Sunday, December 13, 2009

Time to deliver cookies

It's that time of year when some of us bake and bake, give other people treats, and hope we get lots in return.

I say that with humor, because this time of year we know we'll all be getting lots of goodies one way or another, even if we have to hang around the bank lobby until they put out store-bought Lorna Doones.

Yesterday I spent the entire day in the kitchen. There are so many people I wanted to thank for being kind to me, or else to cheer up because they had a rough year.

I didn't get photos of the trays because I was so busy wondering how I would deliver them all on icy roads today, but in the photo above you get an idea. That plate is going to a neighbor who lives alone. Some of the people have 3 and 4 kids, so their gifts were more like Christmas bags.

I also hoped to get more photos of the process, but what with one thing and another . . . My kitchen resembled one of those sitcoms where a budding entrepreneur tries to make enough cupcakes to fill an unexpected order for 5,000 -- inevitably the family starts throwing things at each other, although the order does get filled. I can attest that this is a tiring process, even without throwing things around, so not many photos.

I did finish off a 5-pound bag of flour.

I also enjoyed melting chocolate and peanut-butter chips together and adding chopped peanuts to fill some truly delicious Chocolate Peanut-Butter Snowballs.

I was briefly tempted to eat the stuff right out of the pan. But I remembered my friends and controlled myself. Instead I followed the recipe directions and formed them into balls and wrapped them in shortbread dough. The snowballs were then rolled in powdered sugar and baked. (See upper left corner in top photo.)

I also made Fruitcake Bars, which are really, really tasty, but I would call them Fruit and Nut Bars myself. "Fruitcake" definitely gives you the wrong impression here. These are mostly nuts (your choice), dried apricots, and dates. With only 6 tablespoons of flour, you can use a substitute and make them gluten-free.

A few people who were very, very good this year got homemade English muffins and Amish-made dandelion jelly that I bought at the Eureka farmers market. Its light, delicate flavor is quite nice.

I also made two longtime favorites: Apricot, Orange, Cranberry Bread from Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking and Sparkling Citrus Triangles (shown in top photo) from a Land O'Lakes cookbook I picked up at the supermarket years ago. The latter were already in the freezer waiting to be sliced and baked. This is a handy make-ahead tip, by the way: almost any cookie dough can be rolled into a log, frozen for a month, and then sliced and baked.

I feel kind of tuckered out, as my dad used to say after a long day. Still, it was heart-warming to hear the surprised thank-yous. As I keep pointing out, people do a lot of baking around here, but they are just as pleased to be on the receiving end.


  1. Boy, I sure wish I were one of your neighbors right around now, if only to receive some of those yummy-looking snow balls. When you talked about throwing things, I had a picture of you in throwing flour at Moz, I think that would have been funny.
    Sounds like you had a busy weekend, girl. And I'll bet your cabin smelled delicious.

  2. What does dandelion jam taste like, I wonder?

  3. That dandelion jelly is intriguing. I'll look for it next year, when Mari and I follow your example and make the rounds of the farmers markets in the state. Your blog is a wealth of information. Thanks!

  4. Tea Girl, you'll have to make some dandelion jam and let me know what it tastes like. :|

    Cliff, visiting farmers markets will be an awesome adventure! I hope my guide book gets published in time to give you a bit more information about them. But I'll be interested in hearing your stories, too.

  5. Mary, I had no idea you've written (or are writing) a guidebook. That's great! Did you do a post on it that I missed? I can't wait to get a copy.

  6. I'm writing the guide now and hope to see it published in spring 2010. I don't mention it much [yet] in case it slips through the cracks, but it is my current passionate interest. I do feel I must do something with all the photos and information I collected on my 8,000-mile journey this past summer to see them all!

  7. Those cookies look delicious, and just as sweet as the baker. Merry Christmas, Montana Mary!