Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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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 []