I’m a baker. In fact, that’s like the one thing that I can actually get done without really fucking it up. If you give me a box of cake mix, I’m your fucking awesome-est gal. I can read like nobody’s business and can follow instructions to a T. However, the box thing gets old and to be honest, I’m really sick of following everybody else’s advice/instructional booklets about the things I want to bake-n-make. There’s no offense; I’m just ready to branch out. I figure that in branching out on recipes that I’ve never so much as tried or heard of before, I’m preparing for branching out in other areas. And the more I do shit like this, the more I’ll be likely to do things on the spiritual plane. Or something.
My first big project of this morning was the apple butter. I’ve been in love with apple butter since Judie’s Restaurant first introduced me to it. The original recipe I had chosen to follow wanted me to purchase 25 – 30 apples for this and proceed on a two-day-long slow cooking spree. In other words, yeah, it wasn’t going to happen. I ended up going with a smaller recipe that only makes four pints as opposed to an assload. I’m mother-effing excited, y’all.
I ended up choosing Macintosh apples for this kind of thing. It was recommended that I go with something like Granny Smith apples or Jonagold or some type of apple that’s “good to cook with”… whatever that means. However, I’m in love with Macintosh apples. If it’s that time of the year, I’m getting a peck at least once. If it’s that time of the year, I’m buying two pounds at a go so that I can eat them all by myself. (I give some to my kid, too, but I’m the guilty party for most of the apple-eating.) So, I went with what I love and everyone else can just go take a leap. This is my shebang, anyway.
It took me a lot longer than I had initially planned (WHY DO I STILL FUCKING PLAN SHIT??) to core and peel the apples. I don’t know why I didn’t think it would take me as long as it did, either. I’ve used peel-core-dice machines before. Either my memory is faulty (uh… probable) or I think magic was actually used the last time I came into contact with one (yeah… no). In reality, I think my memory is subjective: there were five of us peeling and coring for three apple pies. So… yeah. After that, it was smooth sailing! I only came out of the mixing process wreaking of sugar, cinnamon, and clove with a faint whiff of apple.
My hands smell fucking delicious.
After I got that simmering, I took a minor break to clean up my tiny ass work space. My countertop was smeared in apple juice, guts, and seeds. At one point, I evidently had a flying runaway because I found a seed on top of my microwave and guts plastered across the microwave door. Then, I putzed while it cooked on high for an hour. After that, I did some non-food related responsibility shit. Even if I’m 100% focused on apples (and I am, if my dreams are any indicator), I still got to try to maintain my diet, as well as letting the doggies out.
Then, it was on to the apple pie…
…of which I have watched other people make, but have never tried myself.
I chose Granny Smith apples for this particular shindig. I am so not a fan of these apples, either. They’re too tangy, as far as I am concerned. I’ve always hated them, too. In reality, I probably could have gone with Macs for this, too, but went with the website’s recommendation. That way, if it’s a fuck up, then I can blame the recipe as opposed to myself.
I encountered blunders on this one, which I strongly believe is due to the fact that the whole apple butter process went so smoothly. And of course, this is me we’re talking about so, you know, something had to go wrong at some point. So, at this point, the coring machine started to give me (Yeah, that’s my kid.) issues. The tension on the peeling arm was gone. And I’m pretty sure it was my fault. You see, I took the whole little machine apart to clean it out after having sliced and diced the apple butter apples. I think, for whatever reason, the tension on the arm just decided to say, “FUCK THIS,” and went on with its merry little way. And, of course, I couldn’t get the spring back in place, either. I peeled them by hand, but couldn’t stomach the idea of coring and slicing them. I ended up coring (with slight modifications from a pairing knife) and slicing via the apple machine. Well. Really, my son did most of it. He was ‘helping.’ Until he was hindering.
Afterward, I got to get my hands cinnamon-sugar-apple smelling again. I believe I was taught that mixing apple pie innards with [clean] hands was better than dirty-ing up some spoon, but who knows? I can safely attest that it has been well over five years since my last apple pie excursion. And in all honesty, let’s not discount the idea that I just wanted to mold stuff with my hands. It’s like an adult’s version of play-doh, but smells delicious enough to make you want to cannibalize your hands afterward.
I ended up with a shit ton more innards than I had thought. I bought eight apples like the site recommended. However, the fine print (as in the shit I skimmed over) said that they should be medium-sized. And I’ve got the most humongous apples that I could grab. Oh, well. I stuffed most of it into the pie before attempting to cover it with a lattice-work dough covering. And I say that I was “attempting” because I didn’t actually read the instructions on how to do it. I looked at the pictures on the website and figured, “Hey, I got this.” However, it’s pretty obvious that I did not “have it.” The little bit of apple leftovers joined its brethren in my apple
And now… the snickerdoodles!
I’ve made homemade cookies before, but usually out of a box or bag. So, I suppose that the ‘homemade’ part is interpretive. My interpretation is, of course, the only one that matters and so therefore, what I was doing easily qualifies as ‘homemade’. Anyway. I was pretty sure that some innate feminine sense would suddenly kick in and I could make the dough without even looking. Of course, that did not happen. I ended up reading and re-reading the directions about a thousand fucking times to be sure I was pulling it off. It was one of those exaggerated slow read through where you mouth the words. Yeah, that one. I really did not want to fuck up these cookies.
My oven got to do that for me.
I have to say that there is something really relaxing about rolling dough in your hands. It is also incredibly aggravating because you have to maintain a strict amount of flour on your hands at all times, otherwise, you’re stuck, literally, with dough all over your hands. I think I went through about a quarter of a bag of flour just on the rolling the dough into balls. …Er. No, I probably had a lot more than that used up. My counter was covered, I was covered, my hands were pure white, and there was just flour everywhere. It was actually kind of fun. I had an intense moment where I wanted to say something Swedish chef style. (I’m happy to report that I tamped down the urge.)
I’m really not that good about rolling dough into little balls, though. They tend to be lopsided. I figure if I ever get a melon baller or something (I just want one, now, to say that I have one) along those lines, my cookie balls would end up a little smoother and a lot less deformed. I can safely say that no one will ever confuse how I make my cookies with someone else’s. They’re distinctive.
I was very cautious about the cook times because I did not wish to burn the bottoms of these <a