This is how it starts. You’re third in the supermarket checkout line. Your eyes meander over to the “junk rack” perusing the gum and mints. Hmm, maybe some gum…no...you still have mints in your purse. Then you spot the holiday cookie baking magazines on the rack. As you pop a mint into your mouth, buttery, sugary cookie dreams begin to hug your brain.
Next comes the internal debate…to bake Christmas cookies or not. You’re now second in the checkout line. It’s not much of a debate…yes, you will bake…but no rum balls this year…they were too much work, Florentines and thumbprints are amazing though. You wonder where that recipe for Swedish Cream Cookies went. Maybe you’ll limit it to just three kinds of cookies…or ten. As the grocery clerk reaches to scan your first item, you politely tell her that you need to grab just a few things from the baking aisle. You leave a cloud of dust as you tear up the aisle grabbing everything your two arms can hold…reminding yourself not to forget the baking soda and vanilla. Damn, you really need another cart. You leave the grocery store with a familiar warm feeling and a broad grin. You have your baking stash. What a gratifying day.
Then comes the first chilly, cloudy Saturday. Your hair goes up in a knot and your recipe box comes off the shelf. Get ready cookie sheets, because here comes the boom. This is how it goes…you formulate your recipe strategy, figuring out which dough needs to chill, which dough can be baked right away, and which dough you want to save for the kids to bake after school. As you divide your day into “working blocks” and “baking blocks,” your husband knows that once the flour starts flying, it’s time for him to evacuate the kitchen. He knows you so well.
This is how it ends: the house smells absolutely divine, you don’t want to eat the cookies because they’re just too pretty and you vow to do a few things: buy more cooling racks, try a new recipe, and plan a cookie exchange. That’s how sweet it goes.
Find all the classic no-fail recipes in the December/January issue...
BIO: Risa Friskey is a home gourmet and independent marketing/branding specialist.