Friday, November 18, 2005

Mmm - cookies!

Since my singing lesson was unfortunately cancelled last night, I decided to spend my time preparing for Christmas. After a fruitful (and expensive!) trip to the bulk barn I found myself equipped to make almond paste and rum balls.

Normally, I don’t do my own Christmas baking. Traditionally I have an enviable relationship in which Omi sends me a care package stuffed with cookies.

However, I find myself in the unusual position of doing my own Christmas baking because in September my grandmother had an unfortunate encounter with a set of basement stairs. This was an encounter which the stairs won decisively, leaving my Omi with a fractured leg wrist, cracked rip, and enough soft tissue damage in the right arm to render it mostly useless.

Therefore, I am determined that this year, I will be the one sending the Christmas care package.

Now, rum balls are without a doubt the thing I most look forward to receiving in the Christmas cookie box, so I started with them.

I find the whole process astonishing, as they end up very tasty, but they sure don’t start out very good! Not only do they involve walnuts (a nut which I traditionally don’t like very much, but which fortunately is ground into anonymity for this recipe), but they taste almost exclusively like corn syrup if you make the mistake of tasting the dough as you are preparing it.

I do understand, having read the recipe thoroughly, that they need to age before they will reach their full flavour, but the metamorphosis is truly incredible. And they have to be the easiest thing in the world to make; toss a few ingredients together, mix ‘em up, and voila!

I also took advantage of the hour that you have to let the dough sit before shaping it into bite size pieces to make almond paste, on my way to making marzipan. I’ve decided this year that not only am I going to ice my fruit cake with marzipan, I’m also going to experience with molding the marzipan into cute X-mas shapes, coloring it, and crystallizing it. I’d have been happy to do the whole thing last night, but unfortunately almond paste is another thing that has to rest for a week before you use it.

In retrospect, the title of this post may not be so apt, given that I neither made cookies, nor got to taste anything that I did make. So much for instant gratification.

I had good intentions of doing some sewing after the baking marathon, as I’m not even close to my goal of making two skirts this week, but instead I got distracted by Gilmore Girls. Just my luck that all of the episodes I watched ended in tears, trepidation, or gloom. I finally had to resort to watching the opening scene and then turning it off as soon as it reached the opening credits, in order to get myself to bed in a half-decent frame of mind.

Anyway, ta for now, and hopefully my next post won’t be so domestic.


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