Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Italian Chocolate Sandwich Cookie

Hey Giada De Laurentiis from Food Network, I get it. You're Italian. Every recipe in the world with some derivation of the word "Italy" in the title is clearly yours and yours alone. Great job with the whole Italian empire, Giada. You really stuck it to the man when you shaped the country like a boot. What's that? You claim an Italian cookie recipe? Oh Giada. You're so silly. Surely you jest. Well, I'll humor you.

I'm going to hit on a few key ingredients and steps but you can find the full recipe for Giada's Italian Chocolate Sandwich Cookie on Food Network: The "I'm from ITALY Cookie"

Before I get into the cookie making I must make this public service announcement. Dear Cookie recipe creators: I know you live in a make believe world of sunshine and gumdrops but I do not. Would it be so difficult for you to mention the necessity of a specific cookie cutter BEFORE I make the dough? Like in the first sentence? I, unlike you, do not have an arsenal of various cookie cutters of all adorable shapes and sizes. I know what you're thinking Giada, how absurd! You don't have peons from Food Network HQ to get you that in 35 seconds or they're fired? No Giada (and every other cookie recipe sage ever), I don't. Thanks for all your not help. Please just do me a solid and tell me about 1 3/4 inch round cookie cutter I'll need in the ingredients or something. Or the title. 1 3/4 inch Round Cookie Cuttered Italian Chocolate Sandwich Cookie. That sounds nice.

Now, on to baking!

This cookie sounded not only delicious but also interesting. If completed successfully, it could rank very high on the Impress-Your-Friends-O-Meter. Sandwich cookies are, by nature, the best things ever invented. With every bite of delicious cookies you also get a mouthful of either creamyness, chocolateyness, or ice cream(ness). There are so many other things in this world that would benefit from being sandwiched with the aforementioned fillings (ahem, ECONOMY, where's your delicious inside?).

So immediately I was interested. Plus, this recipe has some wonky ingredients. Orange zest? In the cookies and the cream? Cornmeal in the cookies? Giada! You're playing with fire, girl!

I set off making the dough and it seemed easy enough. The recipe basically asks you to dive right in with your hands and go nuts. I did. And honestly, I thought I was doing an excellent job. But the cornmeal worried me. Right from the start. I like cornmeal. I like polenta. I do not understand where they fit in cookies. It made the dough look grimy...almost like the grit in red clay (hey Art School, thanks for all the jobs you got me!) and that made me uncomfortable. Sure, gritty clay has always looked delicious but I wasn't positive that today would be the day I'd want to eat a fistful of it.

I soldiered on and refrigerated the dough for a couple hours even though it still didn't look quite right. I was supposed to form it into a a round shape and plastic wrap it before refrigerating and, while I did do this, it was a rather crumbly creation. In hindsight, I probably should have added a bit of water or something. But what's that they say about hindsight? Hindsight is Italian Chocolate Sandwich Cookies?

The next step in the recipe was clearly my downfall (ps this cookie takes a turn for the worse FYI). Rolling out the dough proved to be ridiculous. Not only do I hate rolling out dough (hey peons from Food Network, I bet yall do this for Giada, don't you...suckers) but this dough simply did not roll out. I tried. Really. I made a mess. Really! But no dice. I decided then and there to be bold. I was going to beat the crap out of the dough with my cold dead hands.

Here's the problem with this solution: Giada wonderfully suggested that the dough be 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. That's all well and good when you are using your trusting rolling pin. These hands of mine not only don't do eyeball measurements (they're hands, silly!) but they also do not pound out dough (giggle) in an even and/or flat manner. I got some lumpy, gritty dough out of this. Some parts were thick, some were was a mess.

I'm super smart (duh) and great at problem solving (double duh) so I got out my trusty 1/3 cup thinger to use for my cookie cutter. It was swell! I gave myself a solid pat on the back, managed to cut out an odd amount of cookies (super smart!) and went on baking them.

Things got weird. Half of the cookies looked like this:

Yum! A perfect Sandwich Cookie!

While the other half looked like this:

What the hell is that?

I was not amused.

After the whole some-cookies-too-thick-some-cookies-too-thin debacle of 2009, I set to work on the happy creamy filling. Surly this would be successful!

It was. The cream was delightful tasting (you can't go wrong with cream). Except one thing. Clearly not enough creamy crap. Which is odd too because the recipe says it makes "28 cookies." 28 sandwich cookies? 14 sandwich cookies? GIADA GET WITH IT. ALL OF ITALY IS DEPENDING ON YOU! Anyways, there simply wasn't enough goo which was honestly, really too bad. Here's why...

The cookies themselves are just not any good. They taste exactly like I imagined: a child's "I <3 MOM" coffee mug made in 6th grade art class for the holidays. It tasted like gritty red clay! How is this even possible! Did no peons taste these cookies, Giada? Well, they needed all the orange cream in the world and Giada only provided enough ingredients for a ridiculously little amount of cream. Not nearly enough to save these monstrosities. I should have known something was up when my dog helped himself to some wayward pieces of dough and started gagging. That animal will eat raw pasta. AND HE LIKES IT.

Here's my classy camera phone picture of the end result:

And the final verdict:
TASTE: 2.5/5 > Delicious cream. World's worst cornmealy cookies.
EASE: 2/5 > remember that time rolling out dough was impossible? I do!
FILTH OF KITCHEN: 5/5 > Anytime rolling out dough is involved, my kitchen takes a beating. Also, there was cornmeal from here to ya-ya.
DID THE DOG EAT IT THE DOUGH: yes and no. He did willingly approach it. It also made him gag.
IMPRESS-O-METER: 4/5 > The impressive factor is still there in the completed cookie just because of the flavors (mmm orange cream excites my palate is what they'll all say to sound smart) and the overall cookie sandwich promise.

SHOULD YOU MAKE THIS COOKIE? Not unless you hate yourself


  1. I have a couple of questions for you. First were there other flours other than the cornmeal? I can understand using a little bit just for added texture but all cornmeal does sound bad. As for the orange zest how much did she tell you to add? If more than a tsp then way too much. Also peons that work for giada probably have no talent and just want to be on tv and are useless in a kitchen. Anyway i enjoyed reading it and the shots at giada.

    -WG (culinary insider)

  2. It was equal parts flour and cornmeal - 1 cup each. I really thought the cornmeal was overpowering and odd. There was a 1/3 cup of cocoa powder just to make it even dustier and gross.

    as for the orange zest, both a tsp in the cookie and in the cream. I really didn't think it had much effect on the cookies (seriously, I'm still finding cornmeal in my teeth 12 hours's the only thing that made an impression) but I actually thought the tsp in the cream was really really yummy. I would probably make the cream on its own and wash my hair with it or something. I'd smell and taste really good.

  3. Was it a basic whipped cream/Chantilly cream? if so I understand. Here at school I sometimes find myself bathing in stock/demi and making toddler stock. Im only kidding about the bathing in the stock/demi. Toddler stock is delicious. very high in collagen.

  4. I find it best to use cornmeal cookies as an all over body-exfoliant. Makes me feel brand new, really.