Category Archives: Cookies

Sweet Snob

I love desserts!  Wait.  Let me qualify that.  I love homemade desserts.  Huge difference, right?  Of course, you may be one who couldn’t care less where something sweet comes from.  Nope, a package from the store or made from scratch at home doesn’t matter.  All you care about is the fact that you’ve got something on-hand to satisfy that craving when it suddenly shows up on your radar.  Or maybe you’re like my brother.  He has never really had a “sweet tooth” (I’m sure you’ve heard that saying before).  For the most part, if something sweet is on the table, he can take it or leave it–even if it’s homemade.  I don’t get that.  I’m still praying for him and his affinity for sweets, but in all these years, I don’t think it has helped any.  Except for the fact that he does seem to enjoy his wife’s homemade desserts.  So maybe she has become that Superman’s kryptonite.  Hmmm…..Maybe those prayers have been working!

Myself, I tend to be a “Sweet Snob”.  If something isn’t homemade, I typically turn my nose up at it (unless I haven’t had something sweet in a long time and what’s available at that moment is the only option for me).  I have noticed, however, that the older I have gotten, the more snobbish I have become when it comes to sweets.  I’ll bet my wife is to blame!  She is a magician in the kitchen, hands down.  But in the last 14.5 years of being married to her, she has made some absolutely incredible edibles when it comes to desserts.  So now, at this point of my life, I usually don’t touch anything unless it’s homemade–no matter how long it’s been or what’s currently available.  If the only desserts to be had are store-bought cookies, pies, cakes or what-have-you, I will usually leave them alone and just wait until I can have the real thing.  Might not be for a while, but when I finally get it….oh, let’s just say that people put “Better-Than-Sex” in the name of their desserts for a reason.

I do need to mention here that my wife’s magic in the kitchen with desserts has usually been what has led to the “Bethisms” that I told you about before.  That being said, she learned her craft from her Mom (who, for a couple of years, made me a homemade turtle cheesecake for my birthday that was beyond description).  So when I get a really good homemade dessert in front of me, my eyes dilate and everything goes into slow motion.  I’m like a connoisseur, swishing cake or pie or cookie around in my mouth (really hard to do since it’s not wine)–trying to pick out each ingredient (how much of each was used, when they were manufactured, where each one came from,  whether it was raining or sunny the day they were harvested, which ones were organic), when the dessert was put together, what temperature it was baked at and for how long–the usual connoisseur-type habits that befall an individual who appreciates such delicacies.

So I have no problem admitting to someone that I am a Sweet Snob.  It is with pride in my craft that I bow to such a name as that.  My brother can relate.  He’s a Coffee Snob.  Maybe we’ll talk about that sometime soon….

Christmas Cookie Mahem

I suppose it’s probably the same in your household.  The Christmas lights are up….the tree has been put securely in place….(ahem)….next would have to be the annual making of the family-favorite Christmas cookies.

So what is that for you?  Cut-out cookies with lots of frosting in all kinds of colors?  Sugar cookies?  Mexican wedding cookies?  Snickerdoodles?  Candy cane cookies?  Molasses cookies?  Oh, man, the molasses cookies….

Just about every Christmas during my childhood, my Mom would decide to make a molasses cookie recipe that my Dad absolutely loved–and my brother and I hated (which says a lot when you consider that usually almost any kind of a cookie recipe will leave a kid drooling at the smell and anticipated taste of said baked cookies).  I don’t remember everything that went into this recipe, but I have very distinct memories of my parents buying those nasty colored fruit bits that go in fruit cake and lots of molasses.  Mom had these really old wooden bowls that she loved to use for things like this and would fill the biggest one with a double-batch of this molasses cookie recipe.  She would let it sit for a day or two to let all of the flavors meld and then she’d start baking them up.

The smell of these cookies baking was….well….pungent.  I like molasses cookies.  But these were–shall we say–intense.  Every year I would try to convince myself that I could handle eating them (what kid in his right mind refuses  a fresh hot cookie from the oven?  Especially when enough time has passed that he forgets just how much he hates that candied fruit?).  Those cookies had so much molasses in them that they were almost black, which worked very well for hiding all of the red, green and yellow bits of fruit hiding in each one, just waiting to explode with nauseous viciousness on the unsuspecting taste buds of an innocent child such as myself.  I would try my best to find one with the least amount of fruit bits showing, but it was a gamble on what I would find once I bit into it.  Then my Mom would frost some of them.  I love frosting!  So I already was faced with the obvious problem that none of these cookies had enough frosting on them to sustain my taste buds for any length of time.  Besides, I knew that the frosting would do something for hiding the taste of those vile, evil bits of colored nastiness.  But that only went so far.

I never did develop a taste for those.  And year after year I would inevitably try.  I’m devoted like that.  So my Mom made up for it by baking up some amazing cut-out cookies with an amazing recipe (that my wife still uses every December) and lots of wonderful frosting in plenty of holiday colors.

Merry Christmas to me!

Bethism #2

So the other Bethism that my wife likes to periodically repeat occurs in the kitchen and usually involves the use of her KitchenAid mixer.

Long ago, we not only bought one of these fine machines but also purchased the “splash guards” that fit the top of its mixing bowl.  They’re apparently handy for preventing ingredients from flying up out of the bowl and attaching themselves to your face, hair, clothing and any objects in the immediate vicinity.  We wouldn’t know, though, because all they have done in our family is sit around and collect dust.  Whenever either one of us grabs the mixer, we always set the guards aside, figuring we really aren’t going to need them.  After all, what could possibly happen?

Enter my wife, stage right.

She is very good at what she does in the kitchen!  She had a great teacher in her mother as my wife grew up, and she has learned many tricks of the trade over the years that we’ve been married.  But whenever I know she is going to do something that involves the mixer, my antennae is up, alert to any peculiar sounds emanating from either her or her equipment as she works her mojo in her kitchen.

The most recent event occurred about a year and a half ago, probably involving Christmas cookies.  I was in the other room and heard a whoop from the kitchen.  I had a feeling that I knew what had just happened as I made my way to her domain with phone camera in hand.  Sure enough, I entered the kitchen to see her standing in front of the mixer with flour and miscellaneous ingredients all over her front.  I found out from her that she dropped one of the attachments in the bowl as it was running (I later realized that I never thought to find out why or how this happend).  I looked down on the floor and there’s dough and flour splayed out in a perfect “V”, an arm of it spread out on either side of where she was standing.  Then I looked up.  The same V-shaped splay of dough and flour was cast acrossed the ceiling, the dough hanging in suspended strings of floury goodness as it spread out from the location of the mixer.  It was a masterful display of Bethism finesse and prowess if ever I saw it!  So I promptly took pictures and video to record this, her most daring and artistic Bethism to date.

(I still have the pictures and videos of these events for promotional purposes.  They are not for public use as of this juncture, but for a fee, I could let you “borrow” them….)