Making Do With What You’ve Got!

When you’re  on a race to use up ingredients before they go bad, you sometimes have to improvize. I had decided to make “Sour Cream Tea Cakes” for Andy for Valentine’s Day. I got the recipe from “Just a Pinch Recipes.” It started out as Marsha Gardner’s recipe but ended up as mine.

The cookie recipe included 3 cups cake flour and unsalted butter. I rarely have unsalted butter so I went online and looked up if using unsalted butter as called for was a matter of baking life or death. It’s not. One writer/baker even gave “permission” for bakers to use regular butter if that’s all they had. They said that many times people use unsalted butter so that they can control the taste. I just left out the 1/2 teaspoon of salt called for in the recipe.

The next problem was that the big box of cake flour I had sitting on my kitchen table was nearly empty. I went back on the internet, and found out how to substitute all-purpose flour for cake flour. Here’s what you do: measure out the three cups of all-purpose flour and then take out 2 tablespoons of the flour per cup, so for three cups you take out six tablespoons. Then you put six tablespoons of cornstarch back into your flour mixture and sift.

Then I wanted to finish off the sugar and not open a new bag, so I cut down the one cup sugar to 3/4 cup sugar. I knew there was plenty of sugary goodness in the frosting. 

Now I love frosting more than anything. I’m one of those people who thinks the cake part of a cupcake is merely there as a shelf for frosting, but at the same time frosting kind of scares me. Frosting doesn’t try to hide the fact that it is mostly just sugar and butter. I’m also not fantastic at applying it. But the best thing about these cookies (let’s be honest) is the frosting. I couldn’t just sprinkle some powered sugar on the cookies and call it a day. I went ahead and frosted those little so and sos! 

Luckily everything turned out great and I was able to get rid of lots of stuff.

Final use-up tally

box of cake flour

end of the bag of regular flour

end of bag of sugar

all the butter

Added bonus I learned two new things about baking and I’ve shared them with you!

The cookies are amazing-perhaps the best I’ve ever made. The good thing is because they are so loaded with sugar, one is enough– actually half of one is plenty.

Kurt’s going to take some to his girlfriend because they are her favorites. I’m encouraging anyone nearby to come over for some tea and cookie.

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About cschoenwald

I'm a writer and performer living in Southern California. I love personal essays and personal storytelling of all kinds. I also have a background in sketch-comedy and improv, so humor is very important to me too.
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