Sunday, December 6, 2009
It’s Beginning To Smell A Lot Like Christmas: Banana Drop Cookies & More Apple Butter
This week was all about Christmas decorations and finishing my holiday shopping. I attempted to extend my creative courageousness outside of the kitchen and put together a window box display with evergreen branches, pine cones and berries. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome.
A sudden deep freeze has descended upon Minnesota (it was 12 degrees when I got up this morning) so it was a good weekend to stay inside. My first goal was to find extra storage for all the new kitchen equipment I’ve acquired as a result of this project. My kitchen is a small step up from a galley kitchen. It’s tiny. I have 8.75 square feet of useable counter space. There is an additional 5 square feet, but it’s currently taken up by a microwave because the one above my oven decided it no longer wanted to work. I also have a small table that usually becomes the staging area for ingredients before I begin to cook.
This weekend, I dragged out a set of old bookshelves, moved around some furniture in my office/library room and set up a Found Recipe Box area. Hopefully it helps relieve my tiny kitchen from some of the extra burden it has been carrying the past few weeks. One of my favorite additions to the shelves is a card I got from some friends who moved out to the East Coast last fall. They are big fans of the blog and encouraged me to “keep up the shenanigans in the kitchen” because they love to read about my adventures. I keep trying to convince them to move back so they can share in my adventures, but so far I have been unsuccessful.
When it’s cold out, warm cookies always sound good so I decided to try the Banana Drop Cookies. While I was mixing up the dough I got a phone call from Justin, one of the friends who moved away. He was in town and wanted to swing by to say hello. I told him it was perfect timing because by the time he got here, the first batch of cookies would be coming out of the oven. When he arrived at our house, Murphy was literally shaking with excitement. Our friend Justin is one of Murphy’s best friends – I think it’s because he always seems to be dressed up when he comes to our house and Murphy just can’t resist adding a layer of gold hair to everything Justin is wearing. Lucky for Murphy, Justin likes dogs.
While we were catching up, the timer rang and I pulled the first batch of cookies from the oven. I wasn’t sure what to expect because the dough was really sticky. The recipe said to add extra flour if needed and I added an additional ¼ cup, but it didn’t reduce the stickiness. The cookies are dense and cake-like and I think Justin described them best when he said they “are like scones that don’t crumble when you bite into them.” But they are delicious banana nut scone-like cookies. Everyone gave them a thumbs up.
Sadly Justin wasn’t able to stay long so I packed up a bag of cookies for him to take home and tried one more time to convince him to move back. I was, yet again, unsuccessful. But hopefully the cookies were a nice reminder of Minnesota and a tasty treat for the flight home.
I also decided to make another batch of apple butter this weekend. I got a new official canner with a jar rack from Fleet Farm so I wouldn’t burn my fingers. Fleet Farm is awesome, it’s like Target except you can also buy building supplies, deer urine (I was horrified by that until I learned it’s for hunters) and horse saddles (this will come in handy when my dream of owning a horse – specifically a Friesian – comes true). Plus, all of their pet supplies are a lot cheaper than the big pet supply stores. It, like Target, also seems to have a $25 cover charge because I don’t think we’ve ever left the store with a bill cheaper than that.
The canner worked like a dream. And the added benefit of making apple butter is that it makes the whole house smell like Christmas. Something about the combination of cinnamon and nutmeg just reminds me of Christmas. While Murphy kept vigil by the mouse house he discovered outside and my husband watched football, I lit the Christmas tree, turned on Christmas music, and took a deep breath full of the smell of Christmas while I contemplated all the baking I need to do this week. There's a cookie exchange, my husband has a pot-luck at work, and my husband’s birthday is this weekend (he got to choose his birthday cake from the box). It will be an adventurous, sweets-filled week! And since we are going to get snowed in on Tuesday (6-12 inches was the last I heard…yuck) it will be the perfect time to stay in the kitchen and bake.