I am baking…again. At this point I am not sure why I do it. It makes me a little crazy. It all started as a small thank you for John’s co-workers and has grown from there. It takes me literally HOURS across several days to get it all accomplished. I make tons of dough and freeze it. I make even more dough and refrigerate it (mostly slice and bake cookies). Then of course there is the ACTUAL baking and assembling of the platters. This year I am making 15 platters with 16 varieties of cookies for neighbors, friends and John’s coworkers.
Why do I do it? I am not sure any more. When I was young Mom used to make the ever popular “thumbprint” cookies and we all chipped in and loved it. Then of course there were the “candy cane” cookies (twisted ropes of 2 colored dough that look like candy canes when baked that are a pain in the ass to make) and a few others. We all ate them. It was fun. Now in my house I bake and no one is allowed to eat any of them, unless they break and then they can be eaten for quality control.
Why do I do it if it makes me so crazy? I start out saying, “Oh, it won’t be so bad.” “I can get it done quickly this year.” “It’ll be fun, Jack will be home and he can help.” Then I start looking thru my numerous books for “easy” recipes. The ones that will revolutionize the baking process, saving me time and frustration. Before you know it, I have added three new varieties to the ones I was already planning on making. Most people only bake one or two types and that’s it. By the time the actual baking starts I am frazzled and wondering, “What the hell was I thinking?” And if I get invited to a cookie exchange I make even more (Moment of Truth – I almost NEVER bring cookies HOME from the exchange)! The question remains, “Why do I do this to myself?” And another question, “Do Hispanic families that make their holiday tamales feel the same way?”
I COULD say that I do it because it brings a lot of joy to me. I could say that I love to see the looks on people’s faces when they see my handiwork. I could say that I am the best baker in the world and that my cookies are the best ever (choke, cough…). The real reason I do it is because other people look forward to it. People start talking to me about the cookies as soon as the weather starts to change to cooler temps. I know I look forward to the home made tamales that magically appear in my freezer from John’s co-workers, so I can only hope they are as excited about the cookies that I bring in.
To make matters worse, or more challenging, depending on how you look at it, I am also in the crunch time of planning our 25th wedding anniversary party (I was a child bride) for 100 of our dearest friends. Including goodies bags, thank you gifts, charter buses, and a gazillion other little details. Thank goodness for friends & family who take direction well and want to chip in!
So here I am, hair in a chef’s skull cap, in my pajamas, dipping cookies into chocolate and nuts and getting ready to bake the premade dough I have prepped. Tomorrow will be assembly and deliveries Thursday and Friday. I know everyone will enjoy them – everything tastes better when someone else makes it. But next year, maybe I will have lunch catered for John’s office and everyone will get See’s Candy instead? Nah…not gonna happen.
This week’s Food Memories involve baking, The Vertical Epic Dinner at Aces & Ales, volunteering for Three Square with KXTE, cooking for my college student and finding a decent pizza (and no, they won’t deliver to my house…)
These pics are from the Vertical Epic Dinner
Until next time – go out and make your OWN Food Memories. Happy Holidays – no posting next week unless I get really ambitious. Enjoy the time with your families and friends.
Enjoy this chocolatey goodness – it’s a bar cookie, so it’s easy!
Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookie Bars
2-1/4 C All purpose flour
¼ C Dutch process cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 C + 2 T unsalted butter at room temp
1 C packed brown sugar
½ C granulated sugar
½ cup melted bittersweet chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 C chocolate chips (semi-sweet, bittersweet or white)
Preheat oven to 350
Combine dry ingredients, whisk together and set aside.
On medium high speed, cream butter with the sugars until light and fluffy; add all remaining ingredients, in order, except the chocolate chips. Reduce speed on mixer and add flour mixture JUST until combined. Add chips.
Spread batter evenly into a bar pan or sheet cake pan (about 15 x 8 inches). Bake about 22 minutes until set.
Cool completely and cut into bars.
This is the mixer that makes my life a whole lot easier!
Makes about 36, depending on how you cut it.