Baking Education

It’s funny looking at all these recipes and realizing that whether I liked it at the time or not, the culinary education I received in baking people pay a lot to learn now. The three of us were not so willing sous chefs to my mom’s cookie juggernaut.

I found some notes of hers in the recipe file about making all the cookies. Her personal best was the year she made 34 varieties of cookies. I remember that year because it was the only year she made some things. I remember a sandwich cookie that I loved that she decided it was too much trouble to make again but it was really good. I guess at some point some one asked her for one favourite recipe of the family and she said she couldn’t because everyone had a different favourite cookie or two or three.

I remember feeling like an organ grinder’s monkey turning the nut grinder over and over again and getting in trouble one year for singing Pop Goes the Weasel over and over again. Just when you would think you had finished she’d say, “Oh now you have to grind these. These have to be finely done.” And the batch before had just been coarsely ground. We ground every nut I think except cashews. Pecans for the Pecan Balls, Pistachios and Brazil Nuts for Twin Nut Wonders. Shelling Walnuts for the perfect halves for the top of Chocolate Nuggets. Filberts for some cookie I can’t find the recipe for. Almonds for a hell of a lot of them. One cookie had a blanched almond on the top and it was great fun to have to squirt the almond out of its husk.

We learned when to use the mixer and how to add things to it so you didn’t end up looking like a snowman. How to cream things into butter and how to separate eggs. I know to dust my surface for rolling out dough with flour so it won’t stick. We learned so much just by doing it truly amazes me. I became a good baker because of her and her mother and grandmothers and grandfather. I have all these recipes that have been handed down must from person to person. Very few from a book. Now that I will never have children to pass these on to I’ll just have to pass them on to you. All are well tested and all are favourites. So enjoy!

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