Holiday cookie extravaganza
Hot chocolate with marshmallows
For most Cultivating Change classes, we set ourselves an ambitious menu, and this one was no exception. We would be attempting to make not five, not six, but eight different holiday treats during class time. In addition, we would also serve chocolate chip and spritz cookies that Jan and I made at home to share with the group.
We had a lot to accomplish and no time to waste. The boys got right to work measuring, mixing, and melting the ingredients for the desserts. We would be making a classic gingerbread cookie; two Oreo-based desserts; chocolate dipped, candy cane-coated pretzels; a chocolate oat and cranberry no-bake cookie; chocolate krinkles; coconut chocolate kisses; and hot chocolate.
The whole process was a bit of a blur to me because there was so much going on. There was flour on every possible surface and I had the boys running laps looking for the right ingredients and measuring spoons for each recipe. I knew making the gingerbread people would take some time, so we got to that right away. First, I demonstrated how to flour the work surface and roll out the dough to the right thickness before cutting out the shapes. Then each of the boys had a chance to try it out for themselves. At one point in the process, a new boy, who had just arrived to CCYC minutes earlier, sat down at the table and jumped right in to making cookies with us. Their first attempts were failures with dough sticking to the rolling pin, ripping, or being rolled out unevenly. But by their third attempt, they had it down, which meant that I was free to check on the status of the other cookies we were making.
We were baking everything in the air fryer, which meant that there was only one tray of cookies going in at a time, and there was only room for a handful of cookies on the tray. Needless to say, it made for a bit of a juggle, and there were a few casualties as a result, including the tips of my fingers, which I burned repeatedly in my haste to switch out the trays. The coconut chocolate kisses faired the worst, with the first batch coming out too dark, and the second coming out not dark enough. But the good news was that they got drizzled with chocolate, which helped to cover up my multiple missteps.
The best news was that everyone else was on top of their cookie game, so the other treats that I was not responsible for baking turned out beautifully. Yet again, I was amazed by the diversity and quantity of food we are able to make using a random mix of kitchen implements schlepped into the multipurpose room. The assortment of holiday cookies we made looked and tasted fantastic. The boys were excited to forget for a moment that they were spending their Christmases at CCYC. Before they could sit down to eat, they each made up a goodie bag for the other other pods who weren’t able to cook with us.
As the boys headed back to their pod and the flour dust settled, two thoughts crossed my mind: somehow we pulled it off, and I hope Santa brings us a bigger oven for Christmas.