Thursday, January 03, 2013

I was so over the Christmas baking, not so much the Christmas eating.

This year I decided to give baked goods as Christmas presents to most of the people on my list.  It's kind of a long story about why we're going this route, but part of it has to do with the money and stress that all of our family members tend to put into buying each other gifts. We figure that baked goods are something pleasant to receive and also that eventually our family members will realize that they really aren't ever getting a new shop vac out of us, they'll stop trying to buy presents for us. Hopefully, this will be our year because we already warned them that if they wanted to buy us presents, they could, but we wouldn't give them a wish list, and all they were getting was cookies. 

So this led to a lot of baking. I'm inordinately fond of eating, but I don't enjoy kitchen time at all. Because of my bright baked-goods-as-gifts idea, however, I spent a whole lotta time in there last month, with mixed results.  The first round was making peanut butter cookies and chocolate cookies for our friend JK, who always gives us homemade toffee at Christmas.  The chocolate cookies spread into lace cookies for some reason, so that was kind of a bust. Then one batch of the peanut butter cookies was cooling on the cooling rack when, for no apparent reason, it just fell off the counter and onto the floor.  RR and I gave some serious thought to eating them anyway, but we were able to restrain ourselves.  But oh, what a waste of cookie.  That did not give us confidence about the our baking mojo and made us think we'd entered "a phase," something that happens with us on occasion, when for some reason or other everything we make turns out terribly.  I immediately began warning all of my friends that their Christmas cookies might be not so great.

The next round, fortunately, turned out much better.  Expensive, but better.  We may have saved ourselves the trouble of figuring out what to give people, but we did not saving money at all when you add up what we spent on ingredients.  But after the first disappointing round, everything we made turned out fantastic.  

One round of peanut butter cookies we made at our parents' house.  We suggested coming over and making cookies together while watching a Christmas movie, and they said that sounded fun.  But then when we got there, my dad didn't want to watch a Christmas movie because he's already watched all the ones we like because they'd been playing on cable non-stop.  And then the extent of their helping with the cookies was in that they did some taste testing for us.  So that was not as much fun as we'd hoped it would be. 

We had one more go-round the next weekend, making stuff for our family. I didn't even care at that point if they liked what we made them because I know how much effort I'll be putting in to make the stuff. It took forever.  But we made pecan bars that were so good I briefly thought about eating them myself, as well as peanut butter cookies, billionaires, and pralines.

It's no wonder that I put on weight in December.  You have to sample as you bake because you have to make sure that you aren't giving away food that looks nice but tastes awful.  And so even though we gave away far, far more than we ate, we still got pretty tired of chocolate, or really anything sweet. That would have been fine except that we bought a lot of chocolate to eat on the day after Christmas, when we thought it would be fun to sit around reading, drinking coffee, and eating an inexcusable amount of chocolate.  By the time Christmas rolled around, that plan didn't seem so fun. I hope that chocolate freezes well because into the freezer it went when we reached the breaking point.

Now we've moved on to eating too much cheese. 

3 comments: said...
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Mica said...

I had a similar problem over the holidays. I thought it would be a great idea to bake everyone cookies (a different batch for both of my future in-laws, some for my aunts and uncles, friends, etc.). It turned out to be really stressful to come home and have to make TONS of cookies while my parents also expected me to bake for various holiday events. Next year, I'll say I'll be moderate and not bake/eat so many sweets, but that probably won't happen.

JLR said...

Mica: Yeah, I always say I'm going to do less, and then I never do. Maybe next year? At least you seem to be actually GOOD at baking, so you have something nice to show for it at the end. And you're creative, too. Me, it's more like, "This might be good, but nobody get their hopes up."

Next year, let's try to remember to remind each other to be not so overachiever-y.