Or maybe the first. Probably somewhere in between. It was either that or a Futurama joke and I do try to keep this blog family-friendly.
A friend on G+ challenged me to make a bent-clock cookie as seen in Dali’s famous piece The Persistence of Memory. I Googled around to see if anyone else had made such a thing and found that the Dali Museum apparently sells two-dimensional bent-clock cookies, but that was all I could find.
So I made one:
The decorating wasn’t any particular challenge, but to get the cookie to bake bent – plus unbroken and stable for decorating – took some experimentation.
At first I thought I’d hang the cookies to bake with the hopeful result that they’d hang of their own accord after decorating. But I wasn’t sure if the dough would move too much, so I ran some tests.
I cut some ovals out of the dough and hung them on a flour-sprayed inverted cake pan:
In short order, though, it became apparent that there was going to be a weak spot at the bend:
Thus, even though I already had doubts about this working I knew people would inevitably ask, “Have you tried…” so I persisted. With memory. See what I did there? Heh. Yeah. Ahem. Anyway.
I tried adding extra material to the bend point and put that cookie on the pan along with the other two regular ones.
Annnnnnd…yup, there’s the negative result as anticipated:
But as Adam Savage so wisely said, “Failure is always an option.” It’s important, because it gives us data. And what do we do here at Eat the Evidence when we have an aesthetic failure of a tasty baked good?
In fact, since one of them actually came off the pan intact, it at least gave me hope that cookie bending was plausible by some other method.
Next I thought I’d try the Simi Flex Form Molds I had just been reviewing for use with gummy. I thought maybe if I could use some foil to hold the ends in place, I could somehow curve the strip under the cookie and hold it up during baking like an underwire. But just like underwires, this proved to be a hassle-prone idea because the flex form just didn’t want to stay in place, especially once it got slick with the flour spray:
To be fair, the flex forms were not made with this in mind so this is not in any way a strike against them. I was just trying to see if I could repurpose them for something else.
I bailed on the idea of using an inverted cake pan entirely and decided instead to try a muffin pan. I rigged up one cookie with no spray and one cookie with spray. I knew the top end would sag into the other cup, but figured this was worth a proof-of-concept try anyway.
If this had worked, I’d have done it again with foil or something in the other cup to hold the top edge up. But as shown below, it didn’t work. The sprayed side was a particularly bad result:
The time had come to realize that hanging it to bake just wasn’t going to work. I needed to prop it up face-down, meaning the interior corner would puff out and not be well-suited for actual hanging against a cornered edge, but at least I could get a stable bent cookie out of it.
So I cut another couple of ovals and propped them up against a silicone mini pan I won as a door prize and haven’t used for much else other than making a big candy star for a holiday cake:
Sure enough, this worked:
It sat around waiting to be decorated for several days because I was so busy with other projects. But eventually I got around to rolling and cutting some white fondant in the melted shape of the Dali clock and applying that to the cookie with some water and corn syrup. I then made a very dilute mixture of water and blue food gel and painted it on to look as close to the original painting as possible. I let that dry for nearly 24 hours to be sure it was completely dry.
Next I made the markings for the clock and wrote on the numbers. I then rolled a long snake of yellow and wrapped it around, pushing it gently to overlap the face edge, fixing it in place with corn syrup and water. I sculpted the teeny tiny bee and teeny tiny hands, then added the top knob and voila, a Dali-inspired actually-bent melted-clock cookie:
There you have it. You can bend cookies, as long as the recipe allows for it and you have it fully supported. Some doughs turn almost to liquid during baking (which is why they spread so far) and thus may not work as well as more stable doughs. I happen to know that this chocolate dough doesn’t spread so much, which is why I keep pushing it beyond sensible limits. If you want to make a bent cookie, be sure to test your preferred recipes in advance. You will likely not have trouble finding an audience to help you eat your evidence!