A Bake Sale Mom

It’s truly been a bake sale weekend in Shaw. I guess in part it’s because of the cool weather, in part because of Gabe being out of town and in part because it’s basically the start of the holiday season. Whatever my justifications are, I have spent nearly every waking hour this weekend, in the kitchen. Of course, though, I was graced with a snafu or two. Such is life.

I actually got so carried away, that my photo-taking was quite limited. Instead of the usual play-by-play, it seems the best I can do is take  collective photos after the fact.

So as the weekend concludes here is what is on my sacrificial offering table: gallons of pumpkin butter (well… I’m not sure it’s gallons per say, but its a whole lot of pumpkin butter), a peck of apples peeled, sliced and frozen, mollasses turkey cookies with butter cream icing(they are just cut out as turkeys, don’t start thinking something nasty), butternut squash-sage-spinach lasagna, 2 trays of spiced pumpkin seeds and a pumpkin praline pie.

Pumpkin Butter

On a quest to be rid of more of my pumpkins, I decided my first project for the weekend was the pumpkin butter. I found a fairly easy slow-cooker recipe that allowed me to multitask, and that made my apartment smell delicious! And then enter snafu number 1. 

I was going about my business adding the requisite pumpkin pie spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves… but then, oh, then, I went to put 2 teaspoons of ginger in the crock pot… followed by a pinch of nutmeg. But as I went to grab the nutmeg, I realized it was already in my hand, and the ginger was still on the counter. Shit! How can I right the big, big wrong?! Well I tried my best to scoop out any that I could, but I had to accept that there was more nutmeg than I wanted in it. Then hypochondriac Chris comes out and I start recalling all of the articles I’ve read about nutmeg poisoning. What’s that you say? Oh yeah, google it.

Low and behold, it actually turned out alright. One small victory for the weekend!

Later Saturday night, I decided to whip up some mollasses cut-out cookies. A couple weeks ago, a silly vendor at work brought it random gifts to make a presentation fun, and I ended up with Thanksgiving cookie cutters. So of course, I had to find a use for them. Wanting something a bit different than the normal sugar cookies (they’re just so boring!) I went for mollasses cookies. After letting the dough rest for a bit, my patience was gone for the night. With Gabe being out of town, I just needed to get out of the house and have some beers and some food served to me. Check plus.

Gobble, Gobble.

Sunday morning I went at it right away and rolled out the cookies. Holy cow, I ended up with over 8 dozen! Sheesh. Then I remembered my icing kit that was hidden in the back of a cabinet, so I got onto yet another project! I found a simple butter cream icing recipe. Icing was fun, I just really need to spend some more time with the whole creative element.

Having gutted 6 pumpkins in the last couple of weeks, I have been left with a lot of seeds. So I finally got to baking them up as well.

As hunger pangs emerged after being confined to the kitchen all day, I decided to do something different than my usual dining alone. Normally when I don’t have anyone to cook for, it’s me snacking on whatever is easy to make. But not this time. I came up with a recipe for butternut squash lasagna. I started with a few recipes but was able to make my own variation that was just fatty enough, yet had some healthier touches like spinach. And damn, it was worth it.

The first sloppy piece of butternut squash lasagne and a delicious bell's winter white.

Looking for my second snafu, right? Well here it is. I’ve been avoiding even talking about this, as it has consumed way too much of my weekend and I’m not sure the reward will be nearly great enough. Oh well. I made a pumpkin praline pie and made the mistake of using this recipe from Martha Stewart. Now, I love Martha as much as the next gay, but I have some issues with her recipes — they are just too much sometimes.

I mean take a look at the recipe. I should have steered clear when the recipe linked to 3 other recipes just to get ingredients together. Oiy. I also embarked on the pie journey before fully reading the recipe. If I’d of realized I had to rest the dough 4 different times for an hour at a time, I never would have touched it. Anyway, though, I sucked it up and kept going. I had the dough in the refrigerator for 5 hours and then was ready to roll it out. But… there seemed to be a bit of a problem. The dough would not roll out. I mean really, it just stuck together. I tried adding flour, I tried using parchment paper, I tried it all and NOTHING.

Damn sticky dough, looks more like icing.

It would not roll out! It just stuck to everything and I reached my end. The damn dough went into the garbage disposal, goodbye. So then I took to twitter. Yeah, it happens. And then I took a look at the recipe. I was afraid maybe me substituting shortening for the required lard may have done something, but that made no sense… then it hit me. Gosh, I really need to stop drinking while I bake.

The recipe called for 3 cups flour, 2 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp salt… note 2 1/2 tsp. Yeah, i put 2 1/2 CUPS. Cups? What was I even thinking? How could pie crust ever have nearly a 50/50 split between sugar and flour. That’s what I get to dancing around to Stevie Nicks with my windows open on the beautiful day. At least I knew the culprit. So now I had a dilemma. I already made the pralines for this pie, and promised it to a certain someone who was returning 3 hours later… Sorry Martha, your time-intensive recipe was not being repeated.. or attempted again.

I used one of my go-to recipes, got it ready and went to town. Then comes pumpkin-praline dilemma number 2. I had to make the these little curled crust pieces to make the edge fancy. And of course, Martha, everyone happens to have a 1-inch tear shaped cookie cutters, right? No. So the best I had was a 2 inch long alligator. Hey, why not.

Alligator Cookie Cutters > Tear Drops

If only it ended there. After cutting the 50 pieces, I put them in the fridge for a bit to set up before assembling the whole shebang. I started mixing the center. It was going well, then I went in the fridge to grab the heavy cream. Then. Wham! Bam! Not thank you ma’am. There it was. My tray of 50 stupid little pie curls was upside down on my floor. Shit. Those tear-shaped cookie cutters were about to start pouring out of my eyes.

Well It sucked, but I went back to the drawing board and redid those dumb little things.

Pumpkin Praline Pie

As the pie now sits on my counter, I am afraid to touch it. It is done. It looks acceptable. It smells good. But the torture I went through for it was so much that I almost want nothing to do with it.

It was a long and busy weekend and an even longer blog post.


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