How to make next-level cook­ies

Man­ual Food & Drink Co.’s Emma Adamski of­fers up tips on how the wow with your hol­i­day bak­ing.

The Coast - Food and Drink Holiday Recipes - - Contents - BY AL­LI­SON SAUN­DERS

Emma Adamski’s hol­i­day eat­ing tra­di­tions in­clude her mom’s but­ter tarts and her fam­ily uni­form (“buf­fet pants”), but wacky, hand-crafted sugar cook­ies? Not so much. A cook, not baker, by na­ture, Adamski is one-half Man­ual Food & Drink Co. (the other half is her other half, Sonny), maker of some of the most beau­ti­ful, artis­tic desserts in town.

“Sugar cook­ies are prob­a­bly one of the most bor­ing-tast­ing cook­ies. The dough lends it­self re­ally well to ‘cut-outs’ as it holds its shape de­cently when baked, but has lit­tle ex­cit­ing or sur­pris­ing po­ten­tial flavour-wise,” she says. She says the lame, one-note taste of the tra­di­tional hol­i­day sweet is what makes it the per­fect ves­sel for un­ex­pected and over-the-top decor. “Sud­denly some­thing so bor­ing be­comes this supremely ironic homage to pop­cul­ture, an in­side joke or a beau­ti­ful piece of art.” ‘

Here’s how she went next-level with these cook­ies.

1. Google dot com

It’s to­tally OK to seek out a sugar cookie recipe via the in­ter­net since most of them are sim­ple, and iden­ti­cal. “My main tip would be to al­ways use salted but­ter in­stead of un­salted, and if you want them to taste more in­ter­est­ing, sub­sti­tute the vanilla ex­tract for al­mond or hazel­nut,” says Adamski. “I main­tain that salt is the most im­por­tant in­gre­di­ent in any­thing sweet you will ever make.”

2. Make a plan

“I think my desserts are unique be­cause I try to bake like I cook,” says Adamski. “I al­ways start the process of cook­ing or bak­ing by vi­su­al­iz­ing my end re­sult and dis­sect­ing its com­po­nents. I often make draw­ings and di­a­grams to help make sense of every­thing. I think this guides every­thing I do in an artis­tic di­rec­tion.”

3. The wait­ing is the hard­est part

“Pa­tience is a strug­gle with these cook­ies. In or­der for them to hold their shape when they bake, it’s im­por­tant for the dough to be thor­oughly chilled be­fore you roll them out.” Adamski sug­gests chill­ing the dough for at least an hour be­fore you get cut­ting, and pop­ping the en­tire pan in the freezer for 10 min­utes be­fore bak­ing.

4. Don’t be afraid to im­pro­vise

“There are many places to buy cute cookie-cut­ters, but it’s also fun to ex­per­i­ment with just free-hand­ing your cut-outs with a par­ing knife dusted with flour,” says Adamski.

5. Get cre­ative with ic­ing

Whip up an easy batch of royal ic­ing and, if you’re get­ting real artsy, mix a lit­tle vodka in with your gel food colour­ing with to cre­ate a wa­ter­colour­like glaze. “Pipe or glaze the cook­ies how­ever you want, al­low­ing enough time in be­tween colours for the ic­ing to set. If it’s not set, colours may bleed,” she says. “Some­times it takes for­ever for the ic­ing to set, so make sure you have Net­flix and wine.”

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