Pros: I didn't spend a dime on it!
Cons: doesn't work, doesn't work, doesn't work... and it's hard to store the box
For the first time in many years, I have close over a dozen holiday presents to deliver to non-family members. There's the teacher, the teacher's aide, the speech pathologist, the occupational therapist, the vb consultant, the home therapy team and so on and so on....
I'm trying hard to come up with an idea to give to everyone that won't break my budget and yet still be appreciated. I thought about my old standby gift which is a Tupperware Spaghetti Dispenser. When you fill it with cookie mixes, it makes a utilitarian but not very attractive gift. Then I remembered the 2004 Wilton Yearbook! There's a giant cookie pan filled with holiday cookies. Wouldn't something like that make a wonderful gift?
So, back in September, I started baking and freezing cookies. I made Banana Bonanzas. I made Unbeatables. I made Butterscotch Coconut Drops. I made Toffee Toppers. I made Maple Peanut Yummies.
Then I attempted to make Citrus Pinwheels.
I had met my match.
You see, to make Citrus Pinwheels, you need a cookie press. I used to have a Wilton cookie press that disappeared a move or two ago. It probably ended up with a former roommate just like my favorite Lands' End rugby shirt of all time and they don't make those any more.
I had nothing to worry about. My fabulous mother in law gave me a Pampered Chef Cookie Press the last time I visited her. I would simply use this cookie press and I'll love it. After all, I have cookie press experience. It'll be a breeze. I feel the love.
I took the box holding the cookie press down from the shelf in my kitchen. Inside the box is the cookie press (closely resembling a caulking gun) and 16 decorator disks. Inside the lid of the box are drawings of the shapes the various disks ought to make out of cookie dough. Wow! I can make umbrellas and clovers and wreaths and all kinds of weird shapes!
This press is large. It has a wider diameter than my old cookie press and it holds a lot more cookie dough. No wimpy cookies here.
There's also an instruction manual. Inside the instruction manual, it says:
"Carefully read and follow all use and care instructions prior to first use."
Did I do that? Heck no!
The press is all set to go except for needing a quick swirl in soapy water to make sure it's clean.
I should have followed instruction #1 because instruction #2 says:
"Avoid gripping metal ratchet; mechanism is sharp and may cause injury during use or cleaning."
The Pampered Chef does not lie. That rachet is sharp. You know that soft webbing between your thumb and index finger? I do not recommend rubbing the rachet up against that part of your body. Take it from me. First hand experience. I'll put in a plug for the Liquid Bandage right here.
Properly chastened, I read the remainder of the directions.
I follow those directions exactly, even using a baking stone instead of my usual cookie sheets.
For reference, the directions read:
"1. Press release pin and hold. Pull top knob up all the way raising ratchet to starting position.
2. Unscrew bottom ring from barrel and fill three-fourths full with cookie dough.
3. Drop selected disk into bottom ring, numbered side facing away from dough; screw onto bottom of barrel.
4. Turn Cookie Press upright and depress release pin while lowering ratchet until plunger contacts and compresses dough.
5. To begin pressing cookie dough, squeeze lower trigger twice; ratchet will click twice. Dough should begin extruding through disk, if not repeat. Clean disk free of extruded dough and place Cookie Press upright on flat Baking Stone.
6. Squeeze lower trigger once and pull Cookie Press straight up. Re-position Cookie Press about 1 inch from previous cookie and squeeze trigger again; pull Cookie Press straight up. Repeat the one squeeze method until Baking Stone is full. Bake according to directions."
I did that. I did everything exactly as the Pampered Chef Company directed. I learned my lesson and have the bloody hand to prove it! Do I have a stone full of cookies? No! No matter what I do, that dough is still inside the press. The dough comes out of the press but it doesn't make beautiful little cookies. It loves the press so much that it extrudes but won't separate. My dough has separation anxiety. I'm not feeling the love. I'm not a cookie press novice. I've used them for years. It shouldn't be this hard!
I figure, maybe it doesn't like Citrus Pinwheels. So, I load up a pastry bag with a 1M tip and squeeze out Citrus Drops by hand. My wrists now hurt as much as my bloody paw because cookie dough is a lot harder to work with than any icing I've ever used before.
So, I decide to rip out a batch of Marbled Magical Wands. I've made these dozens of times with my old press.
Again, the dough just loves the Pampered Chef Cookie Press too much to want to come out and play.
The Magical Marbled Wands become Pink and Purple Twists.
I'm frustrated and don't want the Pampered Chef Cookie Press to win, even though I've determined that it doesn't like either of the two standby recipes that I used to make for years which has made the press useless for my purposes. Time for a batch of the Pampered Chef "Classic Spritz Cookie" batter and see if it was just turning up its nose at low-class recipes from other sources.
Nope. It didn't like its own recipe either.
The Pampered Chef Cookie Press went back in its box and I took a trip to Michaels for a Wilton cookie press. The Wilton press made short order of a batch of Spicy Coffee Shortbreads. The Pampered Chef Cookie Press flew back to Arizona with my fabulous mother in law.
While I don't know why anyone would be interested in a cookie press that doesn't work, if you're a masochist or have special powers in taming the Cookie Press beast that lies within the Pampered Chef model, the important things to know are that it holds up to 2 cups of cookie dough, it has a clear barrel, stainless steel hardware and it comes with 16 disks. You should hand wash this monster after use.