Sunday, December 17, 2006

Let the baking begin!

Andy gave me such a lovely gift today. He took Elise with him to run (my) errands, leaving me alone in the house. He's really wonderful about doing that, and frequently takes Elise with him so I can have a bit of time to myself. This afternoon I used my free time to restore order to the living room and to bake. Bake! Hurray! There are snickerdoodles in the oven as we speak. Or write. Whatever.

I really love baking. It's relaxing, it produces quick, tangible results, and it's relatively easy - if you stick with things like snickerdoodles, anyway. I don't bake all that often, mostly because there are only three of us in our household, and it's hard (not to mention unhealthy) for three people to consume an entire pie, cake, batch of cookies, etc. That isn't really a great excuse for not baking cookies - many of them freeze well. But it is a good reason for not making the others all that often. At Christmastime, however, I can't help it. Baking is as much a part of the festivities as setting up the tree, singing carols, and giving gifts. My most vivid holiday memories involve baking. My mom made the same treats every year - fudge, Clifford tea cakes, Russian tea cookies, candy cane cookies. We loved twisting the candy cane cookie dough into uneven, misshapen little candy canes, oftentimes so uneven that one end would burn while the other remained doughy. We always had fun, and baking together was always a key part of our Christmas tradition.

So now I'm the mom (weird) and the traditions Andy and I establish today will be an important part of Elise's childhood memories. Kitchen memories are important, I think. Everyone should have good kitchen memories.

Oops. As I was writing about how I love to bake, and how relaxing it is, etc., smoke started pouring from my oven! Well, come on, I didn't say I was good at baking. Fortunately, the smoke did not involve the cookies. It involved something on the bottom of the oven. I don't know what the object originated as, but by the time I got to it, it was a 1" chunk of crumbly blackness. Big metal spoon to the rescue. Cookies, as you were.

Nine and a half minutes later, my snickerdoodles are cooling and making the whole house smell good. Friends who were here earlier, I'm sorry I didn't make the cookies while you were still here. You're welcome to come back for them.

Back to the recipe box I go!

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