I decided to bake my way through the Great British Baking Show (GBBS for short) and write about it. Don’t know much about GBBS? No worries. Check out my first blog in this series to learn more about the show and about why I decided to do this, for better or for worse (so far, mostly worse).
This week I’m making the 3-D biscuit scene that was the showstopper challenge in Season 1 Episode 2 of GBBS.
Some of the other bakers umm…didn’t do so well. As for me, I did a little worse than the people who did not do so well. Or, well, a lot worse if you wanna make me be honest about it.
But at least I learned from the experience. Namely, I learned that hindsight is sort of a jerk and also I learned that I know nothing about cars, which oddly, actually does come into play in this baking challenge.
On the show, most of the contestants used variations of gingerbread dough for this challenge, but I went with sugar cookie dough instead because I like sugar cookies, and, also, because I’m a rebel. Obviously.
I used the “My Favorite Christmas Cookie” recipe from Ree Drummond’s (aka the Pioneer Woman) A Year of Holidays cookbook.
She has a similar recipe online. This recipe has all the same ingredients. She just tweaked the amounts. Basically the one in the cookbook has more of almost everything, including shortening.
(Yeah, I know, shortening is kind of gross. I like to use the butter-flavored Crisco because it looks like butter and tastes more like butter, so I basically just pretend it is butter. Denial works for me.)
Anyway, first you do the usual. Cream the sugar and the shortening together (while pretending it’s sugar and butter). Then comes the fun part, you also add in some orange or lemon zest. (I have a pretty low bar for “fun” apparently.)
Then add in the eggs and vanilla and shift in the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder and salt and mix it all up. Add some milk. Mix it again and you should have something that looks like this:
Then split the dough in half and put it in plastic bags or wrap it in waxed paper or plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge for an hour. (Or for 20 minutes in the freezer. Ree didn’t put this little freezer tip in the cookbook version, just in the online version. So I ended up putting it in the fridge for an hour like a regular ole’ schmuck. It’s cool how I’m not bitter about that though, right?)
Then after the dough has chilled for the necessary amount of time, take it out and roll each section out with a rolling pin. I put plastic wrap on top of the dough because I get really, irrationally angry when dough sticks to the rolling pin. I just don’t like it, guys. I really don’t like it.
Then I busted out those cookie cutters I kept bragging about in the savory biscuits blog a few weeks ago.
I just grabbed random cookie cutters and hoped I’d find some way to make it all make sense later. Hindsight: not the best plan.
Then I baked each batch of cookies for about 7 to 8 minutes and they came out looking like this:
Then I baked some more cars and some more trees (because I was committed to them apparently).
Then I baked some too much.
Then I made some icing. I didn’t use Ree’s recipe, because I’m weird about putting raw eggs or milk in stuff you don’t then cook. So I just mixed together powdered sugar and water with a lil’ bit of vanilla instead.
I put in some food coloring and put the icing in a piping bag and went to town on some trees and some circles.
Now here’s where hindsight comes in again to be a smart aleck jerkface.
When I watched the GBBS show of this challenge, I didn’t notice that all of the contestants only outlined their cookies with icing rather than icing the whole cookie.
Do you know why they do that? They do that because icing cookies takes a really stupidly long time apparently. Like I don’t even want to admit how much time this took for me to do. Let’s just say that it took the better part of a Sunday evening and more than a better part of a bag of powdered sugar. So much powdered sugar.
But once I started icing the whole cookie on some, I felt like I had to do it on all of them. Even when part of my cookie scene was a road. A road that was supposed to be gray. Gray! As soon as I started to put gray icing on the cookie, I realized:
But it was too late. I’d already grayed it. And yeah, it looked like a road, but not a road I wanted to eat because it was gray.
And then umm, we’ve reached the cars. As soon as I started decorating them, I realized this:
I know nothing about cars, most notably I do not know how to ice cookies to look like cars. Like. At. All.
Take it away, Andy from The Office:
And, yeah, I’ve realized I’ve stopped talking and am now just allowing GIFs to communicate for me. This is a pretty half-baked blog. (Get it? Half-baked? That was my required bad baking pun for this blog.)
But the thing is, I’m tired from too much icing. (Sidenote: I don’t even. like. icing.) And I’ve diagnosed myself with a case of Too-Much-Icing-Hand which I’m pretty sure is now a thing because I just said it was and typing is too much work right now so just go easy on me.
Then go easy on me when you see my finished project photo.
Then go really easy on me when you realize I totally cheated and used toothpicks to hold up the cookies here. But at least I was honest about it right? That makes it okay, right?
Anyway, I’m just glad to have this project in a rear-view mirror. (I’ve switched to using car puns now apparently.)
Next week, I move on to GBBS’s Season 1 Episode 3 – “Bread” which is great, because, like Oprah, I.LOVE.BREAD.
P.S. Maybe next week I’ll stop speaking in GIFs.