Middle Minion came over to do some holiday baking. Now Middle Minion’s idea of baking involves things that come in a package and all you need to do is remove the plastic cover from the chicken and poke holes in the part covering the brownie.
He wanted to make chocolate chip cookies, rice crispy treats, “and maybe some fudge.” Yeah, I’m all over that. Yay.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: I loathe baking. I’m not good at it. I am easily frustrated when I’m working from the recipe and all of a sudden I discover I was supposed to be doing things in separate bowls about three steps ago. Recipes are not written for lazy cooks. Personally, I’d like important stuff written right above the list of ingredients.
“Get two bowls, big and small, because you’ll be mixing the dry stuff in the small bowl and the wet ingredients in the large bowl.” This is apparently done for no other reason than increasing the pile of dirty dishes exponentially. Yes, yes, I’m sure there is a valid reason for this other than the misuse of our cleaning resources, and Tam would be happy to explain them, but not to me because the last time she tried, she got mad when I stuck my fingers in my ears and kept saying, “la la la la, I can’t HEEEEAAARRRR you.”
So, it remains a mystery, and shall continue to be so because who cares?
Back to the kitchen. It took me two days to gear up to the big event. I griped and groused and carried on for quite some time, then got down to hauling all the crap out to make cookies. These were going to be regular cookies because there was no way I was going to attempt non-gluten cookies. No. Way.
I called my son to the kitchen, spoke to him the words “here’s the recipe. Here are the bowls. Make cookies.” I stayed close in case he needed help because I’m not THAT heartless, and wow, did he need help. His idea of measuring flour involved not stirring it first, not leveling it off because the measuring cup wasn’t full. There was fussing and squawking and a quick “do over.” Then he added the rest of the dry ingredients and we started on the not-dry ingredients (although, and he had a very valid point, sugar IS a dry ingredient, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying over my finger and me saying la la la la, I can’t hear yooooou”).
Then he got out the vanilla. We get a very high quality vanilla, so we measure it over the bowl so we waste nothing. He measured it and I said, “Ok, add it.” “Here?” he asked. “Yes, just dump it in.” So he did. He dumped it into the bowl with the flour.
“But you said--”
“I know, I know, my mistake. Don’t worry, it will be fine,” I promised.
I stuck the hand mixer into the wet ingredients in order to fluff the butter and sugar. The butter was really hard; I had just pulled it from the fridge, so it wasn’t easy. It took a long time to mix and there were several pieces of butter flying about the bowl and onto the front of Middle Minion’s shirt. Despite the difficulty I managed to get it done and we were able to add the dry ingredients.
He watched carefully as the dough thickened and he worried that it wasn’t looking right. But I picked up a small piece and pinched it to show him it was holding together just fine and it was now time to add the chocolate chips. The package was dumped into the dough and I handed my son a wooden spoon. “Stir it up, boy.”
And he did. And, according to him, it was good. It was so good, he took another sample. And another. “You do realize you’ll need to bake some of these, right?” “Oops.” He decided he preferred to make the pan cookie variety because it’s not such a pain in the ass. He spread the dough (the very sticky dough because I forgot to spray his hands with oil first) and we popped it into the oven.
Despite them being slightly burnt, he assured us they tasted great. We sat around for a bit, mulling over what else he wanted to make, when he decided he wanted to make more cookies. “Only this time,” he said, “I want to do it myself.”
“Ok,” I said with more than a little trepidation coloring my voice. “Let me know if you need any help.”
“I will,” he said. Moments later, we could hear the sounds of someone doing interesting things in the kitchen. Things like; swearing, grousing about something he needed being in the sink, cabinet doors and drawers being opened and closed while the incantation for finding things was uttered over and over.
“How’s it going?” I asked as I worked up the courage to see for myself.
“Great,” he answered, “I’m almost done.”
I walked into the kitchen just as he was about to put mixer to creation. Only the novice baker had added the chips with the dry ingredients. Granted, I could have just told him to use the wooden spoon (the one that was still in the sink waiting to be washed), but instead I said, “Dude, no. You added the chips at the wrong time.”
“But they’re dry, so I added them with the dry ingredients.”
“Is that how we did it the first time?”
He thought for a minute. “No?”
“I’ll show you why we don’t add them now. Give me the mixer.”
The cookies were again proclaimed excellent and less burnt. I will admit to being fully proud of my son for taking on the challenge of baking cookies.