Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No Guinea Pig Update, But Plenty of Cookies!

For anyone who was hoping for an update about the guinea pigs I was supposed to acquire last night, their current owner decided she didn't want to venture out into the snow. So instead I went to Hardingfele and Tailor's house and baked cookies. You see, in some sort of fit of insanity I had agreed to be part of the cookie exchange at work, which would be fine except that I am the opposite of a domestic goddess. (Would that be a domestic demon or a feral goddess?) So I made the following offer to Hardingfele: if I supplied most of the ingredients, let her have some of the cookies, and threw in dinner as well, would she help me bake the cookies? I needed FOUR DOZEN, which sounded like an intimidating number. Hardingfele said sure, so I stopped by the neighborhood grocery store to get flour and eggs and then drove through the snowstorm to her house.

Dinner was catered by a local Mideastern restaurant. (No, I did not order it; I scrounged leftovers from some meeting they had at work.) Mm, spinach phyllo squares, pita bread, feta cheese, and some kind of dessert that was phyllo dough wrapped around rice pudding custard! Hardingfele supplied the wine, and Tailor supplied the entertainment with the story she had to write for her homework. (She is a very good writer.) Then we began the cookie baking.

I had originally wanted to make an elaborate sort of cookie my mother used to make when I was very small, but which even she had given up on by the time I was ten or so. It involved making a butter cookie dough with bits of chopped-up candy cane in it, dying half of it red with food coloring, forming it into little snakes, and braiding a red and a white snake of dough together to form candy cane cookies. Labor intensive, yes, but I figured with three of us we could easily do it. However, it turned out that for that type of cookie dough, you were supposed to chill it for an hour before forming it into shapes. We didn't have that kind of time to waste, so we went with Plan B: drop cookies! You can do just about anything with that kind of recipe, for example, chocolate chip cookies. That didn't seem sufficiently Christmasy, and more importantly, we didn't have chocolate chips, so we made orange cranberry cookies. Hardingfele provided the orange extract and cardamom and donated the craisins, while I put in a sprinkle of clove powder I had hauled along with my other ingredients (including brown and white sugar and vanilla extract). I had forgotten my butter, so she had to donate two sticks to the cause, and in exchange I gave her vegetable oil and four eggs. Then we baked the cookies, and we had four dozen in no time! We let Tailor throw random things in the last batch, since those were for her, so they were orange cranberry M&M cookies. Finally we sampled our experiment, and they were delicious!

This means tonight I don't have to worry about baking for the cookie exchange tomorrow. I only have to worry about making something for the Holiday potluck and getting a gift for my Secret Santee. No wonder they say the holidays are so stressful!

Famous Hat

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