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Smells like Burnt Gingerbread

Thing 1 and 2 were with their dad for the next two days, Maui and I were alone, so I was able to begin baking gingerbread for the 6th Annual Cookie Exchange, (using, of course, the Dexter Morgan Method of baking cookies.)

In an undertaking of this scale  (3 large batches) it helps to have multiple baking pans, plenty of silpats, gobs of plastic wrap and copious space available in the apartment sized refrigerator.

Making and preparing the dough is one thing.  Baking is another.

My oven SUCKS.  I think it’s from the 1970’s (gauging from the vintage décor in my kitchen)

The broiler doesn’t like to open.  Its inconveniently positioned all the way at the bottom near the floor and it requires a feat of strength to open or close it.

I’m pretty sure the burners are trying to kill me – especially the front right one.  It plays coy when you go to light it, click, click, click, click, then FOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!    Right when you’ve leaned in closer to see what’s the matter.  Fucker – I see your smirk.

It’s temperamental and cooks uneven – the right side being hotter than the middle or left side.  Everything  needs to be centered slightly to the left.  And it’s really difficult to set the temperature.  I use two temperature gauges in the oven and when the average of the two readings is the temperature I want – I cross my fingers and bake.

I was able to get through half of the baking last night and tried to squeeze in a couple racks of cookies this morning.  I set the oven to warm up and made my morning latte.  When the temperature was right on 350, I popped in the trays, set the timer and walked away.  10 minutes later, the smell of burnt cookies reached me in my bedroom.  Opening the door, I discovered that the left side of the cookies were burnt and the temperature had shot up to 500 degrees!  Yet the knob on the oven was still set at 350!  Arrrggghhh!  With still another batch and a half left to bake, I’m not sure what I’m going to do.  I think I need to start cruising Craigslist for a new oven.

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On your mark, get set – BAKE!

It is Dr. Malibu’s birthday this week (I mention week because every week starting in mid November it’s someone’s birthday in my immediate family).

Dr. Malibu is not a fan of the traditional birthday cake with lighted candles.  But he IS a fan of cherry pie.  After four years of knowing him and him knowing that I’m a baker – he finally put a request in for a pie for Thanksgiving.  Cherry Pie.

So when he held a little impromptu gathering for his birthday at the Boneyard Bistro – I made him this.

In between the birthdays celebrations I have to squeeze in baking for the annual Cookie Exchange held as Ms. Pahukoa’s house next weekend.  The pressure is ON this year.

Every year I bake the same cookie – gingerbread.   Martha Stewarts Gingerbread recipe.   In the past I’ve made snow flakes, reindeer and Santa’s sleigh, Christmas trees and other designs.

But what to do this year?

These cookies are a lot of work.  It takes me a full week to bake enough cookies for 20 – 30 guests.
And I like BIG cookies which means a LOT of cookie dough.

To get a head start – I measured out all the ingredients for three batches – flour, baking soda and baking powder into 3 super-sized Tupperware containers.
Then I measured out all the spices into 3 smaller Ziploc containers.
The pantry was checked to ensure I had all the other ingredients – eggs, molasses and butter.

Ready.  Now all I have to do is mix and bake and bake and bake and then decorate, decorate, decorate.
I’m enlisting Thing 2.

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