At the beginning of November I had a cookie craving, and it occurred to me that I might as well make one of our favorite kinds of Christmas cookies; I could eat a few and freeze most of them, and be ahead of the to-do list. Our family's holiday traditions include platters piled with various kinds of cookies, most of which won't be seen again until the next Christmas. For this first session of baking I chose the soft Ginger Spice Cookies that feature an intoxicating combination of spices and diced candied ginger as well.
The recipe must have been just about perfect before I changed it just a little, and then the cookies came out terrible. Was it only the lack of sweetness that made them taste strongly of baking soda with pockets of overwhelming clove flavor? Or perhaps I hadn't mixed the dough enough? I thought I would have to throw them out.
But wait - couldn't they be used for something? If I dried them in the oven, and ground them finely in the food processor, I could use them as the basis for different cookies....so I tried just that. To the fine crumbs I added a cube of butter, an egg, and extra sugar and flour. A little more ground ginger and a tiny bit of cardamom. Then instead of dropping the dough by teaspoonfuls I chilled and rolled it, into trees. Now we have crisp gingerbread cookies that surprise the eater with an occasional tiny piece of candied ginger, and that warm your mouth with an even more complex and winning flavor. Alas, never to be duplicated.
This made me brave enough to tackle the other failed cookie product that had been sitting in the freezer for awhile, since the time I made some Russian Tea Cakes but only put in half as much flour as they needed. The buttery, pecan-studded cookie crumbs I had stuck in a jar in the freezer, being unwilling at the time to give up on them.
Now I dug them out and experimented in a similar way, adding an egg, sugar, flour, baking powder and lemon zest. I tried to roll this dough, too, but it would not hold together, so I shaped disks and stuck a pecan half on each one. Behold! Another new and non-repeatable Glad Christmas cookie, which the man of the house has tasted and approved. I do hope nonetheless that I can avoid making a yearly tradition of the Cookie Rescue.