Christmas Tins & sprinkles

Baking Party Nerves

What’s more fun than going to the mall in December?  Well, many, many things… FAR higher up on my list is a party.

holiday music
photo by SVSeekins

It’s an opportunity to pull out some seasonal music…. go through the cupboards… and dress up in something special…

That’s when I like to head to the kitchen.  The season is about getting together with family & friends. Playing together in the kitchen is no exception & one of my favorite kind of parties.

Christmas baking is mostly created for others as gifts.  Gifts of time & effort…. gifts from the heart …. Guilt Free calories.

gathering ingredients
photo by SVSeekins

Every year it surprises me how much skill is required to make a truly good butter cookie or an extremely fine shortbread. I mean, recipes look like paint-by-number instructions.  It SHOULD be so easy.  Gather ingredients, combine – – ta da!

But sometimes greatness balances on humidity & barometric pressure.  For real!  My Dad told me this & I’m totally going with it.

Either way, every baker experiences failure.

How can he / she best deal with that disappointment?

Christmas Tins & sprinkles
photo by SVSeekins

Well, to use a culinary cliché:  When faced with a lemon, make lemonade.

This year I made peanut brittle.  Sort of.  It looked perfect … but was cement in the Pyrex.  Through extreme ingenuity I was able to rescue the pan, but not the candy.

It turns out we’d stumbled upon the procedure for creating an incredibly tasty batch of sprinkles for ice-cream.  It was really good, but still wouldn’t cut it for gifting.

Danish Butter Cookies
photo by SVSeekins

So I moved on to cookies.  Gosh, cookies are so PARTICULAR!  Thirty seconds one way or another can make the difference between raw & burnt.  Well not burnt – but BROWN..

I reckon that a gradient of brown cookies should go into every gift, proving that they were handmade.  This sounds totally reasonable, so that’s what I do.

But there are still a few really brown cookies leftover that just won’t do… They’re tasty, just too dry…. So, now I’m thinking they could be crushed & replace graham wafer crumbs in another recipe… Do you think that would work?

AB wearing 'something special'
photo by SVSeekins

I also need an evolutionary plan for the fudge that  didn’t harden even after I’d meticulously heated it up past the important soft-ball temperature.  It turned out like really stretchy toffee…. Granted, toffee is a delicious treat.  Perhaps  I’ll wrap it in wax paper & rename it?  Maybe not.. too sticky.  Ideas?

It’s amazing how any challenge seems easier when taken on together.  We keep each other on track, share skills, and offer support & laughter… And when it comes right down to it,  we relax & spike the lemonade.

© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2013

9 thoughts on “Baking Party Nerves”

  1. Thanks for sharing, makes me feel in a holiday mood. Of course, the snow outside helps with that.

    1. from cc – Hi BH, You look very professional in your red apron in SV’s kitchen. You might mention to her that too sticky toffee can be rolled into balls, with wet hands and rolled in coconut to re-invent them!

      1. Thanks cc! I like the wet hands idea! sk suggested cutting it into squares, but it was just too sticky to work with 😦 But rolling it into balls with wet hands sounds like a great tip ! I almost want to mess up another batch just so I can try the rescue.

    1. from SK – Try cutting it into bite size pieces, melt chocolate chips or chocolate wafers – or white chocolate/wafers and dip. The fudge – for reisen like chocolates.

      1. C suggested boiling the toffee in the microwave like I did for the peanut brittle… seems reasonable doesn’t it? But for how long? Dad said that he has had this toffee issue before & he put the fudge back in the pot & brought it back up to temperature again. I got up my nerve this morning & did just that – – this time bringing the temp. past the softball stage (in case the thermometer was a bit off calibration)… IT WORKED !! We’ve got fudge. 🙂 Thanks y’all.

  2. sounds like you got great feedback and now have lots of options to say,that’s what I wanted to have happen! c.c.


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