Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Biting Off a Little More Than I Can Chew (Baking Day)

I feel like the title of this post could be both figurative and literal - as, by the end of this marathon baking day that I set myself up for each year, I literally don't feel as though I could bite off or chew one more cookie than I already have that day.  

I'm also realizing this thing needs to morph into a "more than one day" happening.  At least I took that into account when it came to prep for the packaging and labeling of the treat boxes, as this was all assembled the night prior.

I've shot myself in the foot over the years (something I seem to do in a lot of areas this time of year), by striving for bigger and better with each year that passes.  That was certainly the case with the cake box last year - it was a chunky tall box, so this year I thought I'd be smart and get a more rectangular box to spread the goodies out.  Though, after I put it together (after purchasing for everyone), I realized it was ginormous and in order to fill it up, I'd need to add a few more treats to the line-up.  Let's face it folks, that was not my smartest decision - cuz I'd already maxed out the day in the previous list of treats-to-make on any given day - adding more was not gonna help.  

But, where there is a will - there is a way - and on Monday the 8th - my designated "No Whitley Baking Day" - I dove in full swing just as soon as the kids were dropped off at school, around 8:30am.  I watched a lot of Hallmark movies - and lest you think I was lonely - Sydney was ever-present, making sure not a speck of "goodness" would fall to the floor without her observation and subsequent snatching.

This was the scene about 12 hours later.  I used the panoramic to give the full view of how it was all spread out to cool in the garage.  

Saltine Toffee:

Chocolate Covered Gummy Bear (my weight gain nemesis during the holidays...they are so addictive to me!)

Molasses Cookies and Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Mounds Bars and Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies:

Cocoa Candy Cane Cookies and Peanut Butter Bark:

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies:

Apparently, I never got a close-up of the Snickerdoodles, Cranberry Bliss Bars and Sugar Cookies (three of my favorites) though you can spot them in the pic with the hub and kids below.

I've also come to realize that just getting the treats made and even cut and frosted is still not even close to the finish line - as it all needs to be assembled into treat bags and then assembled into the individual recipient boxes (and then wrapped up special and purty!).

So, I've enlisted some help in this process - which fits nicely into our "Countdown Calendar's" hopeful emphasis on giving to others besides just receiving for yourselves.  They may look like merry and bright helpers - but at this point in the evening (9pm), with a mom that's about to lose it and protective of every cookie likes its a living being - they were smiling only out of fear of what would happen if they didn't.  ;)

I tried to make it as easy as possible for them to package the goodies and then deposit them in to their respectful boxes so I could assembly line the placement into boxes.  They did great - though, no surprise, Brayden nearly faced bodily harm from me when he was a bit too aloof and not listening to directions.... ;)

 The final "ensemble". 

And, this is what it looks like after I finished my part.  

A close-up...

The final act of the evening - carefully placing them in the back of John's rig for him to deliver to his co-workers at Tyson Steele Associates the next morning.   While I feel like most of the treats turned out as good as I could hope for, the one bummer was how mild the temps were that day.  Usually I'm able to count on the outside temps being very brisk, leaving the garage chilly and especially John's rig chilly overnight so that the cookies fully set up.  This year, the temps were unseasonably warm and I felt like that contributed to a little decline in the quality.  I think, next year, I will overlap the Sunday in baking as well, and use my freezer overnight...

This was what the clock looked like when I finished putting the boxes in the vehicle.  Just a little bit past midnight.  By the time I cleaned up the kitchen, I'd put in about 16 hours body was so tired!!!

But, then you get feedback like this -from recipients we either delivered the treats to or sent them to - and it makes every bit of those 16 hours well worth it!!!

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