Could you watch the kids so we can go Christmas Shopping?
Sure! We could do some Christmas baking!
We’ll bring them by about 9:30, and you can bring them home when you’re done.
OK, kids! Here are the projects. Bread? Cookies? or Fudge? Each of you pick one.
Bread and cookies!
Um. 1 each.
I was choosing for me and her.
No, you can only choose for yourself.
Well, then, Bread and Cookies.
OK. Choose 1…for yourself only.
So I show them the cookie book.
This is the cover
This is what you see when you open the book. The inside of the book is upside down to the cover. It is a silly book. I don’t think it was supposed to be.
I figured about 1 hr to make cookies, without frosting or decorating, 1.5 hours to do a Christmas bread, and 1 hour to do 4 batches of fudge. Each grandchild would pick a project so we wouldn’t be doing all 3. So while one grandchild would be decorating the tree, the other would be baking. Then they would switch. 2 hours, lunch, and then home. Best laid plans… O’Toole’s Commentary: Murphy was an optimist.
Among the recipes, there is one for a gingerbread VILLAGE. Yup, 3 houses, 8 trees, a pond, and a wall. The recipe makes a lot of gingerbread, and it calls for 6 cups of powdered sugar for the frosting. I wasn’t anticipating this. Each pan of cookies has to bake for 10 min, and each piece has to be cut by hand to the specs in the design. 6 roof pieces, 4 steeple pieces, 6 side walls, 6 front and back walls, 8 full trees and 16 half trees, and 3 round bases for the houses. This is what O wanted to make. He insisted. Y decided to make fudge.
The cookie recipe wasn’t clear on how things were to be done, so we put the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. I had the mixer plugged into a power strip, and had the power strip off. Oldest was putting things in and measuring and doing a pretty good job. Youngest then chose to abandon the tree and Grandpa and get in the way. I’m trying to get her back into the living room and told O to wait until I could help before he turned on the mixer. He said, “No problem” and then turned it on anyway. The power strip was off, so the mixer didn’t turn on. MEANWHILE, Y is still in the kitchen and whining that she wants to help. Suddenly the mixer goes on, FULL BLAST HIGH SPEED. O had found the power strip on-switch, and Poof! Flour explodes all over the kitchen. Now we’re sliding all over the kitchen on the flour. Y finally goes to the living room.
Now we cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, and ginger using the hand mixer in a much smaller bowl. We’ve already doubled the number of utensils it usually takes to make cookies. Then the book says to slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar/butter mixture. Yes. Of course. Put the 5 cups of flour and spices (well what’s left of the 5 cups after the explosion) to the small bowl where we mixed 1 cup of butter and a cup of sugar and a cup of molasses. The hand mixer cannot withstand that kind of resistance, so now we have to put the stuff in the small bowl into the large bowl. The mixture ends up crumbly. It doesn’t want to hold together. Now we have to roll it? O goes outside to play. Y follows him out. Grandma goes in to have a nervous breakdown in the living room with Grandpa.
O had insisted that we make the whole village and I have found myself alone in the kitchen. Oh no. So O and Y come back in and wonder why I’m not working on the cookies. “Me? It’s your project! Now we COULD roll them out and cut them into teddy bears…”
“NO! Why make gingerbread if you’re not going to make houses?” “So how would you like to proceed?” Y volunteers to roll out the crumbs and see if she can make them stick together. She does pretty well!!! We cut out the trees and the round bases. Then we cut out 3 teddy bears. Baked those and by now it’s 12:15.
Let’s go to Wendy’s! Wendy’s is locked. Um. Let’s go to Runza! We have a nice, civilized lunch and discuss volcanoes and compare Crater Lake to Mt. St. Helen’s. Then we discuss the volcano under Yellowstone Park. Grandpa starts driving toward Omaha. Wait! We haven’t made the fudge yet and we have to put together the gingerbread! Oh. oops. We head back home to finish the ordeal…um, the baking.
It takes about 5 min to make 1 batch of fudge so we make 1 batch and then start the frosting. While I’m making the frosting, the fudge sits in the fridge.
I can’t find my cookie press or my decorating kit. I find a ziplock bag and cut a hole in the corner, fill it with frosting, and split the seam. Argh. Grandpa finds the cookie press and decorating kit. YAY! We put together the trees and stick a teddy bear in the forest. It would not win any prizes.
Now it is after 2. It’s been about 4.5 hours with the grandchildren. I am out of shape. I cut the fudge and put it into a cookie tin. It is still mostly liquid. The kids really want to go home, so we get them all loaded up. We are informed by Y that we need to not hit any bumps because the teddy bears keep falling down.
Ya, This is Omaha. If we swerve to avoid the potholes, we’ll get pulled over for drunk driving.
We get them home about 3:00 and return to our home a little before 4. Grandma takes a 2-hour nap. It looks like a giant troll sneezed in a bakery. I love making candy, cookies, and quick breads… but my keto diet does not allow for any of those. Soooo, Sigh. I guess I’m done baking for the Christmas season. 😦 Ain’t Christmastime Grand. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.