Friday, December 14, 2007

Baking up holiday mishaps and some cookies, too

Yesterday night, Denise brought over her premade green and red spritz doughs (dohs!), and I was trying a new recipe for milk chocolate florentines. Even though there's no shortage of holiday cookie recipes available, it's hard to venture away from the tried and true. Still, the thought is made more palatable by glowing reader reviews, so I decided to risk it. Turns out that the hard part wasn't combining the ingredients but putting the optimal amount of dough (a scant teaspoonful) on the cookie sheets. Once we mastered this, Denise set to work on her spritzes.

A little about Denise: she loves math and sudoku and has impeccable handwriting. She likes precision — having things just so — but she's also a kind girl who looks both ways before crossing the room at a party. Anyway, she meticulously spritzed green dough onto cookie sheets, reusing pieces that didn't conform to the desired tree shape. I should have left her to her own devices, but when the timer went off I thought I'd help out by removing the finished cookies from the oven. I grabbed the bottom sheet and dropped half of the cookies on the floor of the oven, where they started smoking. We watched for a couple minutes, mourning the loss of trees that she had labored to cultivate, then picked up the offenders with tongs. It was sad. Denise reassured me that it was fine and gave me a bunch of undamaged cookies, because that's who she is.

If she gives you some spritzes, make sure you tell her how tasty and perfectly formed they are. By the way, we did not get to the red dough. The late hour and smoke-filled kitchen dampened our holiday spirits. She'll be making the red spritzes from the safety of her own home.

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