I think you will only find one post so far where I have cooked up a sweet treat, even then it was at my mom’s house in Minnesota. I guess you could count the Pumpkin Bread and the Zucchini Bread, I am now up to three posts… I just don’t do much baking at all (much to my husbands disappointment!)
I have mentioned the culinary herb group I am involved in and when one of the members suggested that we do a cookie exchange, I thought that sounded pretty good. I know my husband would be very pleased to have me come home with oodles of cookies. The idea was to bake “memory” cookies – a cookie that you have grown up baking with your family or grandparents.
I don’t seem to have any “memory” cookies that I can think of. Let me rephrase that, I have many memories of cookies, just can’t think of one that I want to spend time making specifically for Christmas. Joanna over at Zeb Bakes inspired me with her post on cardamom peanut brittle. I figured since these cookies were for the culinary herb group, why not get creative. Making something like peanut brittle with cardamom – I knew the group would get a kick out of that. So I rounded up a recipe on line and started gathering my supplies. I revised a few things, combining a few recipes and also decided to use just peanuts for the nuts in the brittle. Also, I substituted honey for the corn syrup. Here is one of the recipes I found to use.
I needed to make 12 dozen batches of “cookies” and I wasn’t sure how much one batch of peanut brittle would make so I set off to make just one batch and see what it looked like in size when it was done. Let me tell you, the cardamom has a heavenly scent (to me at least) and I wished I would have had some orange zest to go with it, but alas I just needed to move on. My “cookies” needed to be ready for a Wednesday night exchange and it was Monday after all.
Things where moving right along. I have a few stainless steel pizza pans I was going to use and I generously and liberally buttered them up (I look back at this step and realize that is one of the things I would do differently now! – parchment) more on that later.
I have the sugar and honey in the pan heating up and I have added ground cardamom at this stage. Again, a wonderful smell. I did not use the candy thermometer on the first batch (should have done that I guess!)
All was going well. Heating. Stir stir stir. Add nuts. Pour onto pans. Set aside to cool.
Move onto next batch. Heating. Stir stir stir. Pour onto pans. Set aside to cool.
Now I figure out that I don’t have enough pans and this stuff takes a while to cool and harden (or never harden in the case of batch 1). I figure out I am never going to et enough peanut brittle cooled and packaged by the time I need it. I realize I need to switch gears. I start looking for the recipe for the Mexican Wedding Cookies. I had just gotten from my friend Sharon out in Palm Springs, CA. I CAN’T FIND IT ANYWHERE. I just had it, seriously, I had it two days ago when I made out my grocery list. Geez! So I make the panic phone call to her. “Call me when you get home from work! I need to get your recipe AGAIN! Call me! I have to make 12 dozen cookies by Wednesday!!!” I know I could have found 200 recipes on line, but I really wanted Sharon’s recipe.
By the time she called, I had managed to get the peanut brittle off the one cookie sheet. The second batch hardened up better than the first batch and I was able to get most of it chipped off one pan and only half off the other. From batch #1, I still had one pan completely covered with a gooey mess. Even after placing it in the refrigerator it wouldn’t budge. Batch #1: Soft, Sticky and Stuck! Batch #2: Hard as a Rock stuck!
After relaying my peanut brittle experience to Sharon she asks me if it is damp or humid or rainy? Ah, Ya – it has been drizzling for 3 days, the fog was so low I couldn’t see out my windows to the street. So, ya, it was just a bit humid out (like 100%). She laughed and said “fudge and peanut brittle – don’t make those when there is humidity in the air” Oh, great. As she continued to chuckle at me, she rattled off her Mexican wedding Cookie recipe to me from memory. I was now armed with Sharon’s Mexican Wedding Cookie recipe (again) and will start again fresh in the morning. (that would be part II)
Don’t touch that dial…
Don’t change the channel…