Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cookie Failure

I've been looking at this recipe for almost a year now, waiting for the annual neighborhood cookie fest to try them out. "Why," you ask, "why didn't you test the recipe?" Well, because that would be like cheating somehow. And way too much work. I'm not going to test a recipe when making them just in the nick of time for the party is much more exciting. Anyway, things started out simple enough. Chocolate sugar cookies rolled out and 1 1/2" coins stamped out. I don't have a biscuit cutter, but the martini shaker top worked great. Bake the rounds and let them cool. The sandwich part of the cookie is next. Caramel, yummmm. Sugar, heavy cream, a little vanilla, a little corn syrup. Instructions said to cook this until the candy thermometer reached 250. My first hint of impending doom should have been reading that my thermometer calls this 'hard crack.' I cooked and cooked, then I added the butter per the instructions and let the whole mess cool for a bit. By the time I sat down to cut the rounds of caramel to be sandwiched between the chocolate cookies, the caramel wouldn't even peel off the waxed paper. I managed to make little caramel balls by rolling a piece between my palms, then squooshing that between the chocolate cookies. They looked pretty good, but it was slow going. Then Nora came over with a sample plate of what she'd made and I offered her one of the caramel cookies. It took her nearly five minutes to finally chew the damn thing into submission. When she could speak again, we agreed it was a good thing she didn't have any fillings because they would have been pulled out. Part of me wondered if I could cook the caramel less, but then I just wadded up the recipe and chucked it.

I just piled the chocolate coins in the middle of a ring of pecan bars (my second offering that turned out great) and headed over for John's killer eggnog.

So now I have this disk of caramel. Do you think I could melt it on the stove, add peanuts, and call it peanut brittle? I think I'll give it a try, but I think I'd need to cook it a bit more for the crunchy sort of brittle. The recipes I saw for brittle also included baking soda, so I'd have to add that too.

Nora made Earl Gray tea cookes, some chocolate wafers that had a gingery flavor, and my favorites were a savory kinda cheezy spicy salty wafer. I'll have to get that recipe from her.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Celebration - a tribute

I have a lot to be thankful for, not the least of which are two happy, healthy kids. I've posted more about the younger son (recently here), but number one son's birthday is today, and it's a milestone celebration worthy of a little tribute.

I've never been a scrapbooker. I've saved everything, always meaning to get around to it. I've got dozens of scrapbooks, sadly empty, gathering dust in a box near all the boxes of photos and elementary school art. Imagine how thrilled I was, in the first box I opened, to find Z's very first photo.

Every mother always, rightfully, believes their babies are the most beautiful. I'm no different. He always was a pretty baby.

And every child has their awkward years. Z had an unnatural attachment to these suspenders. I couldn't give them away when he outgrew them. They are in his treasure box in the attic as we speak.

After the suspenders came the cowboy years. This was Halloween, but it felt like cheating because he would put this outfit on any given day, six-shooters and all.

Then came the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle days. I bought this sweater three times so that he always had one that fit him. This black and white photo doesn't quite do justice to the chicken pox blisters all over his face. He couldn't go to school, so he was my assistant on a photo shoot downtown. Clearly he was feeling better.

And then we were six. That's baby Mosby. You can tell by Z's face how thrilled he is with this particular birthday present. Neither of them stayed that little for very long.

The baseball years were fun. T was so proud of his big brother! Z told me once, sometime around when this picture was taken, that he was going to play professional baseball and make FIVE MILLION DOLLARS.

Jump ahead a couple of years. He's entering the awkward teenage years here, but Ingrid didn't have to ask him twice to dance. Can you blame him? He has always had good taste in women.

Look back again for a moment to a three-year old Z on training wheels. I was so glad to find this particular shot too, considering the cyclist he has grown up to be. Those first few miles on the bike path must have been formative. . .

. . . since this is where that led to in about 10 years.

There were good days and bad. This one was particularly bad, but he had a good story to tell.

He moved on to the mohawk days of his life. When he was teased about his choice of coif, he would reply, "These are my wild hair days!" So true.

You're a big goof-ball, beautiful boy, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Can't wait for you to get home for the holidays. I miss you, you big lug. Happy 21st birthday.