After my Imperial Cookie press died (after an all too short life), I set my sights on the Russell Hobbs Biscuit and Cookie maker. I wanted to fall in love with it, but I couldn’t. I loved the snazzy clip lock box which it came in, I loved the fact that it was electric instead of manual. After trying 4 different recipes (all from the booklet which came with the cookie press) and Viennese Biscuits which are my favourite, I gave up in despair and returned it. I must say that the staff at Russell Hobbs did their best to help me and I was even sent another ‘fool proof’ recipe to try which I followed to the letter.
My first problem was that the press made a clicking noise, I spoke to a very nice man in the technical department who said that it sounded like the motor was straining. He assured me that the machine was SABS approved. My husband, Cliff, who is an enginner says that there will not be any SANS or other standard specifically applicable to a cookie press and that SABS approval would in all liklihood cover aspects like electrical safety, but not be any indicator of the ability of the device to produce consistent quality cookies and certainly not cover aspects like the type or stiffness of cookie dough that can be used in the device. In any case I tried to make the cookie dough softer once but still had the same problem. If I ignored the clicking noise (which didn’t always happen) my biggest problem was that it did not release properly and only about 1 in 5 cookies were well-formed to my satisfaction. Looking at the discs on the Imperial Cookie Press (which actually did a better job until it turned up its toes) the holes on the Russell Hobbs discs are slightly smaller, I believe that fractionally bigger holes may have improved things. The Imperial Cookie Press had plastic discs with slightly bevelled edges, the Russell Hobbs discs are flat stainless steel, I also think that the bevelled edges may play a part in the press working better.
In the case of making the Viennese Biscuits which I love, I had to add liquid to make the dough soft enough to get through the small holes, this then compromised the recipe taking away the melt in the mouth texture which makes them so special. In my perfect world a cookie press would be designed by a professional baker, it would be tested making cookies pre-production. I would then use the fact that Chef x played an integral part in creating the perfect cookie press and make that part of my marketing.
The very sad part is that now Cliff says that I should not bother getting another, but I still really really want one! Maybe with the profits from Sula’s Kitchen I will sneak off and try another brand. If anyone reading this can recommend a brand which works beautifully and is durable please let me know in the comments block below. I am prepared to spend up to a max of R350.