The Great British Bake Along – Week Two

Welcome to biscuit week! When Paul Hollywood uttered the immortal words ‘Fortune Cookies’ last week, my heart sank. Here I was, hoping for a delicious morsel to have with a cup of coffee and he gives me bloody fortune cookies to make. Do they even really count as a biscuit? Do people actually eat them or are they just a vehicle for the bizarre pearls of wisdom(?) within.

Having watched last week’s episode, I was quite daunted by the task ahead of me. The bakers all seemed to have some kind of issue with the assembly of the cookies, or with the baking time – I can see why Paul set this as a technical challenge.

When I read the recipe, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I already had most of the ingredients and equipment needed. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary, so I’ve got no “wrong size pan” excuse this week…

The first stage of the recipe called for egg whites to be beaten with oil until “frothy but not aerated”, which is not an instruction I have ever come across before. I erred on the side of caution, using a little guess work and having read ahead (something I sometimes forget to do) noticed that the recipe is adamant that there be no air bubbles in the final mix so only mixed until the eggs were just frothy throughout.

Once mixed, I added to the dry ingredients and split the mixture between two bowls and a piping bag (which I almost forgot to do entirely, don’t tell PH) to add the different flavours. On the show, the orange cookies came out quite pale so I went for it with the orange colouring.

I decided to tackle the almond cookies first. The recipe calls for the cookies to be baked two at a time, which is lengthy and a faff but once the first batch came out of the oven it became obvious why. The cookies need to be shaped immediately, which involved me very carefully peeling the cookies off the silicon baking sheet with a palette knife and then forming into a pasty shape around the fortune, bending them over the rim of a glass and placing them in a muffin tin to set (breaaaaathe). It was at this point that I realised I would be doing a lot of swearing because my fingertips now resembled Will Smith’s after he touches the silver orb in Men in Black. I could now fight the worst scum of the universe, should the urge take me.

The cookies are really thin and cool quickly, which is great for the pain factor but awful for the shaping. They will solidify and crack if you don’t get them into the right shape quickly enough.

The orange cookies were slightly different to arrange on the baking sheet. I spread the circles of batter out, as before and added six dots to each using the reserved batter in the piping bag. I then turned the dots into little hearts using a cocktail stick – these turned out to be easier to create than I anticipated. Despite being a bit gung-ho with the orange colouring, once baked they also turned out a little pale. I still think they look quite pretty though. I dipped the almond cookies in white chocolate and hazelnuts to decorate.

I am quite pleased with how they turned out, but wouldn’t make them again (sorry, PH) simply because I think they are a bit nothingy. If I’m going to spend a few hours in front of an oven, I want something truly delicious at the end of it. To that end, I felt guilty about sending such a non-snack to K’s office that I made them a filthy millionaire’s shortbread to make up for it!

If you feel the desire to melt your fingerprints off for the sake of some sugar cookies, you can find the official recipe here: Paul’s Fortune Cookies

I’m off to watch GBBO now to find out what I’ll be baking this week.

See you next week!

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