that are supposed to be here after the ingredients. That would help, wouldn’t it?
Parmesan, Garlic and Basil Savory Cookies
- ½ pound (sticks) of butter, softened
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- ½ cup plus two tablespoons of sifted flour
- ¼ cup of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 2/3 cups of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 ½ tablespoons of finely chopped garlic
- 1 ½ tablespoons of dried basil
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and salt. Add egg whites one at a time and mix well. In a small frying pan, fry garlic in olive oil until it is golden brown. Drain any remaining olive oil. Add flour, garlic, parmesan, and basil to the butter/egg mixture and mix until blended and smooth. Place mixer into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rounds of batter on parchment lined sheets with a tablespoon, flattening them with the back of the spoon. Bake “cookies” for 10-15 minutes, depending on size, or until edges are golden brown. Move baked cookies to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container.
Have you had a recipe go astray? Was it a failure or a happy accident?
Something sparkly just caught my eye – you gotta be kidding me! More glass? I’d better do yet another sweep/vacuum of the floor. Hope you have a great day!
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