What’s more fun than going to the mall in December? Well, many, many things… FAR higher up on my list is a party.
It’s an opportunity to pull out some seasonal music…. go through the cupboards… and dress up in something special…
That’s when I like to head to the kitchen. The season is about getting together with family & friends. Playing together in the kitchen is no exception & one of my favorite kind of parties.
Christmas baking is mostly created for others as gifts. Gifts of time & effort…. gifts from the heart …. Guilt Free calories.
Every year it surprises me how much skill is required to make a truly good butter cookie or an extremely fine shortbread. I mean, recipes look like paint-by-number instructions. It SHOULD be so easy. Gather ingredients, combine – – ta da!
But sometimes greatness balances on humidity & barometric pressure. For real! My Dad told me this & I’m totally going with it.
Either way, every baker experiences failure.
How can he / she best deal with that disappointment?
Well, to use a culinary cliché: When faced with a lemon, make lemonade.
This year I made peanut brittle. Sort of. It looked perfect … but was cement in the Pyrex. Through extreme ingenuity I was able to rescue the pan, but not the candy.
It turns out we’d stumbled upon the procedure for creating an incredibly tasty batch of sprinkles for ice-cream. It was really good, but still wouldn’t cut it for gifting.
So I moved on to cookies. Gosh, cookies are so PARTICULAR! Thirty seconds one way or another can make the difference between raw & burnt. Well not burnt – but BROWN..
I reckon that a gradient of brown cookies should go into every gift, proving that they were handmade. This sounds totally reasonable, so that’s what I do.
But there are still a few really brown cookies leftover that just won’t do… They’re tasty, just too dry…. So, now I’m thinking they could be crushed & replace graham wafer crumbs in another recipe… Do you think that would work?
I also need an evolutionary plan for the fudge that didn’t harden even after I’d meticulously heated it up past the important soft-ball temperature. It turned out like really stretchy toffee…. Granted, toffee is a delicious treat. Perhaps I’ll wrap it in wax paper & rename it? Maybe not.. too sticky. Ideas?
It’s amazing how any challenge seems easier when taken on together. We keep each other on track, share skills, and offer support & laughter… And when it comes right down to it, we relax & spike the lemonade.
© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2013