Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Sweet Thoughts

Gingersnaps and Mannheim Steamroller: not a bad combo. 


A few weeks ago, I was determined to avoid the annual cookie baking marathon for this year's Christmas season.  Those loaves of pumpkin bread were pretty good, I reasoned.

One major day of baking would be far better than several sessions of mixing up almost a dozen different kinds of cookies and candies.

As the pre-Christmas time drew nearer, however, the thought of baking hundreds of cookies and cleaning up numerous kitchen messes didn't seem so bad.

I felt the same way about doing Christmas cards but weakened on that too.  I'm putting out a few each day and am now alternating that with baking cookies.

A perfect scenario in my kitchen is Mannheim Steamroller blasting out those magical Christmas classics while I stand over the mixing bowl surrounded by flour, sugar, oil and eggs, concocting the next batch of gingersnaps, snickerdoodles, brownies or fudge.

I say "concoct" because I seldom follow a recipe to the letter.  That often comes back to haunt me, but a new direction for this slight detour lady is always worth a try.

I stuck to the recipe from St. Joseph's Catholic cookbook yesterday while baking a triple batch of gingersnaps and listening to the second CD of Mannheim for the first time.

It was delightful, and I think those cookies appreciated the music because they turned out perfect.  Of course, I added my own touch with chopped walnuts and raisins.  

Today I may frost a few dozen, although Bill says he likes 'em undecorated.  

As long as they have the ginger and the snap, they're okay, he said, as Debbie came by last night and sampled a few.  

I have a few frosted snickerdoodles in the freezer and have whipped up a big bowl of frosting for the next few batches of cookies.  

Who knows when it will end because I never feel like I've baked enough when it comes to Christmas.

Most of these go to neighbors, to some family members and a few longtime friends. I like to make sure their plates are full and colorful.  

So, the process has begun, and I'm enjoying it thus far.  

I have a classic Christmas cookie story.  One year at least 30 years ago,  I had leftovers from the Christmas season in my freezer.  My friends Pam and Marian and Jim came to the house unexpectedly one July day.

I had nothing fresh to serve them so I went to the freezer and pulled out a tin of those cookies.  They had held up okay, but it wasn't until after my guests had sampled a few that I revealed just how old they were.  

Pam, who later worked as a food tester for Sunset Magazine, had been fooled. 

We all enjoyed a big laugh, and the situation tickled us so that I decided to keep the rest of the cookies and some day give them to Pam again.   I did so.

She gave them back a few years later, and the trading continued, one time at San Francisco Airport.  Last time I picked them up in Davis, California, while we enjoyed lunch at the Whataburger.  

I think they remained in the trunk of Annie's car for several months after that meeting.  She finally brought them home with her and they've been with us ever since, even with the move to Selle.

I had promised Pam in Davis that I'd save the cookies and give them to her son as a gift when he graduated from high school.

Well, Kyle did that last year, and for some reason, I did not receive an announcement.  

I'm sure Pam feared the consequences and the danger of  might come through the mail for her son.

So, they're still here at the Lovestead, stuffed somewhere in a cabinet out in the garage.  I'll admit total fear at opening them these days. 

I should just take them to the transfer station, but then again, who knows who might be picking through the inventory looking for a good deal.

Long story short, I think Pam need not worry any more about any surprise packages.  

I'll just give her some of my fresh gingersnaps and call an end to our perennial cookie trade-off.

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