ACCIDENTAL COOKIES … INSPIRED BY A BOOK

“These have got to be the sorriest looking cookies ever … but boy, they smell so good.”

I’m talking about the cookies I just pulled out of the oven moments ago. It’s the second time I’ve made them in as many days, because they didn’t last long the first time. Clearly, looks don’t matter in this case.

But why are they called Accidental Cookies? Funny story that.

Have you ever read a book where the character is cooking or baking something that sounds absolutely delicious. So delicious, in fact, that it makes you want to cook whatever it is they’re cooking. Or at least, eat what they’re cooking? A bit of a When Harry Meets Sally “I’ll have what she’s having” feeling.

I had that feeling (the wanting to cook/eat feeling, I mean) when I was reading Lisa Gardner’s latest novel, Touch & Go earlier this week. One of the characters, Libby Denbe, was baking homemade cinnamon rolls. Those words were enough to get my mouth watering, but the description made me want to get up and cook pronto. Except it was 11pm, so I decided it would be better to wait for morning.

Sweet shortcrust pastry liberally sprinkled with white and brown sugars, and cinnamon.

She starts by preparing dough – a sweet shortcrust pasty: “…using pie dough halved the prep time while still yielding cinnamony delight”. What a great idea! Using shortcrust pastry instead of a yeast dough that takes hours, what with the kneading and proving. I filed this away for later. After rolling the dough into a “large, thin rectangle” she spreads butter across the surface, followed by my favourite part: “liberal handfuls of white sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon”. Lastly, she rolls the dough into “one long cinnamon-dusted snake”, slices it into inch thin sections and bakes them. The finished “buns” go down a treat, with the characters enjoying “the quick rush of buttery pastry and gooey cinnamon sugar”. I resolved to make them first thing the next day – wouldn’t the Fab Four like to wake up to that?

The next morning, I rolled out some defrosted shortcrust pastry (Yes, I had some already made) and went through the brushing, sprinkling  and nibbling the edges process. It was when I went to make “one long cinnamon-dusted snake” that the plan started to falter.  The pastry kept crumbling and breaking, so I had to resort to the roll, squash, roll, squash method. Eventually I ended up with a long, thin, knobbled dough sausage. A big yellow, speckled Bratwurst. It didn’t look like I imagined (ever find that with books and movies?) at all. The question then, at 7.30am and an 8am deadline to clean up, get dressed and get the kids to school, was, should I just chuck the dough and write it off as a bad joke. I’m sure the author would think it was pretty funny.

I decided to go ahead and bake the rolls anyway, but cut them into 1cm slices to speed the process. And knock me over with a feather, my gamble worked! They weren’t rolls, by any stretch of the imagination, but they were cookies. The smell brought the Fab Four out of their rooms and to the kitchen bench where they looked at the cookies and then at me … was that a whimper? And the taste … they looked strange, but the “buttery pastry and gooey cinnamon sugar” taste was unmistakable. We had a winner!

I’m not sure that Lisa Gardner meant for me to remember the cooking most about her latest novel (a review will be coming soon). But, I figure she’d forgive me once she tasted my Accidental Cookies with a glass of milk. Trust me, they’re that good. And you don’t need a recipe (well, maybe you do for the pastry) – just follow the instructions above.

Accidental cookies – they were meant to be buns.