Sunday, August 28, 2011

Baking Nights

Sometimes I let my mind wander through this fantasy of mine. I walk through the front door and the whole house is sparkling clean, everything smells like lemons and freshly baked bread, the freezer is full of meals I prepared by hand, and all the laundry is put away. Then I open my eyes, take a look at the mounds of laundry piled on every flat surface, the half-finished painting/sewing/knitting/writing/cleaning projects that lurk in corners of each room, and I decide to start on the simplest of projects. Baking projects. Cooking projects. Projects that aren't really projects but necessary tasks that can be completed in a couple of hours tops. 

Because if having chocolate chip cookies stashed in the freezer, ready to be baked at any moment, isn't a necessary task, then I don't know what is.

I make the batter, stir in the chocolate chips, and then I use an ice cream scoop to scoop cookies onto a baking sheet. I freeze them for about an hour on the baking sheet, then I throw them in a ziploc freezer bag and store them in the freezer. I can bake as many or as few cookies as I need over the course of the next couple of months, though they never last that long. 

I used to love to carefully prepare meals, and while I still cook daily around here, tossing some meat and veggies together with a hungry toddler running around isn't the same thing as taking my time and enjoying the process of preparing food. About one night a month, I start baking and cooking once William is in bed, and I don't stop until midnight. I love these late night baking sessions. There's something magical to me about baking bread at midnight and waking up to a house that smells like cookies. This week, I stayed up making loaves of bread, cookies to freeze, and tons of whole wheat pizza dough.

I make the bread first so that it has time to rise before the sun sets.

Whoops. I forgot to check on this loaf of whole wheat and it rose and busted out of the plastic wrap. It still turned out fine.

I made up a recipe for some chicken, spinach, and feta mini meatballs for William. They were actually pretty delicious.

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