Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Agony of Defeat

Today the whole family was supposed to go to an Easter egg hunt in Wabash, Indiana, at the home of some of our friends. It's a big deal, with three age groups of hunters and prizes for gold and silver eggs and about 30 kids tromping around our friends' property.

Sadly, T -- who is starting to read in this blog like Tiny Tim with all his documented health woes -- was sent home from daycare yesterday with a high fever. He had a rough, Victorian-era night, with lots of crying out in his sleep and tossing and turning as the demons visited his fever-plagued toddler dreams. So we decided Phil would take M on the egg hunt and I would take T to the doctor.

During his 45-minute nap when I had some rare alone time, I decided to tackle a recipe that has intrigued but somewhat intimidated me: Maya's Day of the Dead Cookies. To appreciate them, you need to see the photo I saw on 101 Cookbooks: funky, eerie skulls perfectly formed in two flavors of cookie dough. This is the picture; makes you want to make these cookies, doesn't it?

The reality is -- and I know this -- I have the patience of a gnat when it comes to fiddly kitchen work. If you want radish roses adorning the veggie tray, you'll want to talk with someone else. But I thought maybe I could get over my annoyance at futzing if the result was this cool. So I rolled out the two kinds of dough, plunged a wooden spoon, bamboo skewer, and skinny kitchen knife all the way through the white dough roll to get the skull detail, and put the chocolate and white rolls of dough in the fridge to chill.

When Phil and T got home, I sliced the dough rolls, not quite sure how thick 1/8 inch is, but taking a game guess. I could already tell that something had gone horribly wrong and my skulls looked like maimed aliens. But I carried on.

After baking, here's the best of what I got; the *best*:

Here's most of what I got:

I have a laundry list of things I did wrong: Not making the skull shapes tall and skinny enough, not keeping the skewer or wooden spoon steady as I shoved it into the dough, not making the eyes big enough, cutting the white dough too thin. The cookies actually are delicious, so maybe I'll try them again some day.

Or maybe not. I'm feeling a little defeated right now.



Anonymous mph said...

I dunno ... they aren't perfect little skullettes, but they kind of have that creepy "Jacob's Ladder" thing going on.

Maybe not perfect for a Dia de las Muertes party, but pretty good for an adult Halloween party.

I'd eat 'em. :-)

10:53 PM  
Anonymous pk said...

They kind of look like a South Park mob scene. And, really, those ones in the example don't look *that* much better.

They tasted fine with cold milk last night. I must've eaten six of their nasty little heads.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Jose said...

I work with your brother, Brent.Just wanted to drop a note and let you know I have been enjoying reading about your trials and triumphs with slow food. It is inspiring too.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

I don't think they look bad and they tasted good, yes? Kids don't care what the crap looks like, they just want it to be tasty. Don't be so hard on yourself Cindy Stewart.

3:51 PM  
Blogger amyzeats said...

i think they look like Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas, who was really just a sweet on the inside, so i'd say you did just fine. :)

11:41 AM  

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