Monday, January 10, 2011

Sweet sugared sunshine

It’s no secret, you guys, that I do a lot of baking.  A lot.  I love it all: tarts, scones, biscotti, bread, cookies.  Loads and loads of cookies.  It all started when I was a(n adorably precocious!) kid and home alone in the summers.  I baked my way through Betty Crocker’s original cookbook by the time I was out of elementary school and nobody was safe from my taste testing.  I’m most proud of the mocha cake I once made…I didn’t know there was any difference in coffee, so thought I was a downright GENIUS for using instant Folgers in the cake.  And in the frosting.  And not dissolving it, which means it was crunchy.  I remember pulverizing those freeze dried granules like a mad scientist and then watching with such culinary pride as my family and all of the neighbors I’d pied-pipered in to eating this 3 layer nightmare on a plate stood around the kitchen silently chewing and nodding.  Do you want to be the a-hole that tells a 9 year old budding gourmand her mocha cake tasted like burned coffee grounds and regret?  Nope!  They ate it all, you guys.  Good times!  Even now, if you’ve spent any time with me in the last few years, there’s no doubt that I’ve tried to cram at least one chocolate chip delicacy in to your gaping maw at some point, whether you were interested or not.  And then proceeded to browbeat you into submission until you told me how much you like them.  See how fun I am?!  Annoying! 
So I’ve been super busy with my cookie making projects, especially during the holidays.  People seem to love the chocolate chip, the peanut butter chocolate chip and the molasses spice the most.  The chocolate chip are truly a thing of beauty.  In my opinion, the most perfect cookie.  I did a special double chocolate brownie peppermint one for a few weeks and those were fun and festive, but for a real chocolate fix there’s no denying that the basics always hit the spot.  The peanut butter chocolate chip are big and peanut buttery and a whole lot of yum.  And the molasses spice, for which I will forever be indebted to my good pal Shelly for introducing to me and sharing her recipe, taste like the cozy comfort of fall.  Her husband likes to take them straight out of the oven when she makes them, draping their sweet, molten goodness over his fingers until they’re just cool enough to eat.  They make a killer vanilla ice cream sandwich, in case you wanted to know.
My current obsession is with shortbread.  Shortbread!  I’m not a huge fan of your basic sugar cookie, ok?  Booooooring.  I like my sweet treat with some nuance and heft in the crumb which I think shortbread consistently has, so I’m always excited to try different shortbread cookies.  About 4 years ago I did these hazelnut shortbread strawberry jam cookies for a little baby shower I hosted and have used that recipe as my springboard ever since.  (ALERT! Hazelnuts will always and forever be my favorite nut!  I love a damn filbert, you guys.  Make sure you remember that in case we’re ever on a game show together.)  I made tons of almond shortbreads and sugared shortbreads and lemon shortbreads the past few months.  I took shortbread hearts to New Year's mini-vacay in Mammoth because they’re so good with tea.  (And road trips!  And champagne!)  Last week I had a request to bake cookies with one of my cutiepie 5 year old pals, Ella.  So off I went with my shortbread and my fluted heart shaped cutters and my red sanding sugar and my good intentions.  And me and Ella, we rolled out those cookies and, of course, she picked the smallest cutter known to man and we proceeded to cut and sprinkle and bake 627 frillion miniature heart shaped lemon shortbread cookies.  And then we cut out her name and baked those letters, too.  And then I let her and her baby brother eat half of the 627 frillion cookies because, as you know, Auntie Susie is ALL ABOUT FUN and BUYING AFFECTION WITH CONFECTION! And when I was convinced that they were adequately sugar-drunk, I took the rest of those cookies (so, so many cookies, you guys!) and pushed them out of reach of little arms.  Apparently the little arms weren’t what I should have been concerned with. 
When I strolled back in to the kitchen to get more water (ok, fine!  It was wine!) there were only two teensy cookies left on the plate.  Which hadn’t moved.  Huh? And then I spied the culprit.  So demure.  So innocent.  So looking like she was half a minute away from having the number twos all over the place.

Prime suspect!*
bacibug: “Sophie!  Did you eat all of those cookies?!”
Ella: “Sophie!  You shouldn’t eat cookies!!!”
Ella’s Baby Brother: “WHAT?! Motorcycle! And more cookies!  Cookies!”
Sophie: ….*blink blink*….*burp*
bacibug: “Dang!”
Anyway, I told Sophie’s humans what was what and then got the hell out of dodge.  Praise Jesus that these shortbreads weren’t chocolate dipped or chocolate chip, right?  But I wasn’t sure if cookies in general are poisonous to the sweet canine and I’ll tell you what: I wasn’t going to hang around and find out, ok?  I have checked on sweet Soph every day since Cookiegate 2011 and everyone says she’s perfectly fine.  Phew!

And I’m pretty sure she thought they were delicious, so there’s that.  

*No adorable, sweet-natured domestic animals were harmed in the writing of this entry...I don't think.


  1. Oh Sue! LOVE LOVE LOVE your choc chip cookies..........I have only had them once and I am still in love with them! And....I LOVe to bake! We need to get together and have a cookie baking wine tasting fun filled girls day!! I live in Temecula after all!

  2. Let's do it, Nic! We need to have our planning committee meeting anyhow!! Love you, friend!

  3. Seriously! You make me laugh soooo hard! My baby L-O-V-E loves you for making him bounce all over the place in my big ol' belly :)

  4. That's so sweet, Les! I hope that baby comes out laugh-laugh-laughing!!!