I finally started the baking process of my 20time project. Using the YouTube video "Cooking with Alia" to guide me. I used her instruction to guide me- only, I decided to use semolina flour instead of corn meal as she had shown. I love baking, so the steps of the process were very enjoyable for me. The YouTube video made the entire experience very effortless at first. I watched. Then, I copied her; rewinding the clip a few times to double check my process.
Within the first 40 minutes I was accomplishing a lot: pitting and steaming the dates, mashing the semolina flour into a dough ball, rolling the dough into a snake like shape, as the video described-the aromas of orange blossom and date sugar flowing through the kitchen. The process seemed to easy though. I started to think Maybe I picked too easy of a 20time project? Reflecting as I kneaded the dough I continued: I already know how to bake, and I bake a lot. Maybe this wasn't really a project I was going to learn from. I became a bit concerned. Why was this going so easy? I had a memory from probably ten years ago of making these cookies with my aunt (her really doing all of the work). I tried to think about that memory: Was the process really not as hard as I had thought it would be?
Everything was going too well. I was confident about the process I had embarked on, and was imaginary delicious cookies soon to be enjoyed by all of the family. That is when I got to to filling the center of the dough with the date paste. I had used the food processor to mash the steamed dates. I set the paste aside in the fridge to cool, and I copied the snake shaped date tubes I had watched the girl in the YouTube video create. I cut into the dough tubes I had so carefully shaped, just as she did. When I went to place the paste into the dough; the dough quickly fell apart. The video showed the girl, wrapping the dough over the date tube and closing it up like a hot dog being sealed into its bun. When I tried to copy her; the dough cracked into pieces. The date paste squeezed out of the sides and I just couldn't get it to mold how I wanted. I kept trying, but the dough became more and more flimsy until I could not differentiate between dough and date paste. It was a blob like mess. I started to get frustrated. I had made it to the last step ,before cutting the pieces into bite sizes and deep frying them. How did I make it all this way without problems and on the last step, everything fell apart? In the end, I could not get the dough and date blend to mirror any sort of resemblance to what the cookie needed to look like. I knew I had already failed, but I didn't want to give up and waste all of that material.
So I added oil to a pan like the YouTube video displayed, and I waited for it to get hot. "Make sure the oil is hot enough so that the semolina does not fall apart and disintegrate" the girl in the video had warned. So I waited...I waited too long. When I through a few blob like shapes onto the pan, they burned quick. The kitchen smelled terrible. I learned something about myself: I had never deep fried anything and there was obviously a particular method to it that I needed to learn. The picture below was the outcome of a few attempts to deep fry the Makrouts: