I had to laugh at today’s “Zits” comic strip.
If you didn’t see it, the mom character is immersed in wrapping gifts and tells her husband, “Just a few more to go and all the weeks of planning and preparation will finally be over.” The husband gives her a kiss, walks into the next room and tells their teenage son that they should start thinking about their Christmas shopping. “Already?” he replies.
While the cartoonist earned some giggles, mine may have have been a sign of sheer, gibbering exhaustion. Truth be told, that was me the night before, not wrapping or shopping, but baking at the last minute.
Just a few more to go, I told my friend, and we can extract a half-dozen cookies from four batches that look polished enough to bestow as gifts. The clock closed in on midnight as we continued to drip colored icing across the counters.
Ah, Christmas cookies. I always embark on them with the best intentions. But at some point I need to ask myself if they’re really worth it, even if I did receive a cute cookie cutter the year before and still need to try it out. At least I got to take my new French rolling pin for a spin.
Rolling dough came surprisingly easy with the help of a new tool. But when one only bakes sugar cookies once a year, they’re not exactly professional quality.
It may be endearing when kids bestow melting snowmen and deformed gingerbread people, not so much when they’re the work of an adult who doesn’t have shaky hands as an excuse (unless you’re shaking from all that coffee consumed over a 12-hour baking marathon).
As insurance against our amateur baking, my friend and I also mixed up my grandmother’s Texas Pecan Candy Cake, a holiday tradition covered in a previous post and enjoyed only by my grandmother, me and a couple of friends, one of whom dubbed the rich, calorie-dense mixture of nuts, candied fruit and coconut “Grandma’s Texas Survival Cake.”
Clearly we still need Grandma’s experience in the kitchen, even for this simple recipe. My friend forgot the tube pan we needed to bake the cake in (add that piece of equipment to next year’s wish list). I felt confident we could simply use a loaf pan supplemented with a couple heart-shaped custard dishes. While the cake mixture fit perfectly into the receptacles, they came out of the oven uncharacteristically browned.
Because the cakes have to cure in the refrigerator for two weeks, we’re holding our breath they’ll be edible. If we didn’t have to wait so long, I’m sure we would have been gobbling survival cake last night to keep up our strength.