Cooking up trouble

Note: I was planning to blog about something journalism related tonight. But I didn’t write anything today and this is quicker than the discussion of another blog that I want to do, so to get my NaBloPoMo done, here it is.

Considering how much I like snack-y foods, I actually don’t do that much baking. My oven is mostly used for making things like banana breads, pita chips and homemade potato fries.

My “baking cupboard” is pretty well stocked, mind you, with vanilla extract and baking soda/powder and all those things, but again, I use them for breads or muffins. Not cookies.

I remembered that tonight when a friend invited me over to make Christmas cookies. She had a recipe for cookies she wanted to make that we could then put icing on, and I brought some ingredients for cookies of my own, but considering we doubled her recipe, we only got through hers, and even when I left, five hours and a bottle of wine later, she still had a lot of icing to do.

I don’t know about everyone else, but the margarine squares that my mom always used came in wax paper. My mom was also usually prepared enough to have softened butter by the time we started baking, but my friend just pulled some maragine squares wrapped in foil from her freezer, so they definitely weren’t thawed by the time we came back from a last-minute trip to the grocery store.

Not thinking, and thinking that the microwave would thaw the squares faster, I put the entire thing, foil and all, in the microwave. This seemed like a good idea until sparks started flying in her microwave. There is also a kind of funny smell if you stick your nose right next to her microwave. And this was even before we got into the wine (which was a whole other venture in itself — her corkscrew is not the greatest, and it probably took us a good 15 minutes to finally pry it open. Embarrassing).

The other thing that made me realize how often I don’t make cookies is we were trying to roll out the dough and I had no idea how thick to make it. I usually make perogies from scratch, and there’s a perfect thickness to perogies. Not too thick so that they taste doughy, but not thin enough that the potatoes fall out when you boil them. The art of the thickness of perogy dough is something that takes a long time to learn — I can’t tell you how many times my perogy dough has been scrunched up by my grandmother, because, simply by feeling it (she’s blind) she could tell that my perogies would either result in lost potatoes or a doughy taste.

Needless to say, the same thickness rule does not apply to sugar cookies, as I learned. However, no one was scrunching up my cookie dough tonight, except for me, as I rolled up the scraps and re-rolled them for more cookie-cutting.


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