I should remember that true beauty has nothing to do with looks, and yet I am ashamed to admit that I underestimated because of a not perfect appearance. I was a fool.
Last Wednesday I baked Christmas cookies with Becky H. It was a very enjoyable day, but it was a considerable effort for both of us, and I frankly didn't think the end results would be worth it (we are not, after all, professional bakers). When all was done, out of the oven and divvied up into big ziploc bags, I basked in the glow of a nice day with a good friend, and figured that the people we gifted them to would appreciate them for our effort rather than for any intrinsic goodness. As has been noted, I was a fool.
Oh the recipients appreciate them alright, but not because of obligated regard for effort. They, and I, appreciate them because they are damn tasty! Store-bought cookies always lure me with their prettiness, but their taste never lives up to my expectations. The cookies we made--while a little more brown than we would have liked (the oven needs to be recalibrated and Dave has volunteered to step up to that plate)--burst with swirls of delicately complex flavor varying from a perfectly balanced key lime to a genuinely spicy gingerbread. The spritz butter cookies are awash with almond-infused butter. The peanut butter Hershey Kiss thumbprints have an underlying richness that the pretty store-bought peanut butter cookies never even approach. The Mexican wedding cakes are so chock-full of ground up pecans that their rich nut oil raises these little powdered sugar bombs from a dry, dusty cookie into the realm of the sublime. Even the anise crisps (I say "even" because I am not typically a friend of the anise), with their subtle aroma and bite provide a perfect finish as they round out the flavors of all the other cookies. Before really experiencing them I thought to myself that I should just have bought a bunch of Pepperidge Farm cookies, it would have been cheaper. Yes they would have been cheaper, but oh so not better. I was a fool.
Yesterday while I dressed the loom Dave finished the last batch I had not had time to make--Dave's Dreambars. The recipe is from a Christmas cookie book and really called "Dave's Dreambars". Maybe only someone name Dave could make them. My Dave's comment on them was that it was if space aliens had come down and put a monolith next to my grandmother's dreambars and they had evolved into a higher state of being. I think he means that they are damn tasty.
So, Becky, want to bake again next year?