December 9, 2010

Cookie Weekend Revisited

While Sophie rocked her cleft surgery last weekend, the rest of the Flynn/Carlton clan headed north to Horseshoe for Cookie Weekend 2010.  CW pre-dates me.  I understand the tradition to have started in Kathy's kitchen.  It has evolved into a cabin weekend.  We arrive to find it transformed.  Holiday tunes are playing throughout the place.  Running the width of the blue room are the dining room and blue room tables.  Down the center of each, the basic ingredients for any and every holiday delight beacon, just waiting to be incorporated into something sugary and sweet. There are piles of cookie sheets and cooling racks.  Amid them sprinkles and frosting tubes and stencils and paper wrappers.  Each cookie weekend participant brings and executes two to three recipes.  All goodies are shared among all participants.  At the end of the weekend, we all roll home, pants loosened and in a sugar-induced coma.  It's bliss.  Pure bliss.  

Without fail, I make the caramels.  That in mind, Kath resurrected the cookies in her kitchen tradition.  Cookie Weekend 2010 was revisited mid-week.  I attempted to make caramel.  It came out rock hard.  There were just a few distractions.  The result was that the cream was omitted from caramel batch number one.  With Channing and Anderson underfoot and begging to help, it's no wonder something went awry.  Or perhaps it was the constant need to pause at the kitchen table to nibble on Sophie's edible little toes.  

Since Tuesday, two more attempts were made.  Batch number two looked more like burnt cheese on a pizza than caramel.  Perpetual vanilla and vanilla extract lend different properties to the fine art of candy making.  The former is not compatible with flavoring caramels.  The butter separates from the mixture, resulting in one fine mess.  

The third time being the charm, WM found himself cutting and wrapping caramel after caramel after caramel.  An entire gallon sized Zip Loc bag now sits on our kitchen counter.  Unfortunately, I heed its call all too often, pausing to savor a buttery sweet bite more than I should.  

Then there is the saying 'a watched pot never boils'.  Well, when watching that pot that took far too long to reach firm ball stage, Channing took the liberty of doing a project of his own.  He found an ink pad.  Being brown, he must have thought it was chocolate as it was all over his face and in his mouth lickety split.  

Thankfully, it was non-toxic and washable.  I'd finally given up on getting the perfect holiday card photo of the kiddies.  I'm all for sending out a card that depicts where we are in this moment.  However, I may have had to draw the line at that.  The message I'd like to convey is more Happy Holidays and less Let's Run Amok.  

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