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Saturday, December 20, 2008

The 12 blogs of Christmas: #8 - Not genetically engineered for baking

My mom is really good at a lot of stuff. She's artistic and crafty. She can fix just about anything with a rubberband and a paperclip. But I don't really think of her as a great cook. She's a decent cook. But there's not really one dish I think of and say "Oh, Mom makes the best..."

I don't get the idea that my NaNa (my Mom's mom) was a terrific cook either. Again, like my Mom, I think she was a pretty utilitarian cook -- she cooked for basic survival. My point is not to trash the reputations of my mother and grandmother, but rather to establish a case that the girls in my family were not genetically engineered to be good cooks.

For instance, my sister Shelley once made Jell-O that sat in the refrigerator for three days and never jelled. And it seems that the story of my "Cajun tuna surprise" will never die -- at least as long as Mike is around to perpetuate it.

So I wasn't surprised when I got this e-mail from my sister Angie:

Good morning!

Let me just tell you why I least as a cookie baker....
All excited to make my Grandma's famous gum drop cookies, I drug myself and Ava to the store last night at 8:30pm after playing 'single mom of 2' all day. I was careful to buy exactly what my Grandma said - the right gum drops, flour and even the 2 pound bag of light brown sugar.

After getting home, I carefully read over the recipe then began whipping together the ingredients one by one. Just as good old Grandma advised, I thoroughly mixed one before the other. Finally it is time to put them in the over at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


They're done!...or are they?? They look like Grandma's cookies...until I cut into them...they're soup! How could this be? I followed the directions to a "t". So back in the oven they go for another 15 minutes.

Gumdrop Mess1

While I waited for the gumdrop cookies to finish cooking I decided I'd go ahead and make the "easy" cookies...Ritz Peanut Butter Cookies. Sounded easy - two crackers, some peanut butter dipped in chocolate. I'm sure for anyone else it IS easy..but for me, not so much!

I dumped the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, added a little olive oil to make the chocolate shiny and threw it in the microwave careful not to cook it too long, as I didn't want to burn it. Two minutes - not done. In for another 1 minute, still not back in it goes for one final minute. Before I even heard the beep, I smelled the burn. Yep - leave it up to me to scorch the fricken chocolate chips!!


Back to the gum drop cookies now that one recipe was completely destroyed. I pulled them out of the oven for the second time. So then I think, well maybe they just need to set up.

So off to bed I go with visions of gumdrop cookies in my head. When I get up this morning, I carefully peeled back the wax paper, inserted the eyes got big and my heart sank - still not right!

Gumdrop Mess2

So do you think anyone would mind if I brought store bought cookies to the Cookie Exchange??!

Santa's Sucky Cookie Cooker

Now, no offense to Grandma, I never liked those gumdrop cookies. But her springerles? Pure black licorice heaven. But I know better than to try baking those myself. So I'll be headed to the local German bakery next week to pick up mine.


Anonymous said...

Holy dear GOD, what is wrong with those cookies?!?!?? They're scary looking!

Then again, you ought to see my attempts at assembling anything. NOT GOOD.

Anonymous said...

I think I've figured out that the problem was that I used too small of a time I'll use a bigger pan so they're not so thick.

As far as the chocolate goes...well that's a lost cause -- I have since found the Baker's cups of chocolate that work like a charm!

Carolyn Sharkas said...

That is too funny. Last night I was frantically making cookies for my friends annual cookie exchange today. I got almost all of the butter pecan cookies baked then burned a batch, so I thought, well, maybe they won't be bad after I dip them in the melted white chocolate. so I went about heating the white chocolate, and the next thing I know, they look like they are turning into milk chocolate. I burned the stupid things, too. so those were garbage. Then I managed to put together another one that I thought I would give as gifts and this morning at 2am I finally had 8 dozen cookies for the exchange. I guess you aren't the only one not genetically engineered for baking.
thanks for sharing, now I don't feel so bad.