How not to make Kira’s molasses cookies

By Mir
October 3, 2004

Pre-dough preparation:
Spend the day tending to whiny children, and scratching your leg. And telling whiny children to please stop telling you to stop scratching your leg. And wishing you had something yummy to eat. Read Joshilyn‘s account of her so-called Virtue Cookies and think to yourself, “Self, that is a tragedy. Those things are an insult to all that is cookie-like.” (Joshilyn rocks, for real; but flax seed? In cookies?? Oh sweetie, NO.) Get kids to bed, and be thrilled to be able to scratch your leg in peace. Look again for yummy things to eat in the pantry. Find none. Decide to make cookies.

Ingredient check:
Print out your email from Kira with the cookie recipe. Read through the recipe and rummage through the pantry. Check the flour for bugs. Realize the sugar canister is low. Dismantle entire pantry to find the half-full sack of sugar, circa 2001. Bang sugar on the counter. Wake up oldest child with your banging. Send child back to bed. Microwave sugar briefly. Note that this causes the sugar boulder in the center to turn amber around the edges. Throw away hardened sugar and hope the remaining sugar is enough. Check supply of crisco sticks. Gather up no less than five partially-used sticks. Throw out the ones that look like ear wax. Scratch leg.

Make the dough:
Put industrial mixer up on the counter and begin mixing wet ingredients. Add flour mixture gradually, marvelling that this is perhaps the first time you’ve ever used this mixer without sending a cloud of dry ingredients all over the counter. Be mid- mental pat-on-the-back for this while dumping in the last of the flour mixture… which the mixer promptly spits back all over you, the counter, the floor, and the children’s lunch boxes. Swear. Copiously, if necessary. Scratch leg.

Prepare the dough for baking:
The recipe tells you to roll the dough into small balls, but doesn’t specify what size, exactly, “small” might be. Roll a couple of different sizes to ponder this issue. Giggle a little at “small balls” because you are a child. Notice that despite your diligent hand-washing during this process, there is definitely calamine lotion under your fingernails still. Wonder if this will affect the cookies. Settle on a ball size (ball size! ha!) and prepare two cookie sheets to go into the oven. Open the oven door with one hand and try to scratch your leg with the hand holding a cookie sheet. (It won’t work.)

Bake the cookies:
The recipe states to bake for “about 10 minutes” and cautions not to overbake. “Don’t let the cookies get brown,” it says. Um, yeah. Molasses cookies? Are brown. Well, no matter. Simply bake for 10 minutes. Tra la la! After ten minutes, note that the cookies are brown (but–in all fairness–they were brown before they went into the oven) but much rounder-looking than the cookies Kira sent you for your birthday. Decide they need to cook longer. Wait one minute for them to flatten. Wait another minute. Look up Kira’s phone number and call her after another couple of minutes. Inform her slightly puzzled father (when he tells you that Kira is busy) that this is Kira’s crazy internet friend and it is a matter of some importance that you get some cookie clarification right now. Fully prepare to ask to talk to Amma if he continues to refuse to get Kira. When Kira comes to the phone, rudely cut off her “wow, it’s so neat to finally hear your voice” kind of stuff and demand to know what the hell is the matter with these damn cookies that aren’t baking properly. Be informed that the cookies get flatter when they cool, and the cookies that have been baking for 16 minutes now? Are inedible. Swear again. Decide that the ensuing frustration and embarrassment means that it’s okay to scratch your leg some more.

End of practice round:
Remove first batch of cookies from the oven. Taste one. Great taste! For a hockey puck. Yeah, 10 minutes next time. Get second batch into the oven, decide to try a second cookie just for kicks. Now that they’ve cooled, these first cookies are now suitable for paving a walkway. Throw away first batch. Put more calamine on your leg.

For the next hour:
Continue rotating cookie trays in and out of the oven until all of the cookies are baked. Despair that not a single one of them is as beautiful as the ones Kira made. Test for consistency; ah, yes. These ones taste and feel right, at least. Victory is yours. Do the triumphant leg-scratching dance.

The next morning:
Offer to pack some of these yummy cookies in your children’s lunches. Listen to them howl in indignation that you dared to bake without them. Remember that no good deed goes unpunished.

And then? Scratch your leg.


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