Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cookie Magic

Yes, Virginia, there is a Mrs. Claus. What else could explain what happened in my kitchen over the past week? Since I swore off baking more than the essential cookies (hmm, there's an interesting twist of language in itself), where did the rest of these treats come from?

I'll admit to the pizzelles, to the cherry-almond biscotti, to the chocolate chip cookies. I'll confess that I was swayed by America's Test Kitchen's "Better Biscotti" and had to test it to see if it was in fact better than our traditional "biscutts." Then there were the two batches of Penzey's gingersnaps after Gary reminded me that we purchased beet syrup when we were in Germany, and we wanted to see if they were better with good old American molasses or the German stuff (the taste off didn't work because I couldn't remember which batch was which).

But where did all the other cookies come from? Who made the snowflakes decorated with royal icing and candy pearls? Who made the chocolate-coconut-pecan macaroons? Who bought Hershey's kisses and made the peanut butter blossoms? Who made the candy-cane striped peppermint meringues? Who made the Earl Grey tea shortbread? Who made the brazil nut/toffee cookies? the chocolate chip meringues? the toffee? the homemade granola? There is no other explanation: it must have been Mrs. Claus. She must have hitched a ride with Rudolph and come in through the chimney to use the ingredients that were just hanging out in my kitchen. She must have camped out in the guest room for the past week, getting away from the chaos at the North Pole, and she baked to pay us back for our unwitting hospitality. I mean, who could stand the racket of thousands of elves hammering and yammering? I suspect that Santa must get a little testy as the big night approaches and he sees the sheer volume of toys that even magic will not complete in time. Mrs. Claus can be excused from wanting a break from his anxiety. I suspect that she arranges a mini-get away every year about this time. I just happened to be the lucky recipient of her gratitude this year.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

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