(Yes, I skipped a few weeks. I was too busy to blog while working toward my deadline on An Infamous Marriage, so I'm going to re-do the cookbooks I experimented with those weeks, when I drew a run of challenging, chef-y cookbooks that deserve proper blog attention. Maybe next time I won't have to deliberately choose the easiest recipes because I'm so busy, either.)
When I first moved to Seattle, the Mariners Wives did annual fundraiser cookbooks for local nonprofits, and I bought their 2002 Cookie Book but never tried any recipes from it. Paging through it as I worked on my shopping list last weekend, I saw a lot of the same recipes I'd eaten at church potlucks and the like growing up. But I wanted to challenge myself with something new, so I picked Ichiro and Yumiko Suzuki's submission:
Sweet Potato Cookies
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/4 c butter, softened
1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and boiled
1/2 c milk
3 T granulated sugar
1/2 c whipping cream
Preheat oven to 375. In a mixing bowl combine flour and baking powder. Add butter and mix well. In another bowl mash potatoes. Add eggs, milk, sugar, and whipping cream. Mix well. Add dry mixture to egg mixture. Knead dough with hands until smooth. Refrigerate for 1/2 to 1 hour. Roll out dough on a floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on a greased cookie sheet and puncture cookies with a fork to take out any air. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.
I would've been better off sticking with chocolate-peanut butter no-bake cookies or cupcakes made from cake mix, but with chocolate chips stirred in. Because there's something wrong with that recipe. I'm wondering if something got left out, either inadvertently or by omitting rather than substituting for a Japanese ingredient. First of all, when I mixed the ingredients, I ended up with not a dough but a batter. Now, "sweet potatoes" can mean different things in different places. I used what Amazon Fresh calls yams and I call sweet potatoes. The pretty orange kind. But I don't think any of the things calling themselves sweet potatoes are so different once cooked and mashed that using the wrong one would make a dough into a batter.
Time to improvise, I thought. I tasted the batter and discovered it was nigh-flavorless, which isn't much of a surprise based on that ingredient list. I'd noticed the absence of salt, spice, and the like, but thought maybe the sweet potato would be strong enough to make up for it. Nope! So I stirred in a teaspoon each of salt and vanilla extract plus several good shakes of cinnamon. When I tasted the batter again, it was decent, though subtle, so I poured it into a loaf pan and baked.
It baked up into a pretty pale-orange quick bread with a nice texture, but even with my additions it was so bland I decided to throw it out. I'd love to taste these cookies however Yumiko Suzuki actually makes them, because what ended up in this cookbook just can't be it. As a fan of pumpkin bread I'm intrigued by sweet potato cookies...but my bread was just Bland City.