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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill

12.19.2005

Look Out, Betty! Crocker, That Is...

A quick addendum to, "What Christmas Means To Me". 'Member when I said we were fast approaching that time of year when all I want to do is bake and sing Dean Martin Christmas carols? Well, that time has come.

I know women whose concept of eternal hell and damnation is to have to spend more than five minutes in the kitchen even absently heating something in the microwave. To those women I say, "Aw, sweetie, I'm so sorry." Faced with the same prospect, my reply would surely be, "No, sir! Please don't throw me in that thare briar patch!"

That's right, kids. 'Cuz I just spent a blissful two days in the kitchen. Baking. Oh. My. Word. Can I rewind time now? So fun. So great. The Tef stayed out of the way and did Man Things while I (donned in my starched white apron) hummed, patted dough and baked up little goodies.

*sigh* Fa-la-la-la-LA... la-la-la-la...

I don't buy gifts for co-workers, I bake. There are five families at work for whom I bake goodies. Family Number One is easy: red velvet cake -- every year, no exceptions. The rest are a toss up. So I dusted off some secret recipes from my private files and went to it. Baking co-worker treats, family goodies, and the requisite nosh I had to make for a cookie swap I'm attending at Hospital Bridesmaid's house produced the following slew of sweeties:

* Three 9" x 9" pans of a little ditty my Mom calls "9 to 5 Squares". Devil's food cake mix combined with melted butter and one egg, pressed into a pan and topped with cream cheese that has been whipped together with sugar and some other fun things and then baked. Looks ugly. Tastes good. Chewy, creamy, chocolately. Mmm... Though they are technically bars, I'm still taking them to the cookie swap.
* One 9" x 13" red velvet cake with vanilla icing, decorated with red and green "icing ornaments".
* One 9" x 9" red velvet cake with peppermint icing, decorated with red and green "free form Christmas-themed thingies" (I got a little distracted with the pastry bag on that one.).
* One batch of "Cream Cheese Cookies". This was a Paula Deen recipe. They turned out just a bit tangier than a shortbread cookie. Which is not a bad thing but... I was actually a little disappointed. These looked better on paper than in reality. They're not bad, don't misunderstand, but they didn't blow my hair back, you know? I'll take them to the swap anyway.
* One batch of "Hershey's Peanut Butter Blossoms". (The sugared, peanut butter cookies with the kisses on top.) This was at the demand -- er, request -- of the Tef. He has to have them every Christmas. Actually, I'll be surprised if there are any left when I get home. These definitely DO NOT go to the cookie swap, under any circumstances.
* A large quantity of "Mexican Wedding Cookies", which, when made at Christmastime, must be called by their alias, "Snowballs". These will be the star of the swap.
* One graham cracker-crusted, lemon cheesecake with lemon curd topping. I can't wait to give this to my sister. She and her husband love cheesecake so much, they had it at their wedding. (Just as a side note, let me put in a plug for Cook's Illustrated. They pride themselves on testing and re-testing every variation of a recipe until they come up with the king. Their baking cookbook is phenomenal. I have yet to make a recipe from that book that wasn't perfect. Genius. It's a bit of an advanced course from say, a Betty Crocker, but well worth it.)
* One "South Georgia Lemon Poundcake" with lemon glaze. Another Paula Deen. It was her mother's recipe, so I figured it was safe. This one's for my boss. The batter tasted good... Sure hope the cake's yummy.
* And one 9" x 9" pan of homemade, "Reese's Pieces". Peanut butter mixed with confectioner's sugar and... something else, topped with ganache. Chill and cut. Try to eat just one. (I made a miniature one in a ramekin for the Tef just so he wouldn't be deprived of any peanut butter and ganache perfection.)

When the dust cleared we were down: 8 sticks of butter, 18 eggs, 4 blocks of cream cheese and pounds and pounds of various flours and sugars. We were up: 4 cakes, 4 pastries, dozens and dozens of cookies and a ceiling fan. Not a bad tally, that.

One thing I didn't get to make that I must get to before Christmas. Yesterday was the second anniversary of the passing of one of the saltiest, saintliest, beautiful, giving and alive women ever to walk the earth -- my grandmother. She helped me in the kitchen all weekend. She smiled and suggested, timed and tinkered right along with me. But I didn't get time to bake her famous strawberry cake. I'm going to make one for my Dad for Christmas. I hope he doesn't cry.

Merry Christmas. Hope you get a chance to do whatever it is you love.

2 Comments:

Blogger worshipnaked said...

Yummy, yummy, yummy, YUMMMM-EEEEE!!

When can I come over?

3:57 PM  
Blogger WordGirl said...

Come on!!! There's certainly plenty for you and MB. We'll set up a cough proof room for you and everything. ;-)

4:02 PM  

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