Monday, December 19, 2005

Crazy Cookie Baking Madness

Today is bake cookies day. I do this every once in a while. I get it in my head to make cookies, some recipes I know, like the one on the back of the nestle chocolate chips bag, some new ones, like the ones my grandmother used to make, and of course, the obligatory, whatever-the-occasion-is cookies. This year, it's no-bakes for my husband, which are no-brainers,I really need to try hard to mess those up, along with sugar cookies, of two varieties:, the first variety, the pillsbury ready-made-just-cut-and-bake, and the second, home made sugar cookie dough to be rolled out and cut into cutesie Christmas shapes. I am not taking bets on which will come out tasting the best. Then, my grandmother's recipe.

This is a lot of cookies. I'm going to be honest here. I shouldn't be doing this. I'm going to be up til midnight, and half the batches will be ruined because of my misguided determination in baking all these cookies.

So why, then, am I doing this, knowing that it will end badly, my daughter deserting me halfway through the night, me crankily tossing cookie sheets in the oven, frosting every cookie the same too-pale-shade of red, known as pepto, every dish dirtied and in the sink? Why am I doing this, knowing that it will end with burnt sugar cookies, dried-out no-bakes and a paltry imitation of my grandmother's totos? ***not the dog, people, this is an Italian cookie with a funky Italian name that for years I've mutilated by calling it variations like 'the doughs' or 'theodores' with a slight fake Italian roll.

I'm doing it for optimism, and hope, for tradition's sake, and to bond with my daughter, who, this year, will not leave me stranded alone at midnight with a glass of baileys.... I'm doing it because secretly, I enjoy making cookies. I'm doing it so my daughter will have memories of making those perfect cookies with her mom, and I believe that is what I'm doing. No, the cookies aren't perfect, but she's nine. By the time she's 25, she will, I am sure, have forgotten about the burnt ones. My optimism allows me this. She will have fond memories of warm toasty nights indoors baking cookies the holiday season, safe from the chilly winter rain pouring outside.

So only half come out edible, that's what the no-bakes and cut-and-bakes are for, they are the fall-back cookies. And yes, the dishes will take three days to do, and somehow, because I've baked cookies the rest of the house will fall apart, but dang it, we will have cookies, three varieties of yummy, half-dozen-batches of cookies, and we will be finished by nine p.m. with time to clean the kitchen.

It will be a glorious mother-daughter-cookie-baking-bonding evening. This year will be the year that cookie baking at my house resembles cookie baking on TV. Yes, it is for hope, optimism, and the promise of what could be, that I am doing this.

And, when the reality hits, tomorrow, when I'm standing at a sink towering high with flour-crusted frosting-sticky bowls and spoons and every other dish has been contaminated with chocolate-covered oatmeal, I will still not be deterred, my resolution will not shake. After all, there will be a redeeming gingerbread-house to make and decorate in February, from scratch, using my stoneware gingerbread pattern molding pan...

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