Thursday, December 9, 2010

A day of baking in pictures

Tomorrow my little one brings a special birthday snack to preschool. As you can imagine, I have been thinking of the possibilities for a while now. He really isn't too concerned-- or interested for that matter-- as long as it's sweet. With no "rules" in place, we can go wild. I've been pondering all sorts of holiday-themed treats, but really, he was more interested in his Legos than talking about treat ideas. Then last night, he mentioned that he wanted cut-out gingerbread cookies. Super, I'm thinking. I just happen to have a cookie exchange the same day we're bringing "birthday snack". So, I'll bake a giant double or triple batch, and let him go wild with decorating the ones for his classmates.

So, before the school bus pulls up this morning, we've cracked the eggs, poured the molasses...

we've beaten and stirred...

and I have 5 big balls of gingerbread dough chilling in the fridge until after school when we'll busy ourselves with rolling, cutting and baking. The only glitch? On the way to school my little one says, "Mommy? Maybe I like gingerbread but maybe my friends at school don't. Let's not make gingerbread. Let's make pink cookies, since pink is my favorite color!"

Long on butter, flour and sugar this time of year, I humor him and get a batch of sugar cookie dough made when we get home. "Shall we still cut them into shapes?" I ask excitedly, picturing all of the little faces oohing and aahing at the culinary masterpiece we'll bring in tomorrow morning. "No, round is fine mommy, just so long as they are pink, since that is my favorite color."

Knowing full well that my son's (current) favorite color is pink, I just happened to have picked up some India Tree sugars one day on a whim. I am golden. He looks at the cookies approvingly when they come out of the oven, then excitedly goes on to tell me that what would be really special as a birthday snack are the chocolate chip cookies that are regular. Regular? "Yeah, like the ones with the recipe on the bag like other mom's make," my older son tells me, clearly in cahoots with my little one. Really?

Not one to pass up a culinary challenge, even if it is their bedtime, the three of us whip up a batch of Tollhouse cookies. By. The. Book. No wheat flour, no oats, no messing around. Plain chocolate chip cookies. As they cooled on the rack and we went up for bedtime stories, my older son told my younger son, "you're really lucky you're bringing in such a special snack". "I know," I could hear my little one answering and you could tell from his voice that he was just beaming. Worth the extra flour, sugar, butter, eggs and effort this one special day of the year in his young life.

Now I know a few of my friends reading this are wondering whether I am bringing pink sugar cookies to the party tomorrow. Trust me, at that point in the night I had totally run out of steam to roll, cut, bake, decorate. So, I checked our butter and chocolate supply and instead whipped up a double batch of my cinnamon-chocolate brownies with chocolate ganache that are super simple and always a crowd pleaser. If any of my neighbors are reading this would like a ball of my gingerbread dough, just holler. We'll bake and decorate one or two balls this weekend, but we have a few more to share!

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