first – blago got 14 years, yay for illinois!  not that it will deter all the crooked, crooked politicians littering our landscape, but at least this particular flagrantly bad man will be in jail for a good long time.

on to more important matters – CHRISTMAS COOKIES!

i started baking them the day before yesterday.  this is the third year that i’ve started keeping track of the cookies i make, so i’ll remember them…the first year, i made leibkuchen, because i’d made it before and they were always gobbled up because they’re delicious.  lots of spices, nice lemon glaze, delicious.  the first year i added a note, “make two batches next year.”  last year, i wrote “make 3x next year.”

they’re supposed to sit, in an airtight container, for two weeks in order for the “spices to ripen,” which is why i decided to make them first.  i also decided that this time, i’d make two batches at once, to save time.

now, sometimes i get up in the morning and start baking something, and this has had kind of disastrous results, because as you know, i’m not fully awake and alert first thing in the morning and really shouldn’t be trying to challenge myself mentally like that.  which is why, this time, i made the double batch IN THE AFTERNOON, a time that i’m usually fairly sharp.

it’s all relative.

i mixed up the cookies and remembered that they take more time than i thought they would because i had to do stuff like zesting and squeezing a lemon, making the frosting.  i was careful to double the spices, because i was doubling the recipe.

when it came time to add the flour, though, it said “2 1/2 cups sifted flour,” and i decided that definitely meant that i had to sift the flour and then measure it, but i probably didn’t do that in years past because of laziness.  but this time i was careful to sift, then measure, then i had to sift the flour with the spices into the mixture and put it in the pans.

it said to PAT the dough into the pans, but i knew that something was very wrong at this point – it was more like thick pancake batter and no patting was going to take place.

what did i do wrong?  clearly there was not enough flour, so i added a little, but still, not right.

i spooned the batter into the two pans and baked each one in turn…they rose just fine, and right after i got the first one out of the oven i tasted it and it seemed fine although of course it was extremely hot.

hmm, maybe they were going to be OK after all…

but then they cooled and i tasted them again and MAN were they spicy.  way, way, way too much clove.  was i haphazard in the clove measuring?

i foraged ahead, spreading them with the icing, cutting them into squares, and i kept trying them, and they kept being way too spicy, and kevin tried one and agreed, but they weren’t so spicy that we wouldn’t keep sampling…

yesterday i gave some to mom to take home to dad, and mom thought they were great, and dad thought they were perfect…they were softer than i remembered them being, so the texture was good, but still…

and then today i really started thinking about it, and i checked the recipe and i suddenly realized that i’d been so busy worrying about when, exactly, the sifting should take place, that the DOUBLING THE RECIPE PART flew right out of my brain.  so, instead of FIVE cups of flour, there were only 2 1/2.

uh oh.

i tried another one just now, to see if the ripening has made them too spicy to eat, but they’re not…yet.  one little bite is really all you’d want, though.  i need to quickly give them away way before the actual holidays, so they can be eaten before any more ripening takes place.

meanwhile, i might try another batch later today.

but maybe i’ll move on to something easier.

but they WEREN’T HARD to make, it was just that temporary lapse in all mental powers.

maybe i’ll wait til tomorrow.  give my brain another day to rest and contemplate the cookie-baking.

ok then,

mrs. wednesday afternoon hughes.