Frankencookies; Or the Story of How I Cannot Seem to be Satisfied with Simplicity

I don’t bake nearly as often as I aught, considering how much I missed having an oven for the year I didn’t have one, but recently for a work event I had volunteered to bake some cookies, so I hunted for a recipe, found one by Cooking Classy, preheated the oven and got to work.

Ok, I lie, I found the recipe a good week before I actually made the “test batch”…which was the first batch of the night when I was making them for the event. I’ve been busy and just didn’t find the time to make a bunch of sweets just for me and the cat to nibble at.

Of course, I also decided that I wasn’t satisfied with just making “peanut butter” cookies, but instead wanted to use up some Nutella I had bought and never opened.

Oh, and I didn’t actually go shopping with the list of ingredients, glancing at it and assuming that so long as I grabbed butter and peanut butter everything else was already in my cabinet.

The first problem was that that was wrong — I had maybe a tablespoon of brown sugar — nowhere near enough for the doubled recipe I was making. Sadly, I didn’t even have molasses, which I might have been able to sub in taste wise.

So, first substitution: 1/2 cup of brown sugar became a healthy squirt of honey.

Second substitution: one batch had the 3/4 cup of peanut butter replaced with 3/4 cup of Nutella.

For those of you who have done such things before, you have surely found my error: Nutella and peanut butter have no where close to the same consistency. Where the peanut butter batter was sandy, also dry to the touch, the Nutella batter was a gloppy mess.

So of course, being me, stubborn and filled with visions of unearned successes, proceeded to plop down a few spoonfuls of each on a try, split the piles in half and rejoin them so that each dough parcel was half peanut butter and half Nutella, pressed down with a fork (with some effort as the Nutella kept sticking, and baked.

They came out uneven, the Nutella halves having flattened out far more than the peanut butter halves, and even under-baked in places. Undeterred, I did it again, this time baking them for slightly longer, but following the same construction.

The results of batches 1 and 2.

They’re fine? Fine. But I knew, I knew in my heart of hearts that I could do BETTER. At this point I was tired, it was after 10pm due to a Dungeons & Dragons game going way later than it was supposed to, and I maybe should have asked for advice.

Instead I plopped down the spoonfuls of peanut butter batter, slapped some Nutella batter on top of those and smooshed ’em down with a knife to try to make a layered cookie, than baked.

Honestly not as bad as I expected.

It worked! Mostly! They were quite uneven, and prone to falling into disarray in the assembly, so I took a gulp of water, told my cat I loved her, and made one final batch.

ONE COOKIE TO RULE THEM ALL.

As you might be able to see from the pictures, I put all of the peanut batter down, folded the silicon mat over it and pushed down to flatten and spread it out, than added the Nutella batter and repeated the process. Once baked and cooled, I cut it in rough squares and packed it up to bring to the office.

Lesson 1: Maybe try a test batch of an untested recipe BEFORE the night before the event.

Lesson 2: Different batters bake at different speeds; when doing this sort of layered nonsense bake the bottom layer for a minute or so first (maybe? hopefully?) and then put the more liquid batter on top for the remainder of the time.

Lesson 3: Apparently the base recipe is pretty good cause on a day where we have literally a dozen varieties of cookies to eat my coworkers ate like, three dozen of these things.

But yeah, that was my Tuesday night. I wrote it up as a post because after the second time I started to tell the story to an uninterested party I realized that I needed to get it out of my system, and why not do so here?

Morgan

The Problem With Palettes

Some of you may know that one of my hobbies is doing work with perler beads. I even have an Etsy store that occasionally people buy things from; it’s wiLd. But one thing that I’ve struggled with since starting to work in the medium a few years ago was converting the colors in existing pixel art images (say, sprites from games) into the colours available in the beads. There are a variety of homespun programs for this, of varying usages, and for a while I’ve been using one that I can’t find the initial source of, and is simply saved as “perler.jar.”
However, that program doesn’t really let you selectively tweak colors or regions to better fit a particular feel you may be going for, and it doesn’t have all of the colors now available. The solution, in my opinion, was to use a program like Aesprite with a custom palette that I kept up to date with any new released colours.

I decided to start by downloading all of the images of the existing colors from the official Perler website, by going to each color in the 1000 bead range (mostly the matte, non-stripe ones) and downloading the webp files that they were using to advertise the colors. I immediately hit an issue–there are only a few actual pictures that they’ve doctored to make look at the different colors. Now not every image is a duplicate (the newer the color, the more likely it appears to have a unique image, but some of them are just very very obvious.

I did my best to then take the colors from those images and make a palette–first a png and then an Aseprite compatible file and probably due to my inexperience with such things, it was really..off and gave me a set of colors that were inaccurate and unworkable.

So, like any denizen of the internet, I looked online for an up-to-date palette.
And no one seemed to have one. The subreddit didn’t seem to have one. The most prominant YouTuber I know of in the scene (Pixel Art Shop)’s palette was multiple sets of new colours out of date. Even the most up to date chart I found was missing the most recent set of eleven colours.

I took what I had found and updated the file I had made, and set myself to the task of the remaining eleven colors. I tried to use a phone app for determining the color in a photo or being looked at by the phone’s camera, but I quickly found out that my phone processes at least some purples as rich blues, and other colors were also not quite right.

Out of quick options I did my best to match the remaining colors using https://encycolorpedia.com/ , and while none of them are perfect, I finally have a working palette and can actually use it for the intended purpose.

All that done (which all in all happened across several days) I decided to write this post and attach the files I have; maybe they can help someone else along the way.

Cheers.

The files I have currently can be download from here.