In addition to being my go-to-for-anything-and-everything best friend, Amy is also my biggest blog supporter. She is always complimenting me on it and telling others about it. Kind of like a proud mama.
Recently she told me that she prefers the posts I do for recipes outside of cooking groups, commenting that I seem to be more excited about them. And very often this is true. While a lot of people prefer having others make decisions for them, I am not one of them. I like to be in control so the fact that I have joined groups where there is so little decision making is probably a sign of personal growth.
Personal growth aside, cooking groups have, without question, grown me as a cook. There are a ton of recipes here on this little blog of mine that I would have never chosen because of they were too intimidating or there was a technique I had never tried or an ingredient I didn't like. Sometimes when one of those shows up on the rotation, I skip it. More often than not, I go with it and stretch my creativity and skills and have become a much better cook because of it.
I was excited about Salted Butter Breakups as this week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe and one that I have wanted to make since receiving Around My French Table. A gigantic cookie that you throw in the middle of the table and encourage everyone to break off and eat with abandon? How fun!
Basically a salty shortbread cookie, this comes together easily enough. I enjoyed making the cross hatch pattern and anxiously awaited while the cookie baked to a perfect golden brown. Pulling the cookie out of the oven I was patting myself on the back because it completely looked like the one in the book. I took a bite and was kind of disappointed that the flavor was good, but boring. I was expecting more saltiness but I kept breaking off little chunks.
The next day, the big cookie sat in it's container almost untouched. I took another bite, again not bad, just nothing special. Feeling guilty and wasteful, I decided to try and doing something creative with it. I tossed a can of peaches with some sugar, flour, lemon juice, and vanilla paste and placed the mixture in ramekins, crumbling the cookie over it to create a crisp. The cookies were a great crisp topping adding both subtle flavor and crunch.
I don't know that I would have ever made this recipe if I weren't in this group. And I don't think I will ever make it again. However, if I had tasted this cookie and thought this is the best cookie ever (like I did a couple of days ago with a cookie called Chunky Lola), I would have never put together the impromptu peach crisp. This is a great example of how being in a cooking group has pushed me out of my comfort zone and isn't just about what ends up on the plate, but how I grow through each recipe.
Has participating in this group made you a better cook?