Santa-Land Diaries

Gardenland Express Holiday Flower and Train Show

Gardenland Express Holiday Flower and Train Show

On Saturday, I became a practitioner of the domestic arts, I baked cookies. Joe, one of my co-workers has his Christmas party on Saturday night, a cookie making party. At the party we’ll made and decorated cookies, but as is tradition, we also will bring a batch to share. Anne, the baker in the family, is still unable to shoulder her confectionary duties, so I had to man-up and do the baking. I’ve made cookies before, but always from one of those logs of dough. This was the first time that I’ve ever attempted scratch baking.

Step one was to scour the Internet for a recipe that seemed to have that certain panache, but was still easy to make. No eighteen layer thingy-ma-jigs, thank you very much. I selected Mint Chocolate cookies. Next, I pawed through the pantry, determining which ingredients we already had and which ones I needed to go to the store to get. Finally, I was ready to begin baking, or at least I thought that I was.

Somewhere, I had heard that the most important thing about baking is following the recipe as closely as possible. I carefully measured out all of the ingredients. I had the flour, sugar and stuff in the brown Copco bowl and the Cocoa and butter in the red Copco bowl. I knew that I had run off the rails though, when it came to mixing the ingredients. The butter ended up becoming a cocoa covered mess. I called for help and Anne came a limping. She helpfully pointed out that I was supposed to have melted the butter first.

I seriously considered pitching what I had created so-far and starting all over again. Anne attempted to search for some mythical tool that we never did find that would have made everything all better again. Then she suggested throwing it all into the Cuisinart. How did women bake before the Cuisinart? Thirty years ago, when my Mom gave us this Cuisinart she said, “Mock, you’re living in the stone age.” I think that she was referring to the fact that we didn’t have a dishwasher. We still don’t. I think that women simply  followed the recipe. Pass me that mastodon bone, woman.

Miracle that the Cuisinart is, it still wasn’t doing the trick. My dough wasn’t doughy, it was still too powdery. At this point, desperate and out of control, I added a third egg, a third more butter and twice the amount of chocolate chips that was called for. It’s a mystery, but everything came together. I and the dough chilled for an hour and then I was ready to start playing with fire.

I started baking and the first batch came out looking just like the photo on the Internet. Things were going well, until I started running out of dough. I called out to Anne again, “I think that I’m only going to get 24 cookies.” Her response was, “Look at the recipe.” I did, “Oh yeah, two dozen.” After our taste testing and Joanie’s independent taste testing the project was judged a delicious success.

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