The Great Christmas Bake-off

A batch of golden brown snickerdoodle cookies cooling on a wire rack.

There’s a new article in the Atlantic about whether baking can reduce stress and anxiety. Now, I’ve been baking since I was a child, and I can vouch that it entirely depends on the complexity and your comfort with the recipe. A batch of cookies and a cheesecake do not compare. Guess which I’ve made more often?

I’m a huge fan of baking shows like the Great British Bake-off (and its Canadian spinoff). I find them very soothing. One, because the contestants and hosts are all genuinely nice to each other. Two, because it’s amazing to see the contestants attempt to make the most complicated recipes I’ve ever seen. And three, it shows how long things actually take to bake. None of this soufflĂ© in 20 minutes nonsense.

On the flip side, I also enjoy Nailed It!, where contestants more often fail than succeed. It’s not schadenfreude, it’s sympathy (unless someone’s a real jerk), which is unusual for American cooking shows. Having had my share of flops, I feel real comradeship with those contestants, espe ially faced with fondant.

With Christmas a week away, I’m spending a couple of evenings baking cookies to take to my parents. My mother and brother have been extremely busy whipping up the traditional favourites, as they have a bit more time on their hands (plus no travel), but I wanted to make stuff too.

Tonight’s effort was snicker-doodles. I didn’t start making these until last year when I found a recipe in the paper. Their cinnamon sugar coating make them a sure-fire win with my husband (that’s his favourite flavour).

As I was making this batch, I wrote a little ditty, I hope you like it!

Hey there, yoohoo!
Look at all the snoo!*
To keep from feeling blue,
I know just what I’ll do.

I’ll bake snicker-doodles.
I’ll make oodles and oodles.
(So sorry, but none for the poodles)
But I’d better get started, so…toodles!

(*Credit to Walt Kelly for his version of the word snow)

Thursday will be Swedish cakes aka thumbprint cookies, which is a new recipe for me. Will I nail it or no? Will I be soothed or will I tear my hair out? We’ll have to wait and see.

Copyright Jessica Allyson 2018.


Author: JAllyson

Jessica Allyson is a pen name derived from a fictitious twin (the doctors were mistaken). During the day, I work for a national members association, at night, I unleash my trivia-loving choir-singing fangirl self. I live in Ottawa, with my husband and our cats, who are our most vocal critics.

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Copyright Jessica Allyson 2018