It’s been a while. Again. But it’s lovely to be back.
On Saturday we made ginger biscuits as little thank you presents, and afterwards I mused on lessons learned versus lessons identified. As you do.
(Just in case it transpires that this is an idea that’s more idiosyncratic to my workplace than I’d realised, the thinking is that a lesson can’t be deemed “learned” until the knowledge has been put into action. Otherwise you might have identified what went wrong but still continue to make the same mistake over and over again. Which is a hobby of mine.)
So, what lessons should have been put into practice during the biscuit making? Well, the big splotches on some of them are because my dark brown muscovado sugar has gone lumpy and is near impossible to sift. I found this out the last time I used it, but did nothing about it. Hence, splotches.
Then there was the icing. The recipe said to use glace icing, but in my experience it just doesn’t set as hard as is needed in order to be able to stack biscuits. I learnt – sorry, identified – this some time ago, as I handed out iced cookies shaped like ducklings to the parents of some very lovely three year olds, with words along the lines of “Thank you so much for coming to the party. Here’s a biscuit for little Jimmy. The icing’s a bit tacky. Look forward to having yellow sugar all over your car by the time you get home.” Did I therefore use royal icing this time? Nope. Did the biscuits stick together a little when stacked? Yes. (#firstworldproblems, I know.)
The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again, but to expect different results. I prefer to think of it as hope springing eternal.
However, some lessons from the past really had been learnt. Reading the recipe right through at the start revealed that it was a little premature to pre-heat the oven as per step 1, as step 4 was to chill the dough for an hour and a half before cutting out and baking. Now that’s a lot of pre-heating. (A conspiracy between cookery writers and energy companies possibly? Now there’s a worthy premise for an episode of the X-Files. Or not.)
Secondly, I remembered someone once saying never to apologise for your food – always claim that it was meant to turn out like that. So when the biscuits were softer than I’d expected (which could have been right, or could have been because I didn’t get them in the tin quickly enough), I rebranded them as “gingerbread biscuits”. Gingerbread is soft, ergo these should be too.
And finally, the most useful life lesson of all. Everything looks better tied up with a ribbon.