Friday, December 9, 2011

Cookie dough

In case you haven't heard or read a report on this topic, apparently it was raw "ready to bake" cookie dough which caused so much illness recently--enough to send 36 people to the hospital. Now, I've been against pre-made cookie dough for a long time for a variety of reasons. One, the chemicals. Everything is preserved, processed, and stuffed with chemicals to make it seem "homemade" even after it's been in transit or on a store shelf for months at a time. Eww. But besides the "ick" factor, there's the ridiculousness of needing a convenience cookie. I mean, really? How many of us don't have time to make cookie dough? It's easy! No more than five minutes to mix up the dough, and you can do it while you're watching T.V. You're not really saving yourself any time because you still have to bake the darn things, without the fun part. Even better, when you make the dough yourself you can get your kids involved and spend time with them. How many people will let their small children handle the oven? Not many, because it's dangerous. But you'll let them pour a cup of sugar into the bowl, right? Crack a few eggs? How many of us remember doing that with our own parents and grandparents? Why on earth would you take that joy away from your kids? The whole concept is just absurd. It's convenience food without the convenience or the part of making cookies that's fun. The fact that people actually buy into the idea that they need pre-made dough makes me want to gnash my teeth.
My little brother came over last night for dinner and to watch "The Grinch". So I made cookies. They're whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, although I can't remember where I got the recipe. They're fine, but not great. I think I prefer my half white/half wheat plus oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. They're still somewhat healthy, but they don't taste like it. :)
The boy will come over again on either Sunday or Monday because I'm going to be making tons of cookies for the library's annual finals cookie give-away. We set out cookies, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and such for students to nibble on while they study. It's fun for us to do and every year we get many, many thanks from grateful students. Most of them say that having that little pick me up made what would have been an awful final seem just a little bit better. This year, I think I'm going to bring in some bread and butter, too, so that there's a non-sugary thing to eat.
Also this year, the boy and I won't make the same mistake as last year. I guess I doubled the recipe when I wrote it down. So not remembering that, we doubled the written recipe last year and panicked a little bit when we filled up my largest bowl and still needed to add seven cups of flour. We had to transfer about half of it to another bowl and still filled both of them. It was hard to stir. Between that, the two other (double) batches of cookies we made, and the gingerbread I made we were baking for about 6 hours. It was ridiculous, but at least it gave us something to laugh about! And we always put on Christmas movies in the background and speaking along with our favorite parts. "Merry Christmas--in jail!" With everything going on, we end up laughing the afternoon away. And after all, spending time with family is the best part of the holidays.
Tonight, Christmas caroling around campus and a gingerbread house contest! My friends and I do this every year. Shane doesn't join us for the caroling because he's a terrible singer so it's not fun for him. But the rest of us wander around to the dorms, family housing, and apartments on campus to sing Christmas songs and bring a little cheer to the darkest time of year. Afterward, we go to our friends' house for a gingerbread house making contest where everyone teams up and pulls two themes out of a hat. You have to use one, or both. Last year Shane and I took second place with our "Starship Enterprise escaping from a black hole". The gingerbread and frosting are made by our chef friend, and everyone brings a candy to share. I'll try to get some pictures.

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