Fail Up Friday: Waffle Cookies

Do you ever have those days when you try something and it’s a complete and utter flop… but you learn something from it? That’s failing up. And my new Fail Up Fridays series are a chance for me to share some of my utter flop moments with my readers.

Y’know… like that time my daughter and I tried to make cookies in a waffle iron.

Dubunking the Internets

I occasionally watch a YouTube channel hosted by Australian baker Ann Reardon called How to Cook That. I think she started her channel to demonstrate her next level baking and decorating skills, but what has started to capture the fascination of the web recently and seems to be lighting a fire under her subscriber base (at least reading into some of the comments she makes about the popularity of those types of videos) is her series on debunking cooking myths.

See, it turns out, the internet is not a uniformly noble and honest place. It turns out there are people of questionable moral character (gasp!) who post things that are provably untrue. I suppose this earns them short-term attention which can be mobilized into clicks and views and all those things that the unknowable artificial intelligences doling out advertising revenue seem to like. In short, people post crap because crap is easy and makes them money.

Countering this kind of misinformation are people like Ms. Reardon who leverage the power of good sense, knowledge of video trickery, and just simple, basic experimental evidence to demonstrate why things don’t work the way they are often portrayed online.

This is important, because even the most eagle-eyed among us are easily fooled by gimmicks and simple answers and quick fixes… and those things can be wasteful, destructive, and even dangerous.

Waffling on Facts

I’m pretty sure it was one of those kinds of dishonest “hacks” videos that germinated the seed of curiosity in my brain and made me think I could turn our electric waffle iron into a high-speed cookie baking machine.

Now, I’m not saying this will never work. I’m not saying you cannot cook cookie dough in a waffle iron and produce something resembling a waffle-shaped cookie. That said, pondering the science of baking and heat and logic, making a cookie in a waffle iron would likely require a very specific cookie dough with the right consistency of dough or batter, a particular quality of gluten development balanced with enough oil to crisp things up while not liquifying in the griddles of a waffle press. It could use some food science know how that exceeds my expertise as of yet.

It could be figured out tho.

It was just not as simple as the video we had watched implied. It was not as simple as squirting some refrigerated grocery-store cookie dough from a tube into a hot waffle iron and emerging victorious with a crisp, hot waffle cookie.

What emerged from my waffle iron instead is pictured above.

And the lessons learned , the failing up, was not to give up or that failure was the end, but rather for my daughter and I to try and understand why it didn’t work, what might make it work, how to look online for multiple sources of information confirming a method or idea, and (most importantly) how much work it can be to clean burnt cookie goop out of a waffle iron.

My recommendation, though, is to forget the waffle iron… that you’re better off cooking a monster skillet cookie in a cast iron pan anyhow.

Ten Sweet Desserts Made Sweeter By Cast Iron

If your Easter weekend was anything like mine, it involved a lot of food.

And like many holidays it also happened to involve a lot of sweet desserts. Here’s hoping you got your fill of flavourful delights this year. And for next time, here is some inspiration for how to get you holiday sugar rush with help from your cast iron pans.

1. Cobbler. Almost any fruit will do, but peach or apple slices baked with a crumbly sweet streusel topping can be scooped right from the oven to waiting dessert dishes.

2. Apple Pie. With a flaky pastry crust, a cast iron pan makes for a natural pie pan.

3. Dutch Baby. Call it popover or German pancake, or maybe even a Bismarck, this puffed pastry dish in a cast iron pan is delicate and tasty.

4. Ollie Bolen. My Oma’s recipe for these small, sweet apple fritters was passed down through the generations and we deep fry in our Dutch Oven for New Years every year.

5. Funnel Cakes. Fried in a few centimeters of oil, swirly sweet funnel cakes topped with powdered sugar remind me of being a kid at the summer carnival.

6. Coffee Cake. A standard cake doesn’t do great in cast iron, but the dense, crumbly consistency of a traditional coffee cake works just great.

7. Brownies. Thick and chewy bars of chocolate baked right in a big old skillet. No excuse required.

8. Cinnamon Rolls. Sweeten your sourdough bread recipe and then roll it with butter, cinnamon and sugar. Baked up golden and caramelized are great plain or drizzled with cream cheese frosting.

9. S’mores. No campfire required, a graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallow open faced sandwich toasted under the broiler on a cast iron skillet is a close second to the camping version.

10. Skillet Cookie. A big lump of cookie dough smashed into a small 6 or 7 inch cast iron pan, served hot from the oven and topped with whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup and sprinkles is a sharable hit for kids of any age.

People like lists. I like people. So I’m giving the people what they like. I ran a blog for 16 years and one of the most popular posts ever on that blog was a list of “100 things” that I’d compiled and posted. I’m trying to recreate something similar over the next couple months for the cast iron guy blog. This post will eventually form part of that mega list.