Once again I have missed the Post a Blog A Day Month. Too busy for that. In addition to running the inn and my volunteer work, George and I have recently – 4 days ago – become first time grandparents. London Harper ( last name omitted to protect the innocent) was born on December 5th. I flew out to be there when our beautiful granddaughter was born. I returned on Thursday evening, spent Friday at the inn and drove to Phoenix on Saturday to spend 5 days taking care of my mother who had fallen and broken her leg. All of this travel would be a piece of cake if it weren’t for the fact that Christmas is less than three weeks away and not a single cookie has been made.
I decided that if I was going to spend 5 days in the Phoenix area, I may as well be productive. No law says I have to make my cookies in Corrales. So, in addition to packing clothes for my car trip across the state of New Mexico, through the mountains of Flagstaff and on to my mom’s, I also made a list of everything I would need to pack to make the cookies at her place.
Let me explain that Christmas cookie making is no small endeavor. I usually make a variety of cookie types that total about 75 dozen. Gingerbread men (and women!), the family favorite anise cookies that get rolled, cut out and frosted, and two kinds of cookies made from a dough made with almond paste. So packing up for this trip required a well executed plan. I began by assembling all of the ingredients. And I left nothing to chance. Flour, cake flour, almond paste, baking soda, granulated sugar, confectioners sugar, ginger, cinnamon, ground allspice, ground cloves, vanilla, two kinds of Hershey’s Kisses (milk and dark chocolate), shortening and powdered egg whites all went into a bag. Another bag contained all of the items necessary for decorating the cookies, colored sugars, sprinkles, etc. Unsalted butter traveled in a cooler. It’s not that I couldn’t buy these things in Phoenix, it’s just that I didn’t know how much time I would have to shop for ingredients, so better safe than sorry. Of course I did forget the all important candied fruit for one of the family favorites and it took a trip to two stores before it could be located. Suddenly planning ahead and transporting the ingredients did not seem so silly.
But it wasn’t just ingredients that got transported. Those of you that read my blog on my Dad’s memorial dinner know that my mom has a limited set of kitchen tools. Don’t get me wrong; her kitchen is fairly well equipped. A Kitchen Aid stand mixer is not one of her tools. And I knew I would never get any of these various doughs made without a heavy duty stand mixer. My mom has one of those small hand held mixers – the kind that folds at the first sign of more than one cup of flour. So I knew my mixer was making the trip. George loaded the car for me – he stayed at the inn to take care of guests – placing it on the floor behind the drivers seat. After a moment or two of consideration he decide that it really should be belted in on the back seat – just in case I was in an accident. So down the road I went with my trusty Kitchen Aid heavy duty mixer belted into the back seat on the drivers side. And I must admit it made the perfect travelling companion – never once did it backseat drive or ask “Are we there yet?” And by the time I return home on Thursday my trusty companion will have traveled over 1,000 miles with me. Nothing like the strong silent type to keep you company!