At the end of the school year, I bake treats and write nonsensical letters

We all have our traditions, and this has become one of ours. In a nutshell, I bake treats for the teachers at the school where two of my smalls attend and at which I also work as a school assistant. I would bake for both schools (since I have kids at both and work at both), but I bake and bring everything on the very last day of the school year, which is always a PA Day and for the past two years, and I’ve had other children at my house on that day, so driving has been out of the question (people get so worked up if you toss even just a couple of kids into the trunk for even the shortest drive). So, the closest school wins the treats. And also, a rambling and manic note from me explaining the treats and my unsolicited thoughts on life.

This year, I’m sharing that note with you. You’ll have to imagine the treats. The internet remains shitty at sending and receiving food in real-time (someone please get on that, stat!). But in lieu of real treats, I’ll post a few pictures of this year’s baked offerings.

I bake because I figure teachers get enough mugs, coffee, apple-related knick knacks and cutesy teacher/school plaques already that adding more to the growing piles may not be the most awesome way to show my sincere appreciation for the jobs they do for our kids ten months of every year. But chocolate? Baked in flour, sugar, and other fine ingredients, completely consumable and storage-space-requirement-free? Well, that always shows appreciation in my book.

So this year, Breakfast Cookies (delicious!) and 1-2-3 Snap Brownies (they look and smell delicious, my poor life choices prevent me from sampling them to be able to review how they actually taste) are my recipes of choice. Only one of them has chocolate because while I cannot pretend to understand it, I do remember  hearing that not everyone likes chocolate. I also cannot say that I believe that not liking chocolate is a real thing, but that’s what some people like to claim. And I’m not judgy and meanish, so I play along with them.

I think last year I baked four different treats, cookies, bars or desserts. This year I only baked these two. Not because this year was worse, but because I'm weak. The letter explains it in more detail.

I think last year I baked four different treats, cookies, bars or desserts. This year I only baked these two. Not because this year was worse, but because I’m weak. The letter explains it in more detail.

2014/2015 End of School Year Badger Bits and Bites

 

Dear Teachers and Staff at Local School [name redacted] P.S.

 

This year, the variety of treats in the offering is lower. Like all the way down to a mere two types. I have a reason for this, not a good one, but a reason nonetheless. I’m on a diet (again). Of sorts.  Kind of. Mostly. Well, I’m trying to reduce my hip-print on this planet and so far, I haven’t snapped and knocked over the Mars Co. factory (win!). This fact really just means that baking is a much more difficult task, emotionally speaking, so to limit my temptation, I shortened the playlist.

 

But me on a diet is a bitter, sad, pitiful thing. A melancholy soul is she who cannot sample her wares before sending them on to you. So, I feel that it’s only fair to let you know that I’m trying out a new recipe (1-2-3 Snap Brownies – because chocolate (duh) and also, I know that ya’ll don’t see enough “1-2-3” during the course of Every. Single. Day.  that you go to work) that I have not yet tasted and if you’re reading this note, still have not tasted, despite spending many laborious minutes starving and slaving away in my kitchen, endlessly, preparing these treats and probably also other food stuffs for the minion army that is currently occupying my house. I think they may be here for the long haul, (they’ve gotten awfully familiar and insist upon calling me “Mummy” but there will not be any 30-year-olds living in my basement, so their days ARE numbered.

 

Anyway, back to the treats. The first, as mentioned are called 1-2-3 Brownies and because they are laden with chocolate, I figure that they must be good, or at least that they can’t be completely wretched. And also they probably an excellent source of caffeine and happy-feelings-making neurotransmitters, so if you’re grumpy (like me) or sleepy (um, also like me), try a few of these. If nothing else, one word: Chocolate.

 

The other treat ‘o the day is a crazy good (or at least acceptable) Breakfast Cookie (don’t let the name fool you, you can eat these bad boys any time, day or night – hey, I’m not here to judge you), of which I have previously tasted but not actually baked myself. So I apologize in advance if my attempt is far lamer than the ones that I scarfed down daintily nibbled on at a cotillion during my past life as a southern belle. These are healthy-ish, or at least contain more ingredients than the brownies that totally take longer to kill you. Like flax and chia seeds, unsweetened coconut and oats and the like. Still, these cookies are not exactly a diet-friendly food, so I’m calling them a treat (and totally NOT eating a single morsel myself). Oh, and did I mention that they are school safe? I believe that the school requires snacks not be 110% bad for you, AND these beauties are also nut-free, alcohol-free, drug-free and contain no traces whatsoever of shellfish. (Note: On one of the rare occasions that I got to see an episode of Maury, I learned that things in life can be 110% certain, I always thought that we maxed out at 100%, but no, because Sunnyside-Up was 110% positive that Bobby-John was her baby-daddy and she put forth a pretty convincing argument, so I’m adopting her math. But only some of it, because as it goes she was 200% WRONG about Bobby-John, which was maybe a good thing because he was mostly married to her momma but also a little bit to her aunty. Back to the math (and baby-daddy) drawing board, I guess.

 

Anyway, despite this rambling note and likely terrifying glimpse into my mind, please enjoy the brownies and cookies. And more importantly, enjoy your summer vacations. Because my kids and I will be back in September *grin*

 

Yours truly,

Allison and her motley crew of minions

If nothing else, this is probably all the proof needed that 1) I need more sleep and 2) I shouldn’t write late at night because it just escalates far too quickly when I do. Oh well. Luckily I have already graduated from elementary school and I’m pretty sure that shit is irrevocable, so I’m fairly confident that I’m safe. 😉

So, with this, I am officially kicking off our Summer Break 2015! Watch for my S.O.S. posts coming soon!

IMG_1379.JPG

Actual, Real, Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Gluten-Free Style (no, really!)

Gluten-free living and baking certainly has its challanges.  Chocolate chip cookies no longer need to be on the challenge list.  We’re moving them over to the ‘Conquered’ list!  We started again with a very traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe (from Betty Crocker, no less!) and modified, altered and Frankensteined it into this crispy, yet light and chewy, moist but not greasy gluten free chocolate chip cookie.  And unlike so many gluten-free baked goods, they are not dry and dusty the morning after, either!  But, as I warned in the similar, yet very different cookie post Honey Badger’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunky Chip Cookie recipe – DO NOT EAT THE RAW DOUGH.  It’s enough to make an ogre gag (believe me, I did!)  It’s not about raw eggs or getting poisoned.  It’s about not having to try to get the intense taste of raw bean from the guar gum out of your mouth in time to devour the baked heavenliness that these cookies will become.  And the angels sang…

Honey Badger’s Gluten-Free Traditional Chocolate Chip Cookies

Honey Badger's Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies from Heaven

Makes 3+ dozen

Ingredients for goodness

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine (softened)
2 tbsp Earth Balance Shortening (or 1/4 cup regular shortening)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Blend (I used Bulk Barn’s, but Bob’s Red Mill or Pamela’s would work too)
1/2 + 1/8 tsp guar gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4-6 oz chocolate chips (or a couple of handfuls, if you like)

Directions, or rather suggestions, well advice, really (’cause we’re all just learning here).

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, shortening, egg and vanilla until smooth.  Add the dry ingredients and mix well, until combined.  Add chocolate chips to suit your fancy.

Drop by rounded teaspoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart (they will spread and if the balls are too big or close to gether you will end up with a baking sheet sized cookie).

Bake for 8-10 minutes until light brown – stupid caveat here – do not over-bake!  I know, I know, but it had to be said.  Remove from sheet and let cool on rack until you have a moment to pour a glass of milk.

Gorge, um, I mean enjoy!

It bears repeating:  *FAIR WARNING and FULL DISCLOSURE:  To all cookie dough sneak-eaters.  Do NOT eat this cookie dough raw.  Please.  I beg you.  It tastes terrible because of the guar gum (which is made from beans and is very concentrated).  Once baked, the cookies are delicious, but the cookie dough itself is gag-inducing and the after-taste is long-lasting.  Trying the dough may turn you off cookies for a prolonged period of time and lead to depression due to that loss.  It’s just not worth the risk.  You have been warned.  Govern yourself accordingly. *grin*

Happy (Gluten-free and Gluten-filled) Baking 🙂