Neither Hubby nor I had realized how quickly the holidays have been slipping up on us! We haven’t even begun to think about getting our annual haul of cards off, although we did manage to get our Christmas packages for friends and family into the post office before they closed yesterday–us and about 20 other poor slobs falling behind the holidaze. Our tab came to nearly $60. This is a woman who remembers 3¢ stamps and penney postcards!
After my fiasco from baking bread a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t had the tools to begin our traditional baking until today. (You’ll understand as you read further below.) My baking list varies from year to year, but always includes several batches of Pizelles, several of my mother’s fruit cakes which defy all the jokes about fruit cakes because it’s scrump-dili-ishous, and a batch or two of Hubby’s favorite cookie bar none, Chewy Noels. For the recipes, go to my Recipe page (see pages at top or sidebar to the right).And there are a few other delicious offerings I’ve discovered recently that I may have to include this year. They are: Hyacinth’s Everything Cookies and My Favorite Cookie from Childhood and Beyond from The Pioneer Woman Cooks! These recipes include beautiful pictures that show you how everything is supposed to look as you go along. They’re beautifully done, and worth viewing if only for the cheerful writing and pictures.
A quick followup on my breadmaking attempt from a couple of weeks ago: Today Hubby and I picked up my 20-plus-year-old Kitchen Aid standing mixer from the Appliance Repair Center where we left it for repair after I broke it making those four loaves of bran bread. Even though I cut the dough in half to knead (11 cups of flour total, or 5 1/2 cups per load), it was still too much, and I had to hold the mixer down on the countertop because it was trying to walk off the counter without finishing the job! (Confounded old contraption I have to say, as I’ve taken good care of it all these 20-odd years, and haven’t worked it too hard at all–long vacations in between use and all that!)
My daughter does a lot of her own bread baking and I’d watched her enough so that I thought I’d recognize when the dough was “kneaded” enough, even though that could be 10 minutes per loaf. I was prepared to hold that dang thing down as long as I had to in order to make that bread perfect!
Long story short, about six minutes in, the dough hook just stopped moving and grooving, even though the motor kept whirring. It was stuck tighter than a tick on a boar hog. I couldn’t even get the dough hook to come loose no matter what I tried. I knew I’d messed something up for sure! The worst part was that I had to finish up by hand kneading those four loaves of bread.
In spite of it, the bread turned out okay–a lot denser than store bought, but it tastes good. We’ve been eating off them ever since. Have to finish them! I figure, with the cost of the flour and yeast and butter, plus the cost to repair the mixer ($120 when $150 would have bought a brand new one just like the one I killed, but the repair shop lady said those old machines were made a lot better than the new ones!) those loaves cost us around $35 each!
The same day I did two other bad things. I broke the top off the pressure cooker making bean soup at the last minute since I was so busy all afternoon making bread (!). Hubby thinks he may be able to fix it — again! Second, because there were so many big bowls and things to fit into the dishwasher, I made a scratch on Hubby’s favorite stove-top grill plate used that morning to make breakfast.
Now I’ve diddled and piddled long enough. It’s time to get back in that kitchen. If I break anything today, I’ll know it’s time that I retire from the kitchen for sure!