I dedicate this post to my mothering and baking soulmate, Beta Mom.
Last night I attended a holiday party with my neighbor. I know, I know – a little too early to be going to Christmas parties, IMO, but I like the hostess, wanted the chance to catch up with my neighbor-friend and it was an Italian-themed holiday party! I’d be a fool to turn down tasty food, desserts and some vino! And I’m a quarter Italian, so I decided I would bake authentic Italian cookies to bring.
Susan Misstep #1: Wanting to endear herself to the hostess and party guests, Susan chose a time-consuming and labor intensive option she had never tried before instead of bringing a bottle of wine.
My mom is a very good cook and has an extensive library of cookbooks, so I felt confident embarking on my baking journey with her trusty Italian dessert cookbook in my hands. I selected two possible recipes, one for Biscotti di Pignoli (aka pine nut macaroons) and the other for Parma Chocolate cookies, both with few ingredients and only 5 steps to deal with.
Susan Misstep #2: Susan assumed the simpler the recipe, the more successful the outcome. Oh, how we laugh at her rationale a day later!
I decided I would make the macaroons because the recipe called for even fewer ingredients than the chocolate cookies, and I headed off to the grocery store. Unfortunately, the grocery store had just switched all the aisles around, so I was off my game from the start. I searched high and low for the almond paste for about 10 minutes, until I finally gave up and selected (from memory) the ingredients to make the chocolate cookies. But because I never leave well enough alone, I headed back to the bakery aisle one last time, discovered the almond paste in a box (not in a can like the author said) right where I had been looking. I walked out of the store with $20+ worth of ingredients for both types of cookies. Who said confectionery genius came cheap?
Susan Misstep #3: Ah, it should come as no surprise to you that Susan did not know anything about confectionery genius and therefore did not know what the hell she was talking about. In short, Susan wasted way too much time in the store and way too much money on people she didn’t even know. (We won’t even get into the fact that she never writes down everything she needs before going to the store, but this time that part worked out okay.)
One of the items I purchased to save time was a little carton of egg whites.
Susan Misstep #4: Susan decided to ignore the fine print on the back of the little carton because she had already dumped in the egg whites into the bowl with the other ingredients. The fine print went something like this:
Liquid egg whites are heated during the pasteurization process and therefore not recommended for meringues or angel food cake.
Susan Misstep #5: Rationalizing that she was very clearly not making meringues or angel food cake, Susan decided that the macaroons would come out just fine.
Unfortunately they did not. Instead of cute, puffy pine nut creations they came out flat as flat fucking almond paste pancakes.
(That’s a melted half stick of butter thrown on top of them in disgust.)
But I decided to charge forward and go to Plan B: the Parma Chocolate cookies.
Susan Misstep #6: You know what’s coming, right? You know that Susan should have left the Parma Chocolate cookies right where they belonged — in the recipe book. But she didn’t.
No, she didn’t. These sad-looking things came out hard as rocks, like dried-up, crumbling poop, rivaling Beta Mom’s snickerdoodoos for the coveted Scariest Looking Cookie of the Year award. (That’s raspberry jam in the middle, by the way. That makes it all better, huh?)
Needless to say, all I was left with 2 1/2 hours after my trip to the grocery store was a big mess to clean up.
I ended up bringing a bottle of wine.