09 November 2010

Is she...in the kitchen?

I like to cook. I don't really like recipes or measuring things, but I like to cook.

I've been trying to cook once a week and you might think I have some horrible disaster story to tell here. Well, I don't. So there. Baking may be another story.
Pumpkin Cookies
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Shortening
  • 1 cup Pumpkin (from a can)
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Raisins
Cream the sugar and shortening. Add pumpkin and mix. Add egg and mix. Add flour and mix. Add dry ingredients and raisins and mix.

Bake 12-14 at 375 degrees.

  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 4 tsp Milk
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 3/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
Heat brown sugar, milk, and butter over low heat until dissolved. Let cool and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Add milk if needed.

First of all I had the bright idea of making two batches at once. Did this have an effect on how well/badly the baking was going to turn out? Maybe not, but it did have an effect on how long the process took.

Cream the shortening and sugar? What does that mean? Do I know such terms? No. Well, I use my common sense and I figure it must mean to mix it until it cream like in texture. It never gets that way because it just sort of gathers in the mixer blades so I move on and add the pumpkin (which I later, as in after I was done baking, realize was too much) and begin mixing. The goal of mixing is to make all the ingredients go together and be all harmonious, but does that happen for me? No, the pumpkin begins flying everywhere. I try to control this by smashing then mixing, smashing then mixing, etc. When this sort of works I then move on and add the eggs (I love the way eggs mix into baking stuffs), then the dry stuffs and raisins and more dough flies around the kitchen. It's important that you also know that my mother didn't have actual measuring equipment (just one measuring cup) so I have to trust that the small spoons actually hold a teaspoon.

When I'm done mixing I end up with a very fluffy, cake/scone-y dough, but I trust that I've followed the recipe (apparently I didn't know who I was dealing with) so I begin trying to scoop the dough onto the cookie sheets. I cannot describe the mess because I think I've blocked it from my memory. Wait...having flashbacks ... there was goo all over my hands ... it wouldn't come off ... the mess ... IT'S EVERYWHERE. (I never said I wasn't melodramatic.)

So I put the soon-to-be-cookies into the oven and work on the next sheet. When the timer goes off I pull the cookies out and then put in the next sheet...repeat six more times. SO MANY COOKIES! Sometime in the midst of all this I start to make the icing...but we don't have real butter, just margarine. Working with what I have I begin to make it and then work on putting it on the cookies. It's sticky and smells too sweet and too much like dreaded... syrup! I'm working with syrup (practically). I hate all types of syrup, caramel, and similar sticky pseudo-liquid substances. They are horrible because not only do they look and feel sticky but they SMELL sticky which means that even if I'm not looking or touching the stuff I'm still assaulted by STICKY! Can't...escape...the sticky.... Ick.

I also have the added problem of the cookies being more scone-like than cookie-like (after letting them cool) so I'm somewhat panicked. At this point maybe I should let you in on a key factor in my panic. The reason I'm baking these cookies is so that my mother can take them with her to work. Apparently everyone else is bringing in baked goods and so my mother wants me to make something for her to bring. I felt a bit like a mom baking for her child's class, but instead of a bunch of kids I'm baking for adults who know...well...how to bake. I can't really turn back so I try baking them a bit longer to no avail.

I'm stuck sending my mother to work with soggy cookies.

To make me feel even worse my mother's husband comes and tries a cookie and seems to be thinking (in Vietnamese, I'm sure), "These cookies are too moist," but I pack all of the cookies into a large container (there where a lot of cookies) for my mother to take to work and then I collapse in my bed. When I wake up the next morning I go into the kitchen to see that she hasn't taken the bin of cookies so I call her. She didn't know she was supposed to take them all, even though I was only baking them to take to work. We talk for a bit and I mention the softness.

They're supposed to be soft.

Luckily my second attempt turned out better.

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