What is life without a little excitement? A little racing against the clock and defying even your expectations about how much you can cram into one evening? Picture me, a couple nights ago, fervently hoping I could get my last-minute caramels done and in the pan before I tumbled into bed for the night. I usually don’t wait until late in the evening to make candy (especially since it tends to be so darn messy!), but this was the only time it’d work for my schedule and still give the caramels enough time to set before slicing them up. Let’s just say that boiling sugar and a half-asleep Casey is an interesting combination. Thankfully it didn’t result in disaster, either to myself or my kitchen. lol. However, the caramels themselves did not turn out as expected… I’m not sure if this was operator-error or just fate, but they had to be scrapped at the last moment, which was disappointing…
The boxes have been assembled and the tags finished. I decided to drop the peppermint meringues I wanted to make; those were my “if I have time/energy/inclination” goodies to make, so I’m not in the least bit dissapointed. Because frankly, the boxes are stuffed to the brim:
I think that should keep all the recipients happy and occupied for a bit, no? As usual, I probably made too many cookies, but at least this year I don’t think we’ll have cookies in the freezer until the summer… lol. I think my favorite were the sugar cookies–I just really enjoy icing and decorating them. Although my decorating is certainly not super fancy, it’s fun and I got to add sugar glitter to everything this year!
One thing that became woefully apparent with this year’s goody-making is that I lack several essential tools in my kitchen. If I had to do it all over again, I think I’d entirely overhaul what we added to our wedding gift registry several years ago… There are a lot of things I’ve found that I really would have used more than others. Gadgets like a cookie scoop–or several in various sizes. Scooping cookies the old fashioned way with two spoons makes for exciting results after they spread and bake. The black and white cookies ended up slightly mismatched and varying sizes, despite my valiant attempts to scoop out “standardized” bits of dough. I also need a candy thermometer. The first year I made candy (tasty marshmallows), I figured I could get away with just using the old ball method. However, considering I’ve continued to make candy–and not just at Christmastime–I think a thermometer would be a wise investment. Plus they don’t take up a lot of space! (My usual reason for not getting whatever kitchen gadget is currently tugging at my pocketbook.) Finally, more mixing bowls. The heavy, earthenware sort that don’t skitter across the counter top easily. I like the metal bowls that I got from my grandmother when she downsized–they are great for things that need to be chilled quickly or working as a double boiler–but they are lightweight. Which presents accident-prone me with some problems! lol.
So tell me: what are your favorite kitchen gadgets? Particularly for dessert and cookie making?