It’s always with great anticipation (not to mention blind ambition) that I begin my holiday baking and homemade gift preparation. This year, I started about 3 weeks ago.  I’ve had 2 weekend marathon baking sessions, and then just puttered along during weeknights – a batch of cookie dough one day, a little supplies shopping another, and on more days than there should be – nothing. As usual, I didn’t pace myself so well.

Just moments ago, I nearly had a melt-down.  I spent an hour making pomegranate jelly this morning.  I had to head out during the afternoon on the hunt for supplies (largely a complete waste of time, as I didn’t find much), and when I returned, I noticed that the jelly didn’t set at all! Damnit!  It’s salvageable, but the process is putzy as hell, and I have to buy more canning lids so I can reseal it in my boiling water canner.  

Then I made my PB balls, which everyone loves, but I added rice crispies to the filling.  I swear Randy told me he had a treat similar to my PB balls, but they had the crispies, and he said he loved them.  I mentioned this to him after I was finished making them, and he denies ever telling me any such thing.  And, of course, the PB balls are not as good with rice crispies.  Damnit!

Same PB balls are dipped in melted chocolate. I thought I would try to temper the chocolate this year to get a pretty glossy finish on my balls (first time ever tempering!).  It seemed to be successful, but as the chocolate set, I noticed the dullness and streaks appearing on some of them.  I got the bit of snap on the chocolate, but no gloss.  Damnit!

All that time, when I could have been making some tried and true cookie recipes, gone. And I have to work Tuesday and Wednesday this week, so not much time to recover. Ugh.

Now I’m beginning to anticipate a Christmas with only half a cookie tray finished; a freezer packed with unbaked cookie dough; pr0mises to friends that their gifts will come in the new year, rather than at Christmas time; and worst of all, subpar results due to lack of time and attention.

But instead of going through with the meltdown, I walked away from the kitchen, poured myself a nice glass of red wine, and sat down to write.  I’m going to embark on an excellent adventure to culinary school. Things could definitely be worse.

Tomorrow, I’m eagerly anticipating my tour of Kendall College in Chicago – the other institution I’m considering attending to learn the art and science of cooking.  It’s not the best time of the year to tour since classes are finished for the term, but at the time I scheduled, I was still looking at a possible start date of January.  Now, I’m aiming to start 2nd quarter of the year.  I’m OK with that, as long as I keep making progress in the right direction.

And if I have to visit Kendall again, will that be so bad? NAH!

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