Made it!

My mother is the Supreme Goddess of Cookies.  She bakes with ease, patience and joy.  She used to make a huge tray of cookies for me to take to work when I was in my teens.  Christmas cookies.  And she would wrap them in cellophane with pretty ribbon and garland. One of the supervisors, Lakshmi, would take the ribbons and garland and weave them into her braid, which always made me smile.  I adored Lakshmi - everyone did.  She was just a lovely, motherly woman who was smart as a whip and unfailingly helpful and kind.

The first time I went to Matt's family at Christmas, I helped Mom make a massive plate of cookies - like, nearly nine dozen cookies.  And they were all eaten.  The next year, I was working two jobs and had no time for cookies.  I bought a nice box of candy or something, and I think they were all a little crestfallen.  Sorry, y'all.

When I was nine or ten, I was with my mother and sister, wandering around this grocery store called Ogletree's, and they had a rack where they kept a rotation of recipes.  It was near Valentine's Day, and I saw this recipe for sugar cookies that looked easy and good. I showed it to Mom, and she agreed - easy.  So we made it.  And motherfucker, those sugar cookies are killer.  They pair well with peach ice cream - we once made both and took them to friends.  They are drop cookies, so no rolling and cutting - and once you put sprinkles on them they are pretty.  They aren't chalky, or bland.  They keep well, and they are really, really good.  The only fly in the ointment, really, is that they do contain dairy, eggs, gluten and almond extract.  Because those things make good cookies.

So, the sugar cookies at Christmas are a slam dunk.  She makes a molasses spice cookie that is Matt's favorite, a wedding cookie (shortbready and powdered sugar - I've seen them called either Danish Wedding Cookies or Mexican Wedding cookies - those cultures have a lot in common), and a thumbprint cookie with a dab of buttercream in the middle.  They are all good.  Truly, not a clunker in the bunch - but I am partial to the sugar cookies.

Anyway.  What I have come to realize is that I do not possess my mother's patience or talent for baking.  It doesn't help that I have a dog who feels entitled to anything I am cooking, and that I have very few flat surfaces high enough to keep her at bay.  But mostly, it's patience.

So when I realized I needed to come up with two items for a goody swap with some friends tomorrow, I panicked.  I can make fudge - and it will either be epic or gritty or semi-liquid.  Fudge is temperamental.   I could make this thing I do with Cheerios, peanuts and candy coating (among other things) called Nuts and Bolts.  But the dog hair and paucity of flat surfaces make it a bad choice.  There's no way in hell I am going to pull off anything that starts with a list of ingredients and directions like sift, and measure, and fold...

So, I did some Holiday Baking Faking.

I went to Kroger, bought a ton of brownie mix, two logs of peanut butter cookie dough, and some parchment.  Gotta have parchment.  I bought some trimmings to make things look fancy, and then I got my ass home.

The cookies were easy.  And you wouldn't know I didn't start from scratch, if not for pictorial evidence:

But looking at these, you'd think - hey, old girl knows what she's doing:

They also remind me of boobies, and that's fun.

Pour up a glass of milk, and make these cookies your bitch.

The brownies have Christmas M&Ms in them but are otherwise brownies, and not photogenic.  More's the pity.

Anyway.  I packed the cookies in little cello bags, and the brownies on pretty little red paper plates with some wrap, and I'm done.  But it took some doing. 

All of this to say, I would rather cook.  Cooking is art.  It's poetry.  Baking is chemistry and math. 

But I am ready to party.  I am also ready to eat nothing but light soups and salads for a few months.

At least until tomorrow.

Party on, y'all.