Friday, December 23, 2011

Baking, Sweet Memories, and A Couple Blunders

Greetings and Holykisses,

(edit) In the last couple weeks, I've had several people ask me for the recipe for Jesus' birthday cakes in jars. I forgot to add it in this post but you can find it here.
Mornin dear friends!
So, I'm on my second cup of coffee... and have been going back over my "to do" list for the third or fourth time. Bet I'm not alone in that. How many of you stared at a list this morning? I'll bet some of you have that "one more thing" you have to go pick up at the store, or an ingredient you forgot for that special dish to prepare.

Yesterday I finished baking and did have a couple blunders.
I made 4 loaves of pumpkin bread, 2 batches of M&M cookies, peanut butter fudge, a pan of scotcheroos, 2 batches of Reindeer food, peanut clusters, candy coated pretzels, Grandma's Molasses cookies, and the individual Jesus' birthday cakes baked in jars.

The first blunder were Grandma's cookies. First; I'll share my memory of her: At Christmas time; Grandma Wolff would make us the most delicious Molasses cookies and homemade caramels. The cookies were huge! Big, thick, chewy circles frosted with a dollup of buttercream icing!!! I think my best memory of her is actually with her pan of caramels. She would cook them in a big kettle on her old stove, and then pour the mixture into an aluminum cake pan. She never had to put them in the fridge to set up though. Instead, she'd leave the pan in the front porch where they froze like a brick in the North Dakota cold. I can still see her lay a piece of wax paper over the top and give them a good whack with her ball pin hammer. They'd shatter into hundreds of bite sized, buttery sweet, and yes- very frozen pieces. But they were best just like that; frozen! Then she'd pour them into a large metal coffee can and keep them in the freezer. What a delicous gift to us at Christmas: frozen caramels and molasses cookies! I remember lining my coat pocket with the caramels when going out to play in the snow. One piece would last forever in my mouth when savored slowly.

While I didn't make Grandma's caramels this year; I did attempt those big chewy cookies.
I think I've only made them myself one other time before. I wonder if they turned out then?
Sadly, this time... they didn't.
"What were your tricks Grandma? Oh how I wish I would have learned your secrets."

The recipe called for things like "heaping teaspoon of bkg soda, and heaping spoon of bkg pwd."
I'm thinking her heaps and spoons were surely different than mine. The dough is to be rolled out thick, ... and it says to add flour as needed. My dough was so sticky, and extra flour was added so much you just wouldn't believe it. I did finally get my circles cut out and baked. The loaded pans weighed about 400 pounds each I swear. Were her cookies really that heavy? I just don't remember. I set the timer on the oven and baked them 10 minutes each just like the recipe said... -- and one by one as the cookies cooled on the racks they each fell and resembled a mole hill volcano. Still; I was determined to love those cookies; no matter what. I mixed the buttercream and frosted a few;... then grabbed a steamy cup of coffee and bit into a much anticipated cookie. The rush of molasses on my taste buds took me straight back to the early 1970's. But then somehow it faded. It faded ...into this raw sticky dough. They were nothing like Grandma's! I choked down as much of one that I could stand. lol -I know Myguy nor the kids would ever waste their time trying to eat them, so as bad as I hated to... the chickens got a very sweet treat for Christmas. I guess in that regard it wasn't a total waste, since they'll pay us back in fresh eggs. But I was a little disappointed. I wonder if the last time I ever made these cookies if I had the same problem with the recipe? It's been so long ago- decades! I'll keep the recipe and maybe one day; if feeling up to a challenge- I'll work on it again. In the margin, I'm writing however that my experience this year making them was a little like playing ring around the rosey... coz they all ....fall down!

The other baking blunder I had was frosting the scotcheroos. It'd been a while since I'd made those too. I learned the hard way-- again, that you just never want to put half a bag of butterscotch chips and half a bag of chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave for a minute without stirring them half way through. Because after one minute, when you open the door.. you're greeted with smokin chips. I tried to pretend they weren't. I stirred them then... and put them back in to finish melting. And they did... but the stink stayed. Into the trash went my frosting. Thankfully, I had the other half a bags to go at it again. I remembered this time to stir stir stir.

Anyways,... everything is pretty much done.
In the photo above is one of Jesus' birthday cakes baked in a jar.
I ended up making the Pumpkin spice recipe and happily all 12 jars sealed. The little pings while the lids sealed is always music to my ears.

About two weeks ago, I stopped at Walmart to buy new Christmas fabric for the lids but the two or three bolts they had did not look Christmasy at all. So I ended up using what I already had, and had not used on them before. I'm not really crazy about the print, but they'll be alright.
Then I couldn't find solid white, green or red candles so had to just use what I already had as well. Oh well.

All I lack is adding "Happy Birthday Jesus" labels to their fronts, and packaging everything up and go out delivering. That's the really fun part! One jar I'll keep back and save for early Christmas morning when I'll get up before everyone else and have my devotional time. I am soooooo looking forward to it!

So those were my little blunders. Nothin too serious. The smoke alarm didn't even go off.
Hopefully Christmas Eve dinner will go even better. ;)

Thinking of you all today and wishing you
God's Peace,
Holykisses xoxo


Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

My grandmother used to make the yummiest oatmeal molasses cookies, ever... Did your grandma's cookies have oatmeal in them along with the molasses? If yes, I'll write my aunt fr the recipe. I think she inherited my grandma's recipe box!!!

I would love those recipes. They sound really good ;) :) Jesus birthday cakes in a jar sound really, really good :) :) Happy CHRISTmas to you and your family. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

Denise said...

Good morning girl. Sitting here playing with a new toy. We bought us an iPod for Christmas and I get to play first. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas ... We will be here alone this year. It will be strange but ok. Sister in law is in surgery as we speak and will be there through Christmas. She is having knee replacement. She just recovered from hip replacement in September. I call her the bionic woman now. Hahah. Well. Just wanted to wish you much love and joy fog the holidays..

Attic Clutter said...

the dreaded smoke alarm
We got a new one that is suppose to not go off so much near the stove.. WELL thanks for the Christmas wishes dear friend and same to you (:)

Fran. said...

Hello Lea! I love the fact that you saved one of those Jesus Birthday Jar Cakes for yourself for your devotions!!!! My Mom always made a Birthday cake for Jesus when I was growing up. I tried to keep it going but now the kids are grown up. I think I'm gonna look into those jar gifts of yours cuz then I could give it to them to take. Your clothespins are pretty cool too. I've been resting from surgery I had last Friday but must get going today and make sure I pay bills and buy groceries!! LOL Have a Merry Christmas and I am looking forward to your winter crafts you make. Love and Blessings to you. XO Fran.

Paula said...

Aloha Friend! You got sooo much baking done in one day! Way to go! I would be happy to look at your cookie recipe and give it a whirl to see what I can do with it! Today at library I picked up a mega cookie cookbook, to see what new recipes looked interesting. Tomorrow homemade chocolate cream pie! Church! then I get to open a present from my Angel Momma ;-), ;-)
Love you dear Friend, Merry Christmas to you and your Family. Happy Birthday Jesus!!!!!!

Mecky said...

I am sorry that you had some blunders. I always seem to have some sort of bumder when I try to do alot of baking. I get so mad at myself for it. It is always stupid things I do that I should know better.

Merry Christmas!

Auntie Bliss said...

What a nice read! My daddy loved Molasses cookies (I don't have a a recipe...I think we were eating store bought ones).
I have not baked one thing. Hubby watches his cholesterol and big boys are trying to eat healthy and encouraging me to (how funny). Baby boy is the picky eater!! SO I'd eat it all!
I wish you the merriest, Lea! Love ya!

Paula said...

Morning Dear Friend,
My email (outlook) is down, and I will not be able to get it fixed till next week (gotta call in the cavelry!!!), so wanted to write and thank you for the sweet Christmas glowing angel, hula ornie, and snowman towel :-) I put the angel next to the picture of my Angel Momma, and it felt just right. Her spirit was with me, as I hope your angel momma's spirit was with you on Christmas. went to a nice church service Christmas eve :-)
Hope your christmas was a sweet one as well. ALOHA and thank you again dear Friend Paula Jean

Attic Clutter said...

aw so sweet Lea that your green eyeball on the right(:)
and thanks you for the nice Christmas card dear one ..

Sunnyside Up said...

hehe..had a few lil cooking blunders myself BUT my "Jesus Birthday Cakes" turned out perfect & my friends LOVED them! Thanks for sharing the recipe!! I think it will be a *NEW* tradition for me for years to come!! I kept one for myself to light on Christmas day..and I sang to HIM...

"Happy Birthday Jesus"

Hope your Christmas was FILLED UP ALL the way to the top with lots of joy & happiness!

Texas Size Kisses!