I’m sitting in my mom’s office as I type this, listening to her grumbling in the kitchen.
“I’m going to write a letter to the paper!”
“This is cookie fraud and everyone needs to be warned!”
“This is the REAL nightmare before Christmas. That’s what we’re calling it, right bandick?”
Usually, cookie baking is a fun tradition that my mom and I enjoy once or twice between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And for the past few years, we’ve thrown caution to the wind and have baked a couple of winners from the local paper’s holiday cookie contest. In general, they have been fun additions to the standard Christmas cookies and even if they weren’t great, they weren’t too much trouble and so, easily forgotten.
This year, we chose to try our hands at “Swedish Almond-Chocolate Macaroons” and “Chocolate-Drizzled Churros”. To be fair, the baker who submitted the macaroon recipe (apparently, traditional macaroons had nothing to do with coconut), did state that “they’re a little bit putzy”.
A LITTLE PUTZY??? We’re now five hours into the process.
The macaroon dough, which needs AT LEAST 30 minutes in the fridge, is impossible to ball because it’s nearly all almond paste which is just like, well, paste. And if they are under baked at all, they’ll tear when being removed from the cookie sheet, but over bake them for a second and they’re black on the bottom. They then need to cool completely, AT LEAST 30 minutes, before the filling (which includes a HALF POUND of butter) is applied. Finally, they need AT LEAST an hour back in the fridge before dipping them in the chocolate, which includes MORE BUTTER (we chose oil).
And may I ask, who has room in their fridge for two or three cookie sheets? Well, I do, but that’s because I only eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches these days. But my parents are normal people who eat normal food, much of which is stored in their refrigerator, leaving very little room for fussy cookies.
We were excited about making the “churros” as the baker made no mention of putziness. This recipe is not the traditional fried churro. This is a baked cookie that is shaped like a churro, except that it’s the daintiest cookie you’ve ever seen. These effers were nearly impossible to spritz and by the end the dough was so overworked from do-overs that it was not as airy as it should have been. Once baked, they were required to be handled no less than three times to cool, dredge in a sugar/cinnamon mixture, and arrange for the chocolate drizzle.
Every time one would break during handling, it would be moved to the quality control plate, which in the end accounted for approximately 25% of the cookies. Although, it didn’t really matter since it was determined that these cookies are too delicate for the Hulk family to distribute to others without turning them to powdered sugar.
But we know that the best part is moms and daughters being together. And my mom was the one who taught me to swear, so there is no one I’d rather bake (or bitch) with, in the world.