Friday, December 14, 2001

When I walked out to the living room this morning, my big orange tabby, Leo, was sitting, smug as you please, on the red crocheted runner on my mantel. I wish I had let him sit up there until my flash warmed up and I could have taken a picture. However, I was too concerned he not get into the habit of sleeping on the mantle, so I quickly chased him off.

It is a dark and rainy (not quite stormy) morning. On the bright side, I plugged in my Christmas tree lights, to help dispel the gloom. I will go out shortly to pick up a few more gifts and then come back to start studying once again. I've taken a break since giving my last lecture over a week ago.

On Wednesday, I baked three kinds of cookies, which more than fulfilled my cookie-baking quotient for the year. My church had a dinner on Wednesday night, which I had to miss because of my class, and I volunteered to bring cookies. I made whipped shortbread so I could try out my new cookie press. It was quite an ordeal learning how to use the press because it has a gear mechanism that needs to be lined up just so in order to work properly. Anyway, after throwing out the first pan, which got too dark, I eventually succeeded in baking very tasty, tree-shaped shortbread. My attempt to make my grandmother's date swirl recipe was not so successful. I learned 1) make sure the butter is very soft so that the dough is pliable enough to roll up without crumbling, and 2) roll out the dough in a couple batches. I ended up with an enormous roll that made giant cookies. They tasted OK, but I felt a little sheepish contributing not-very-pretty cookies for a dinner produced by veteran church dinner cooks. Finally, I made ranger cookies, which are straightforward drop cookies. They tasted good but are not exactly fancy Christmas cookies.

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