I may have mentioned this before, but I worked in a semi-commercial bakery for 12 years. Though a lot of the work was from frozen ‘puck’ dough that was pre-formed, on occasion I was called upon to decorate cakes, and make things like angel food cake from scratch (50 lbs at a time).
Consequently, when it comes to making things for myself, I at least know how to go about it. Too, I have the necessary tools, since my mother-in-law ran a dining room out of her home through the 1960s. (When an Interstate was created and opened nearby, their business for the most part dried up [they owned/operated a motel] and closed said dining room) I inherited a large part of her equipment, including a vintage Kitchen-Aid mixer. Not one of the more modern varieties that has the hinged head, this is a beast, and it still has the Hobart label attached to it. I don’t think I could kill it if I tried. I expect it will outlive me, and the next 2-3 generations that make use of it.
I drag it out when I have large-scale baking to do. Like for my slave. She loves macadamia nut cookies (with white chocolate chips), and I found a great recipe for them. Now, granted macadamia nuts are hideously expensive ($18/lb fyi) but being able to do a little baking for her, and hearing how much she appreciates the gesture as well as my expertise is thanks enough. Giddy sounds over the phone (or in person, since the last time I baked them for her, I brought them with me when I hooked up with her in PA back in June) or just getting a message that says ‘I opened the last box!’ tells me all that I need to know.
Holiday baking can be a bear sometimes. But on occasion, it can be all worth it. Just have to know your audience, I suppose.
Countdown to blastoff for seeing my girl is down to a little under 33 hours. One major request she wanted for our meeting was me to bake her some of her favorite cookies. Apparently she has a big thing for macadamia nuts. Figures she’d pick a nut that was astronomically expensive. But, it’s a nice gesture on my part and after all, I worked in a commerical bakery for 12 years, might as well put my meager skills to good use. Like with all things, I’ve been procrastinating on this, but at least in this case for good reason. The recipe I’m using has a shelf life of about 5 days unrefrigerated, and I don’t intend to freeze them just to eek out a day or two extra. I’d rather she have them as fresh as I can get them to her, and still be able to get sufficient sleep the night before I leave.
Granted, we don’t have commerical grade equipment here for our cooking and baking purposes, for the most part its things that have been cobbled together from 2 distinct households, along with many other doodads and things collected over the course of our nearly 25 year marriage. The one thing I’m most grateful to have is my MIL’s old Kitchen-Aid mixer. Damn thing won’t die thank goodness. It’s one of the really old models, before Hobart decided to add a hinge on the main drive part so you could swing the head back in order to clean your beater/paddle/whisk easier. Considering at the bakery I worked at, we had gigantic versions of this mixer, I’m very comfortable using a spatula to clean the paddle, or even my hand as I used to do the same thing eons ago. Even so, I’m extra careful not to have the mixer plugged in while I’m fiddling with the bowl, I’ve heard some rather unsavory stories about what happens when people’s appendages or digits meet an ornery piece of mixing machinery, there’s a reason they call people ‘Lefty’ way back when…or even more currently.
Start to finish, the recipe called for about 2 1/2 hours. I think that it came out almost that long, but adding in cooling time and cleanup, it ended up being a bit longer than that. Certainly having to chronicle this (and figure out the layout for the pictures) took more time as well, since it’s now about 2:15 am EDT. Headed up to bed in a few minutes, as I have a crapload of things to do today, because yet again, I’m a procrastinator. But I have cookies! 4 damn dozen! I think someone is going to be appreciative…if not full in due time. Nighty night.