You know I love women.
I do my best to be better than I truly am when I am in their presence.....
But I don't know if I will ever understand them.
Girls are so different than boys, they seem to live their lives in cycles, while boys just methodically embrace routine.
Have I mentioned that Sue McGleno is a raccoon?
I kid you not, each year around this time my wife loses complete focus. Its as if she is hypnotized.
Dangle a shiny object in front of her face in December, and she'll ditch me quicker than if Derek Jeter asked her to prom.
Women also do other things I don't understand.....
When they go shopping for clothing, not only do they touch the garments that they are interested, but they also touch every other textile hanging from the rack.
If a man asks a woman why she partakes in such behavior....the question is usually answered with an icy stare.
Then there's aisle #8 at Super Target, any woman that I've ever accompanied to that store falls victim to their impulse items.
Tic-Tacs, 5 Hour Energy, Bottle of Dasani, People Magizine, Gift cards.
They always buy 2 or 3 of these, but once again, they seem compulsed to touch them all.
So anyway, its a couple nights back and Sue McGleno is twisting one of a thousand strings of lights around the silver Christmas tree, over the years I've learned once this process starts, her true desire is for me to stay out of the way.
The Christmas tree is a wifes domain, if I've learned nothing else......
So while she frolicks in joy, I sit off at a safe distance occaisionally lifting my head every once in awhile to belch out grunts of approval.
Then "BANG" my Droid goes off ruining this "special mood of intamacy" that can only be achieved when a man fakes with all of his might that he cares.
"Hello - Klecko, whats up?"
"Hi Dan, this is Dean from XXXXXXXX, do you have a few seconds to answer some cookie questions?"
Dean runs a small company in Capitol City that does lawn care, tree removal and any other type of landscaping stuff that you need.
I don't even remember how he and I hooked up, but I do remember how impressed I was the first time he and I strolled across my yard inspecting different future projects.
Dude knew every flower,shrub, plant and tree on the lot.
The part that impressed me the most was how he knew the Latin name of each species, and when he rattled them off, you just had to be there, dude wasn't trying to impress.
He simply is a shrub geek, and I kinda dig that.
Anyways, a couple of years ago he came out to the Minnesota State Fair and watched me doing a demo, and apperently I said something to the audience like.......
"And you know what the best part of baking is? It's not conquering the puzzle, and its not even sampling the wares. The best part is humbly giving a fresh baked product to somebody in need. You'll never understand the impact of this until you try it."
So Dean actually had his employees gather at his house just prior to Thanksgiving, and the lot of them banged out a bunch of pies. Dean had these guys on the clock while doing this and wrote the expenses off as a team building thingy.
He claimed that the crew whooped and hollered, but the cheers calmed down once they starting delivering they pies to clients that they thought might be in need.
Dean explained that hugs were issued, tears welled up, everybody involved were better for it, and truth be told....I think they got addicted to this feeling, because now old boy was on the other end of the phone asking questions about black strap molasses so he could make gingerbread men with the boys.
Hah......there is no greater ministry on earth than baking.
Politicians, Preachers and Punks.......if you want to have impact.....
Shut Up and Bake!
Later in the evening however, I receaved a text that the cookies were trickier than anticipated.
Wow....these guys tackled pie, but got sidetracked by gingerbread men?
I suppose, if you havent made cookies before, there are about 1682 short cuts, tips and tricks.
Cookie and ingredient technoligy is always changing as well, so with that, let me respectfully submit some helpful hints to those of you baking christmas cookies for the first time.
CHRISTMAS COOKIE TIPS -
The following is some of the baking equipment you will need -
Dry Measuring Cups (metal is best)
Wet Measuring Cups (I prefer glass)
You can save some serious cash buying in bulk.
Also once you start your bake, make sure that ingredients are room temperture.
If you use nuts, roasting time depends on the size of the nut, but 350 (F) for 9-12 is a standard.
Spices should be fresh. If you are going through the trouble of having a great baking session, don't use last years spices to save a couple of bucks. spices lose their potency at a rapid pace.
Preheat 20 minute before baking.
Remember that most ovens fluxtuate in temperture from 25-50 degrees, so an oven thermometer is a great investment.
Open the door as little as possible, if you have a light bulb in the oven.....utilize that, everytime you open that door...heats flys out.
Use the middle rack if possible. You will get your best heat there. However, if you have a ton of cookies to get through, place 2 pans in, but make sure at the 1/2 point that you rotate the pans, but be swift.....you don't want to let the heat out.
Other Tips -
What cookie pans you use are essential.
The old school gangsta's love the thin cookie sheet with no walls, it gives the most uniformed heat, but that heat moves quick and is intense. The older I get, the more I find myself kicking it with the new school, I'm using thicker pans and implementing 2 sheets of partment.
Either way is OK, but you'll need to get familiar with your process.
Oh yeah....if you are going to do a lot of cookies in on bake, have extra pans. It is a sin against the Cookie God's to place cookie dough on a pan that still is retaining heat from the last batch.
Good luck folks and Merry Christmas.