I've always been a dessert person. And while I never would have turned down ice cream or candy when I was a kid, what I really loved were baked goods. Our family dinners reflected the constraints of our era (the eighties) and budget (lots of mouths to feed), but on the rare occasions when we had dessert, Mom went all-out.
Carrot cake, fresh strawberry pie, cheesecake and lemon meringue pie, all made from scratch, spoiled me for store-bought desserts forever. Mom was the designated dessert-bringer to all of our family gatherings, and, once I moved out, I brought dessert places whenever I could. It was always well-received.
But lately, I feel like I'm losing it. Recipes that I love and that turn out perfectly the first time around (like this Rhubarb and Raspberry Crostata) crash and burn on the second try. Nothing tastes quite as good as I remember it tasting. The Salty Chocolate Chunk Cookies I made this week turned out like this:
Yes, I've checked my oven temperature. I think I've just lost my touch. I've started bringing salads to potlucks.
And yet, every once in a while, I'm surprised. My boys have less finicky dessert palates than I do, and they always want those frosted sugar cookies from the grocery store. I have to say, they do have a strange appeal. So, when I saw a recipe for homemade Soft Frosted Vanilla Sugar Cookies, I decided I had to try it.
Wow. They are borderline too sweet, but they are so good. Everyone who tried them (except Shaun, of course) made a noise of appreciation upon taking their first bite. They're even good without the frosting, which is really saying something coming from me. The cookies did spread out more than they were supposed to (I only took a picture of the most successful ones), and I haven't tried making them a second time yet, but I will get to it eventually. In the meantime, I'm ready to shed my identity as a person who always brings a good dessert to a meal and work on being a person it's nice to be around, no matter what my culinary contribution.
And while my kids always appreciate homemade treats, nothing I've made myself has elicited a comment like the one I overheard Willem making to Nels:
"When Mom bought Oreos, it seemed to change my life."
"I don't know...it's hard to explain. It made it better."