Homemade Goodness

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Don’t bake chocolate chip cookies–ever!

I stupidly got into the habit of providing fresh, homemade cookies for my boy. He doesn’t eat a huge number of cookies, but I worried about nasty things like trans fat in commercially baked goods.

I use actual eggs and butter–which may not be the healthiest products, but I know what they are and where they come from. (Although I try not to think about it because the idea of eating something squeezed out of the back-end of a cow or chicken makes those artificial ingredients created in a sterile lab sound more palatable.)

The cookie jar was empty, had been for a few days.

My boy had started grumbling about the lack of cookies. When was I going to make more? Could I bake tonight? How about tomorrow or the next day?

Ugh! Why had I ever started baking? I’d set a dangerous precedent and my client–er, boy–expected regular delivery.

Then it came to me! My sailor is reasonably competent in the kitchen. He could give me a break by baking a batch of cookies!

I learned it’s much easier to supervise baking than to do it. (Even taking into account all the “Honey, where do we keep the sugar/flour/baking soda/vanilla?” questions.)

His results weren’t quite as wonderful as mine: a bit too brown on the bottom and the size of hamburger patties, but my boy loves them. (Possibly because they’re the size of hamburger patties.)

I’m way too smart to criticize his efforts because I see the bigger picture.

Last weekend, we set a precedent where my sailor successfully baked HUGE cookies that were well-received by our client.

A Girl in Every Port

009011015The boat has arrived!

The dog has been aboard for a preliminary inspection. (She gave it two paws up.)

Tomorrow, we hit the waves for our first family cruise!

My sailor is so excited at the prospect of sharing his grand passion with the family, he’d be satisfied with a bag of Doritos and a couple of cans of pop for our first picnic on the waves.

I wouldn’t.

This is such a big deal for him that I went all Martha Stewart and put together a meal befitting our family’s inaugural voyage in Two Bears. (We still haven’t decided on the new name.)

While undertaking my catering frenzy, I learned a couple of kitchen lessons.

I started with mini Quiches, substituting bread pressed into muffin tin cups for pastry. As well as being healthier than pastry, it was much easier (in theory.) Because we’re all such fussy eaters (by all, I mean my boy and me. My sailor will happily eat anything), I made three different varieties of Quiche. Vegetarian for me, sausage and cheese for my boy and everything for my sailor.

Mmm! They looked and smelled delicious–sort of rustic and hearty–coming out of the oven. Unfortunately, they melded to the muffin tin during baking and I had to chip them out with a steak knife. Instead of the pretty, delicate Quiches I envisioned, we’ll have cold scrambled eggs with chunks of flattened bread. Kitchen lesson number one: a light coating of olive oil is not enough to keep eggy bread from sticking to a baking tin, even a supposedly “non-stick” pan.

Because Two Bears has an adorable little fridge, we can bring strawberries and raw veggies to munch with our egg disasters. Translation: I washed. I peeled. I chopped, I sliced.

I promised my boy homemade cookies for the cruise. I usually have a stash in the freezer, but it’s been so hot lately I haven’t baked for ages, so the cookie situation was dire. After wrestling the Quiches out of the muffin tin, it was time to start baking, even though the kitchen was scorching from having the oven on earlier. I made a big batch of chocolate mess cookies. Kitchen lesson number two: when you’re experiencing a heat wave, keep your chocolate chips in the fridge so they don’t all melt together and look like something that came out of the pet rabbit you had in middle school.

Whew!

By the time I cooked, packed the food and cleaned up the kitchen, I was ready for a nap, not an adventure on the high seas.

I finally understand the old saying that a sailor has a girl in every port. He’d need them all to keep up with food production!

Normal Baking Has Now Been Resumed or Chocolate Chip Cookies Circa 2014

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With the holidays well and truly behind us, it’s time to put away the molasses, nutmeg and cinnamon and get back to regular baking–chocolate chip cookies!

New year, new recipe. This one was on the back of the Chipits bag. It’s a bit unusual because it uses only brown sugar (almost as much sugar as flour) instead of a mixture of brown and white. I figured this would add moisture and a deeper, caramel flavour so I went with it.

This recipe excited me because it starts with melted butter. I don’t have an electric mixture so I must use brute force to cream softened butter with sugar. Starting with melted butter takes the heavy work out of baking.

I added a splash of vanilla even though it wasn’t in the recipe because vanilla equals flavour. I also love its scent and feel particularly baker-ly when I cook with it.

The verdict: heavy dense cookies with very little flavour (thank goodness I added vanilla–they’d have been like lumps of plaster without it.)

I’m not giving up on the idea of melted butter for baking, but I’m going to tweak some other things.