179 Chapter 176 Cookie Recipe
"We start with the flour," Stella said, handing him a bowl of wheat.
"What?" Joseph asked, with a laugh. "I'm supposed to grind my own flour?"
"Why not? Instead of using magic all the time, try doing things the old-fashioned way. The grain grinder is right over there," she said, smirking as she pointed to the grinder mounted on the thick table behind him.
"Alright, how much do we need?" he asked, setting the bowl down and examining the grinder curiously. A tiny makers mark of a mouse attested to the fact it must have been brought over from the other realm with some of the beast-kin.
"The recipe requires three and a third cups of finely ground flour. In my life as Sylva, it would have been called all purpose."
Joseph dutifully placed a handful of grain in the grinder, making sure there was a bowl under the outspout, and began turning the handle to grind the grain. As it slowly trickled out, he looked at the results and gave her an incredulous look.
Stella couldn't hold back her laugh anymore, and ended up leaning against the counter holding her belly.
"Oh, haha," he grumbled.
A bowl of fine white flour replaced the bowl of unground grain.
"Oh, spoil sport," she laughed, wiping her eyes.
Setting the bowl down next to her, he said, "Okay, other than flour, what's in these mystical cookies?"
"The next thing is baking soda and salt. Both of which we get from mines far to the west."
"Wait, I know that salt can come out of the ground, but baking soda?" he looked at the white powder she pulled out of her purse, suspiciously.
"How else do you think it's made? Sylva's people always mined it, and crushed it into fine powders to use for baking with. It actually comes in many different colors. I always liked the blue myself, but it's white here."
It was indeed baking soda. While it wasn't completely pure, it would definitely do the job.
"I guess I never thought about it before."
She raised an eyebrow. "How can you consume food, and not know where it came from? That would be like going to a market, and purchasing food, without understanding that the eggs came from chickens or the milk from goats."
Joseph was silent because he knew that happened a lot in some of his previous lives.
"How much baking soda and salt go into these cookies?"
She raised an eyebrow at his redirection, but turned back to the table. "One and a half teaspoons of baking soda, and one and three quarters of a teaspoon salt."
"There's more salt than baking soda?"
"Are you going to question every ingredient?"
"Mix those three together, and set the bowl aside while we work on the other parts."
Joseph dutifully measured and mixed the three ingredients,
Stella went over to the cabinet that had been magically reinforced to stay cool inside, and pulled out a bowl of butter.
"Measure out a cup of this butter into another bowl," she said, handing it to him, as she closed the cabinet.
"Wow a whole cup? No wonder I like them. I just hope I don't get fat off of these."
"That's not the best part. We need two cups of sugar and a third of a cup of molasses."
"Let me guess, we don't have brown sugar?"
"If we had brown sugar, it would be two cups of brown sugar, but we don't, so it's white sugar and molasses."
"It's a good thing I had sugar cane grown down here."
"Otherwise these poor people would never know the joys of white sugar," she said with a grin.
"Exactly." Joseph measured and mixed again, as Stella watched him carefully, to make sure he mixed it enough. He was tempted to use magic again, but decided not to, with her hawk gaze on him.
"That's nice and creamy, you can stop stirring it now."
"Are you sure? I can scrape the bowl a couple more times to be sure," he said, exaggerating the scrapes along the edges.
"Oh, you!" she said with a laugh, shaking her head. "We need to add three eggs to the sugar mix, and some vanilla extract."
Taking a jar out of another cabinet, the vanilla beans could barely be seen floating in the alcohol.
Cracking an egg against the edge of the bowl, he froze when some of the shell fell into the mix.
"Use the spoon to get it out," Stella said, holding out a spoon before he could use his fingers or magic.
Closing his mouth, Joseph took the spoon and chased the tiny piece of shell around the bowl, before finally getting it out with the spoon. The next two eggs he cracked into another bowl, before he added to the sugar mix.
"Alright, how much vanilla extract?"
"I love vanilla, so I put in three teaspoons."
"Isn't that a bit strong for this concentrate of vanilla extract?"
She looked at him, blinking a couple of times, and he sighed, measuring out three teaspoons of the extract. The smell of the vodka was pretty strong, but he didn't say anything. He now knew why she loved these cookies so much.
"Now, mix the wet ingredients until they are smooth, and we'll start adding in the flour mix."
"This is looking pretty good, could I try it?" he asked, glancing at her as she turned back to look at him in horror.
Laughing he mimed taking a bite, and she glared at him until he went back to stirring. She made him add the flour mixture until it was incorporated, but not over-mixed, then pulled out the best ingredient of them all, the bowl of chocolate chips.
"How many of those, do we add?" he asked, watching as she smelled them with a smile.
"Three- and three-quarter cups," she said with a wide grin, pouring them carefully into the measuring cup.
"Wait, that's more chocolate chips than flour!" he exclaimed, as she dumped the chocolate into his bowl of cookie dough.
"I know!" she crowed in delight, taking the bowl and stirring the chips in and grabbing the cookie sheet off the shelf behind him.
Joseph stepped back and watched her space the tablespoon-sized mounds an equal distance from each other onto the cookie sheet, easily getting twelve cookies on it, before grabbing another sheet. By the time she was done, there were thirty-six cookies ready to bake in the oven.
"What's the temperature?" she asked him, glancing inside the oven.
"About 450 degrees Fahrenheit, or 230 degrees Celsius. Isn't that a bit hot?"
"Nope! That's perfect!" she said, sliding all three cookie sheets into the oven and shutting it securely.
"How long do they cook?" he asked, furrowing his brow in concern. He didn't want them to burn!
"Only about five minutes! I like to take them out about four and a half, because they keep cooking. If they stay too long, they burn quickly."
Joseph stepped back and watched her do her magic. She had said there was another ingredient, but he hadn't seen her add anything. Maybe it was the vodka from the vanilla extract? He doubted it.
At just the right time, she pulled the sheets out, and set them on the counter. Then with a thin metal spatula, she transferred them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
"You can have one now," she said, popping one in her mouth with a soft moan of delight, closing her eyes as she savored the gooey mess.
"It's a good thing I gave you a tattoo that protects against fire, otherwise I'm pretty sure that was too hot to eat."
"Oh, it was," she said after chewing and swallowing. "Now, we just need a couple of glasses of cold milk."
"Done," he said with a smile.