Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cookie Mania

Good thing I finished the bulk of the Christmas baking before getting sick.

So far I've gone through over 5 pounds of flour, 2 pounds of butter and 1 pound of margarine; a half jar of peanut butter; a package of chocolate chips and a package of Hershey's Kisses; a pound and a half of nuts; a half-box of oatmeal; and a jar of Amish blueberry-rhubarb jam.

And the scary thing is...this is cutting back, for me. No sour cream cutouts; no chocolate pixies; no honey-and-mace drops; no walnut bars. I did try a new recipe, inspired by our local coffee shop -- I took the plain-Jane oatmeal cookie recipe from the bottom of the oatmeal box lid and added a cup of dried cranberries, a half-cup of chopped nuts and about a tablespoon of orange rind, with some extra orange juice squirted into the batter. You wind up with very tasty, portable cranberry bread, more or less; good stuff. The kitchen hit with my better half were gingersnaps -- this recipe has lots of spices in it, including black pepper and ground mustard. The dud of the year, and perhaps of my entire cookie-making career, was my modest attempt at spritz cookies -- cookies my mom used to make by the dozens when I was a little kid -- thwarted by an inadequate cookie-press apparatus (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) and, after I did finally manage to squirt out maybe three dozen little almond "S's," the tag team of Mollie the cat and Gertie the dog -- at least from the evidence retrieved the next morning, one party appeared to have batted the cookies off the dining room table while the other party ate them. And even after all that, the cookie I managed to taste didn't taste like the ones I remembered, even using the same recipe. Oh, well.

FT (with relatives plaintively asking her if my cookies were done yet) graciously offered to help me bake Russian tea cakes, the favorites of our extended family, so one day while I was at work she did all the hand-molding and baking and powdered-sugaring...I think for maybe six or seven dozen or so. When I got home she hugged me (this was pre-illness) and said, "I feel like a husband who undervalues his wife's housework until he has to do it. I will never, ever underestimate the work you put into the Christmas cookies ever again!" I didn't know she had; but, hey.

3 comments:

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I've always heard of Russian Tea cakes, but never seen the recipe. I'm sure I'd like anything with butter, sugar and flour....

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I looked up the recipe for the tea cakes on All Recipes. One had walnuts (yuk), the next one had almonds, but the reviews said that they fell apart. The third one had rave reviews, but had walnuts. I think I'll go with the rave reviews, but put in almonds.

LutheranChik said...

I grew up with walnut teacakes. I make them now with pecans, by special request...I've tried making them with hazelnuts and cashews, alternatively, but wasn't happy with the results...and I see Betty Crocker now suggests making macadamia nut teacakes for an especially rich cookie (as if the pound of butter in it isn't rich enough).