Friday, December 09, 2011

Cookie Bakeoff Fun

Every year for about the past 15 a group of us have been getting together for a day to launch the Christmas baking season (my favourite) and work our way through more pounds of butter and chocolate than should be legal. It is a full day, but a fun one, and a great way to feel like you have accomplished something because everyone goes home with tins brimming with goodies and many more warm memories. I remember one of the first bakeoffs - maybe the first - we were all crammed into my very tiny kitchen at the time. My nephew Teddy, who was about 4 or 5 years old and very keen on pitching in too was perched upon a stool so that he could reach the countertop and he was in charge of the 'gears' on the mixmaster as batches were produced (along with the occasional snow/flour flurry!).

Emmy and Betty go the distance
This year my sister Betty hosted the festivities and I'm happy to say that we still have a few little ones keen on getting into the tradition - Betty's neices Megan and Emily count down to the bakeoff just about as much as we do. Emily is the youngest and she was so into it she even made a batch of tiny 1/2" sandwich heart cookies, complete with icing and dragees, to take home for a tea party with her Barbies. She rolled and decorated right to the very end.

Julia starts things off on the gingerbread
We usually show up with one or two batches prepared so that cookies can be baked right away while more batches are prepped. Our recipes don't vary that much from year to year - we have our favourites - but we do periodically have moments of brilliance, and this year it was with the royal icing. Instead of mucking around with sticky icing bags we discovered these great squeeze bottles that made both icing and clean-up a breeze. Old dogs, new tricks.

Works of art
The added bonus on the icing is that three of the happy bakers - Betty, Jane and my neice Julia - are all graphic designers so inspiration and creativity are a given.

Jane gets excited about her favourites - Linzer Hearts
There will be many more batches whipped up between now and when Old St. Nick comes down the chimney but nothing compares to the joy that comes from getting these first goodies into the freezer.

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
We used to count the dozens that we make but now we are happy just to bake and get them into tins. One of my favourites are the Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread from Martha Stewart; there's something about the taste of fresh ginger wrapped around chunks of semi-sweet chocolate that makes me go weak in the knees (or at least sends me looking for a good cup of tea to go with them!).

1 comment:

Jack said...

Baking cookies aroma is one of the best thing in the world and it is appetizing too. You and your group is really innovative. Thanks for sharing.