Only One month until Christmas?

OMG! I better get started on my cookie baking now!

Oh wait, I started already. :-)

Actually, I didn't start out with the plan to get a head start on my Christmas baking. It just ended up happening that way in the end.

My oldest son has been sick the last few days, home from school with a high fever. He is not, however, old enough to be on his own even for the 30 minutes it would take me to get back and forth to school to drop off and later, pick up, his younger brother. So my neighbour, whose daughter is in the same school and has the same hours as my youngest, has been kind enough to do drop off and pick up for me. So my Christmas baking started out as a way to say thanks to her. Funny how things morph from one plan to another so quickly!

Friday afternoon, while my oldest slept off some of his fever, I got busy in an uncluttered kitchen, alone with my stand mixer and ingredients. (It is amazing how much more quickly I can knock out a recipe without 4 year old help.) All my butter was frozen for future use, so recipe options were slightly limited. But knowing my neighbour, I knew she would appreciate a plate full of Ginger cookies. I didn't take a picture of these because I had already posted about them here. The recipe makes more than 3 dozen large sized cookies - more than enough to give her a big thanks and to stash some away in the freezer for when the house is filled with people.

Making ginger cookies put me into an odd frame of mind. Not sure how, but it led me to thinking about my Grandfather. Normally when I am baking cookies, the voice of my grandmother is in my head (sometimes way in the background,) telling me how she never had the patience for cookies, but she could knock out a pie in a jiffy! So baking cookies didn't lead me to think of my Grandfather, but baking coconut macaroons pointed me in his direction.

My Grandfather is in his late 70's, and still likes to tell stories about how when he was a kid he stole packages of shredded coconut from the local store so he could just eat it straight. I once bought a whole coconut so that we could crack it open, educate my oldest son about it, then have it on hand so my Grandfather could snack on fresh coconut for the rest of his visit.

These cookies are very easy to make: Mix together in a large bowl 3 egg whites, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup of white sugar, until light and frothy. Add in 5 1/3 cups of sweetened flaked coconut. Scoop by rounded tablespoon (this is where a nice scoop comes in handy) on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake 20 - 30 minutes at 350F, or until they are golden brown. They won't spread while baking, but keep a close eye out because the edges will burn quickly if you don't. Allow to cool on wire rack before chomping down on a few. Store in airtight container.

These cookies will not make it to Christmas, but were so simple to make that I can whip up a new batch even when I only have a few minutes of time. Which is good, because I've promised my Grandfather I will bake him some when we go up to visit next. Or when he comes here.

Btw, like my pretty new plates? I treated myself to a set of dishes yesterday, square white plates and bowls with Platinum rims. I don't know why some people think I am hard to buy for - you can always buy me fun dishes or cooking items!

Having been in a baking mode, today I decided to continue on with it. I had taken one block of butter out of the freezer, so I was prepared for making a butter based cookie. Looking through my traditional recipes, I wasn't smilling. Every year I make a whipped shortbread recipe, which was fine when I was a more inexperienced cook. Not only am I not an inexperienced cook, I'm a more finicky eater. I really don't like that recipe much, it never turns out the way I wanted, and the 10 minutes of whipping, to me, makes them too floury, and easily breakable. I want my shortbread to be tender, but not so tender that they fall apart when you pick them up.

With that in mind, I decided to try the recipe for Multiple Personality Shortbread cookies from Today's Parent. Not too multiple though - I doubled the recipe and made plain shortbread with half then added semi-sweet chocolate chips for the other half. I haven't tried the plain yet, have only tried the chocolate version, but think next time I will use milk-chocolate chips instead.
Though the children both tried them and hmmmm'd through their cookies, then told me that I made the best cookies ever! What greater praise can a home baker get? :-)

The real test will be to see how these handle freezing and defrosting.

I still have plans for several more types of cookies, including sugar cookies (a quiet day project to do with the children), chocolate-caramel squares, and I'm open minded enough to take suggestions from others for a few more recipes, so if you have one and think I should try it, send it along!

Now if you will excuse me, there is a container full of coconut cookies in my kitchen, calling my name.

PS. Speaking of cookies - check out my entry for this months Does My Blog Look Good in This.
For this one I submitted my picture of star cookies that I made for my son's birthday last month.

Generally when I submit a picture for this (this is my 3rd or 4th time), I'm usually reasonably happy with the quality of my pic, until I see the other entries. Then I just feel like I need to go take some photography lessons. And buy some new dishes. And backdrops. I'm not the only one, but oh well.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Those coconut cookies look deliciously mouth poppable! Coconut is one of my absolute favorite things to use in baking. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

Ivonne said...

Quellia,

Your blog already smells like Christmas! I love the cookies!