Sunday, July 18, 2010

Just Press 'Play'

Or Fast Forward if you want skip all this gibberish and get caught up in a hurry.  I do believe the blog has been on Pause, while life was sitting on the Fast Forward button - funny how the Rewind never quite takes you to where you want to be and if you try it you only get further and further behind. Enough of the electronic recording analogies, I'm just going to do my best to get caught up here and back on track.

Let's see, I'm thinking I should start with the cookies.  It would be easier to just brush by them and say you didn't miss much, but I can not tell a lie.  While the blogging has gone by the wayside, the cookies had some character, and were at the very least, 'interesting' which isn't always a good thing, I'll try to explain.

After the ice cream sandwich week, the cookies that next week were pretty much repeats:  Peanut Butter cookies that were new to Ronald McDonald house (but a repeat for me since I'd already done them for Gilda's club) and some special occasion cutouts that you'll have to read about in their own entry (if you didn't already).

I'd like to say on this one that practice makes perfect, but no matter how good of a baker you are there's always that moment when you slip on the details; "Was that 3 or 4 cups of flour?"  "Did I already add the salt?" "I thought for sure it said 'Baking Powder' not 'Baking Soda.'"  I think that last one may have been the culprit for the less than stellar PB Cookies - but the good news is that it wasn't a cookie where you expected a lot of rise and it was flavorful enough to survive the powder/soda mishap.  In then end I'd hope no one was the wiser, it was still a peanut butter cookie after all, but definitely not the best one they ever ate!

Now last weeks cookies?  That's a different story.  Back in early March I made a ginger/molasses cookie from the world renowned Alice Waters and her Chez Panisse restaurant - I know, I can hear my dad now 'well, la de da!'  Now they were definitely good, and meant to be more of a crisp or crunchy ginger cookie but when it comes to Molasses Cookies, you just can not beat Betty!

Last week I made one of the very first cookies I ever baked on my own - I was probably nine or ten and hanging out in the kitchen with my mom and told her I wanted to bake some cookies by myself.  Previously I'd been relegated to 'helper' with doing some of our 'Merry Christmas Cutouts' or assigned as the official 'froster' since obviously in a house of 10, with the majority of them being boys, NO ONE cared how they looked.  But I was ready to step up - I knew my math and was good with the mixer, so give me a shot.

My mom flipped open the torn, tattered and more than a little stained 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, checked the cupboard for molasses & brown sugar, and directed me to make 'Molasses Crinkles.'  I think she figured I'd find them "fun" to make since they have to be rolled into balls, dipped in sugar and sprinkled with water.  Yup, the cookies she rarely made because there were too many steps and were basically a big pain in the butt, would be just perfect to occupy the afternoon of an antsy 10 year old ... totally fun!

I remember not being a fan of molasses, probably because one of my older siblings gave me a spoon full of it and told me it was chocolate syrup - yeah, I wasn't always this bright!  Straight molasses, like unsweetened chocolate or vanilla extract are tastes you really need to experience to appreciate their awefulness!  So you can imagine my shock at the absolute deliciousness of these cookies!  I mean WOW - to take something you almost didn't even want to put in your mouth and then just have it explode with flavor and texture and everything that a cookie is meant to be, well you just don't forget that.  And when I baked them last week (using the organic, trans fat free shortening) they tasted EXACTLY as I had remembered: chewy and sweet and simply the best!  Forget Texas, don't mess with Betty.

I couldn't skip the story of the Molasses Crinkles that ended up at both Gilda's and RMH last week, but I gotta tell you the other 'light' cookie for Gilda's is total story worthy too.  Problem is I don't have one yet because it's the first time I baked it, but it definitely won't be the last.  I needed a simple drop cookie - given my lack of time lately and all - and had picked out a well reviewed one from the Cooking Light recipe site:  White Chocolate, Strawberry & Oatmeal cookies.  I really liked the idea of them having strawberries in them - in an attempt to make them kind of 'seasonal.'  But there was just one problem, I didn't have any dried strawberries, but what I did have were blue berries.  I'm not sure what everyone thought of these cookies - but to me they were a total home run!

If you follow this blog - well, first of all - god bless you! and a huge thank you!  But probably like yourself, I think there's a fair number who read it, or at least check in to see what I've made, but very few who actually comment or post - present company included as of late! :)  But early on, I decided to not let that deter me or give me an excuse to slack off - and summer aside, I'm happy to have stuck with it - this has been fun and really rewarding in so many ways.  I know the cookies are well received, mainly because I've never picked up anything other than an empty basket at the end of the week!  So it definitely has been, as they say, 'all good.' But when I dropped off the cookies last week one of the members at Gilda's club told me she looks forward to the cookies every week and then gave me a big hug - well that sure didn't hurt either. Indeed, all is well in cookieville.

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