Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese


Tomorrow is Christmas Baking Day

My baking plans for tomorrow include:

  • shortbread cookies, the cookies that I’m legally obligated to make every Christmas
  • amaretti, which I’ve never made before but expect to be delicious!

I will report back once all the baking is complete!


What recipe are you known for amongst your friends and family?

Here we go with using the Dec 2014 blogging prompts.

What recipe are you known for amongst your friends and family?

Shortbread cookiesI make the best shortbread in the world. I learned my Great Granny Snow’s secret recipe from my Aunt Wendy. Why Great Granny chose Aunt Wendy from among all her granddaughters to teach, and why Aunt Wendy chose me from among all her nieces to teach, is a mystery, but I believe it’s ‘cuz Aunty Wendy loved me the best! (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that, Aunt Wendy).

Now, there are two things about this recipe. One thing is that it is really all in the technique. I could give you the list of ingredients (even the super secret tip about one of the ingredients) and the instructions, but you wouldn’t be able to make these cookies. When my Aunt Wendy taught me this recipe, she showed me something about the dough that I have never told anyone and never written down. And it is the key to making the best shortbread in the world.

The second thing is – I don’t even like shortbread.


My first baked good in our new home

After a hectic weekend of getting my taxes done1, doing homework, watching the Canucks at a pub, and a crazy amount of unpacking, I decided this evening that it was high time that I christened our new kitchen with some Snow baking. Given that I’m freaking exhausted2, I went with something simple: chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate chip cookies

The secret to their deliciousness, I think, is the use of real butter, both white and brown sugar, and my own homemade vanilla extract! I wish you were all here to try one!

  1. By which I mean picking up the paperwork from my accountant, who did all the heavy lifting. []
  2. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that this is going to be a permanent state of being for me until my MBA program is over []


Christmas Bakestravaganza 2010

So remember last year how I cyber-baked with my family over the intertubes? Not this year! This year I got to do my baking in person!

Baking, and especially Christmas baking, is one of my fondest memories from childhood. Every year at Christmas time, my Aunt Wendy would come over to our house and bake with my mom, my sister and me. Over the years, various other people joined us for baking good times and we always had a blast AND made delicious treats to give out to people! Baking simultaneously in Toronto and Vancouver while chatting via Google Video last year was fun, but nothing beats baking together with the fam.

This year, my sister’s friend Daniel joined us. Daniel was an early childhood educator at the daycare my niece went to and later was a babysitter for her. And he’s a tonne of fun, so he graduated to friend status and when he mentioned to Nancy that he was going to be doing his Christmas baking alone this year, she invited him to join us. Of course, this made for five bakers – my mom, Nancy, Madeline, me and Daniel – all in one kitchen. And we each had three different things we planned to bake! So Nancy, ever the creative problem solver, recruited the oven of the next door neighbours for the afternoon!

In the end, we made 11 different items over a span of only 6 hours1! Here’s the summary:

Daniel made:
  • lemon squares
  • rolled oat chocolate hay bales
  • thumbprint cookies

Beth made:

  • surprise cookies
  • shortbread cookies

My mom made:

  • rugala
  • chocolate-filled snowballs
  • white chocolate and macademia nut cookies

Nancy made:

  • black pepper cheese crisps
  • triple chocolate sandwich cookies
  • egg nog knots

And here are the photos!

Baking supplies

Just *some* of the baking supplies for the day

Nancy and her cookies

Nancy and her chocolate sandwich cookies

Day 183

Me and my mom!

My mom, Nancy & Daniel

My mom, Nancy & Daniel

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Me and my niece!

Me and Madeline

Madeline baking

Madeline and me

  1. we started at about 2 pm and ended at 10 pm, but took a two hour break to hit The Friendly Greek for dinner. Because there was no way in hell any of us were going to be cooking any meals! []


CyberCookies ’09 – Success!

At noon today1, the first annual Snow CyberCookies bake-stravaganza ’09 began!  Five hours later, two kitchens were full of all sorts of baked goodness!

My sister, my niece and my mom baked up a storm in Nancy’s kitchen in Toronto – they made whipped shortbread, chocolate sandwich cookies, peanut butter cookies and spiced cashews2.  I made my famous shortbread, meringue snowflakes and chocolate mice!

Baking something for the first time, I find, never goes quite as planned.  My shortbread cookies, from a family recipe I’ve been using for about 20 years, are perfect, but the other two items didn’t turn out exactly as planned.

The mixture for the centre of the chocolate mice, which is made from sweetened condensed milk3 and melted chocolate, was far more gooey than it should have been, so I had to put the mice in the freezer to get them firm enough to coat in chocolate.  Also, the chocolate coating solidified pretty quick, so by the time I had coated all the mice, I only had enough time to get their candy eyes on before they were hardened – the were meant to have whiskers and noses too, but I just wasn’t quick enough for that4.  I still think they are pretty cute though.

Chocolate Mice

The meringue snowflakes, while more successful than my meringue ghosts, still didn’t turn out quite as nicely as I would have liked5.  I think I needed a slightly smaller tip for my piping dohickey6.

Meringue snowflakes, before baking:

Meringue snowflakes - before baking

Also, my oven seems to run hotter than it should, as I cooked the snowflakes according to the directions (at 200 degrees F.  It said for 1 hour, but I didn’t even leave them in that long) and they weren’t supposed to get browned, but, well, have a look:

Meringue snowflakes, after baking:

Meringue snowflakes - after baking

So, maybe not perfect, but they taste good, and that’s the most important thing, right?

And we all had a good time “hanging out” via Google Video Chat.  The only drawback – I really wanted to try those spicy cashews and chocolate sandwich cookies!  When is Google going to release its Google Teleporter?

  1. 3 p.m. Eastern []
  2. and probably a bunch of other things that I didn’t catch []
  3. It’s not really Christmastime until my mom says “You are going to cut your tongue on that!” when I lick the leftover sweetened condensed milk off the lid of the can.  Mmm, sweetened condensed milk []
  4. truly, I needed an extra pair of hands to do the decorating! []
  5. here’s a photo of what the meringue snowflakes are supposed to look like! []
  6. I’m not sure what you call it.  It’s not a decorating bag, but more like a tube that kinda looks like a big syringe that you use to pipe icing.  Does anyone know what those things are called? []


Cyber Cookies ’09

When we were little, my sister and I did a lot of baking with our mom.  At Christmastime, my Aunt Wendy would come over and we’d bake up a storm – cookies and squares and crazy concoctions from recipes in Canadian Living magazine.  I distinctly remember learning fractions in elementary school and thinking “this is SO EASY” because I’d already learned fractions in the kitchen, where everything is measured in 1/2s or 1/4s or 1/8ths of cups or teaspoons or tablespoons1 and if you want to double a recipe, or halve a recipe, you learn pretty quick how to deal with numerators and denominators.

As we got older, my sister and I both continued our love of baking and when we both had our own places and I still lived in Ontario, we’d go to one another’s apartments to do our Christmas baking today2.

Well, this year we’ve decided to resurrect our tradition of doing our Christmas baking together, despite the fact that we live thousands of miles apart.  So “together” in this case is being given a little assistance from the Internet, Skype and our respective MacBook Pros.  That’s right folks, I’m going to be baking at my house and Nancy & Madeline & my mom will be baking at Nancy’s house and the whole thing will happen on webcam!  While it’s not quite as good as in person3, it’s the best I’m going to get, so I’m going with it.

Thus far, my plans are to make:

  • my famous shortbread cookies, using my Great Granny’s secret recipe4
  • sugar cookies
  • chocolate mice
  • meringue snowmen5

Cyber Cookies ’09.
Saturday, December 19, 2009.
Toronto & Vancouver.

You know you are jealous.

  1. and I remember at one point thinking that a teaspoon was the metric “version” of a tablespoon in the same way that a kilometre is the metric “version” of a mile []
  2. one year we made a gingerbread village and another year we made a kick ass gingerbread Christmas living room scene, complete with fireplace, rocking chair, cat on a rug and a table with cookies & milk put out for Santa []
  3. I’m not going to be able to eat any of their fine wares! []
  4. Great Granny entrusted my Aunt Wendy with the recipe and Aunt Wendy, in turn, entrusted me with the recipe.  I make these cookies every year and people always rave about them.  The kicker, though, is that I don’t like shortbreak cookies! []
  5. mostly because I bought a cartoon of egg whites to make the Royal Icing to decorate the gingerbread cookies that I made this week (as I wanted to give baking to some people I knew I was going to see this week, I have to do some baking prior to CyberCookies ’09) and I have to do something with all the extra egg whites.  But also because I feel the need to vindicate myself after the slight misshapen meringue ghosts I made earlier this year []