Wednesday, January 18, 2006

cookie! (read with cookie-monster voice)

and while we're on the subject of my amazing mama, why don't we finally get around to talking about Barb and Tif's Annual CookieBakestravaganzatacular!

growing up, i spent a lot of time with my mom in the kitchen. i had my own kiddie apron (with snoopy and woodstock on it)(eating a hamburger and fries), and loved to be mommy's helper. there's a photo of tiny me in that apron with flour all over (wonder if it was staged. . ). she gave me jobs like measuring the chocolate chips and grinding the nuts.
ever since i was .. eleven or so, we've had a big ol' christmas cookie bake on thanksgiving weekend. it started out not as a tradition, and then turned into one. and one of my favorite days of the year. it's such an event--this year, we spread it out over two days so that we could breathe in between batches. we prepare some doughs in advance so that they can already be chilled and ready to roll out and bake. there are bags and bags of walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips, coconut, melting- chocolate, sprinkles, not to mention the pounds of flour and butter and sugar. dozens of eggs. and pots of tea and coffee. we make out our list, check all the ingredients, tie on our aprons, set the coffee to brewing, and.. . WE'RE OFF! mom uses one side of the counter and i use the other, we share cookie sheets and oven responsibility ("did you set the timer?" "smells like they're done!") i like to pretend we have our own food show, and talk to the imaginary camera over my shoulder (yeah, so i act like this with or without high doses of caffeine and sugar--what's your point?) we usually have a man-friend around to run to the store for that ingredient we forgot, for "quality control," and to give us something else to fuss over so we get distracted and burn a few in the oven (these we call "biscotti" ;). about midway through we break and eat some thanksgiving leftovers. then, later, coffee with pumpkin pie. all the while listening to christmas records. the dining room table gets completely covered with row after row of stack upon stack of batch after batch of different drops of christmas confections. and about ten pm, after i've had my holiday sweater on while working around a hot oven for twelve hours, crashed after ingesting ten times as much sugar as i'm used to, and mom has forgotten the third or fourth sheet of cookies destined to become biscotti. .. it's time to cozy up by the tv and watch the food network! (i don't watch tv at home, so this is part of the treat of getting to visit with mom--the food network.) we watch iron chef, thirty-minute meal, what the celebrities are eating, and mom checks back and forth to see what they're re-decorating/remodeling on whatever that channel is.
the next day we do it all again. the first day is more for rolling dough, cutting, and baking, this day is more for decorating, assembling, and cramming one more recipe into the lineup. i get a cramp in my hand from decorating so many gingerbread folks with individually-detailed outfits and faces. we count the cookies, admire our product (and take photos, of course). it's hard to decide which one's the prettiest, and which recipe tastes best. we divide them up and put them in containers. there are always a few cookies left over that don't manage to get decorated or sandwiched after they're baked. and there's always talk of what we'll do better or different next year.

barb and tif's 2005 cookie lineup:
gingerbread teddy bears and palm trees
sugar cookie snowflakes with white chocolate
coconut macaroons
peanut butter-chocolate pinwheels
partridge-in-a-pear-tree sandwich cookies with marmalade
meringue mushrooms with chocolate-dipped caps
pecan tassies
thumbprint cookies with raspberry filling
chocolate-peppermint pinwheels (the experimental first batch..!)
what'd i forget?


ecogyrl said...

our doses of happy goodness were lovingly admired before being quickly devoured. kudos to the bakeresses!

alyssum said...

I, for one, am a happy recipient of this wonderful weekend w/ momma.
Keep 'em coming!!