Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Holiday Baking Frenzy

I mentioned the Holiday Baking Frenzy that grips our house this time of year in an earlier post, and it bears some explanation, especially since I'm just an innocent bystander.

Each year, starting about Halloween, the Adorable Husband starts to BAKE. And bake and bake and bake. Loaves of bread, hundreds of sugar cookies, cakes, rosettes, lefse, fudge. We go through pounds and pounds of butter, somewhere near 50 pounds of flour, and enough decorating sugar to cover the lawn like snow. It's quite astounding.

And quite messy. For the month on either side of Christmas, the kitchen is covered in a fine layer of flour. It's everywhere. He's a very good baker, but the catastrophe that he inflicts on the kitchen is amazing. I know it's an old and hackneyed joke that when men cook they use every pot, every pan, every utensil they can find..and then leave everything on the counter. Well, he does clean up the pots and pans and stuff, but I'm pretty sure he uses most of them. Luckily we have a big dishwasher.

So far this year he's made ten loaves of Cardamom Bread (Steve's Mom's Cardamom Bread recipe, halved, making the dough in the breadmaker) and used over a pound of pearl sugar as topping. Four batches of the best sugar cookies in the world, six or more double-batches of spice cookies. A huge batch of lefse made after Thanksgiving should keep us stocked until next year. A batch of pepperkakker (which were not as good as we had hoped) and a variety of other baked things. The house smells wonderful most of December.

Luckily, he takes most of the tempting stuff to work. In fact, I think at least some of the baking frenzy is fueled by all the petting and cooing he gets at work for bringing goodies. I'd be encouraged, too -- when the nurses at the hospital actually hide the bucket of cookies because they don't want to share, you've done good!

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