- Cleaning the bathroom (and yes, I will likely only clean the one that will be used by party guests, NOT all four [!!!!] that now exist is this house)
- Baking at least two (which is down from the original plan for three) more batches of cookies (and I do mean, "more," because I already have four batches in my freezer)
- Decluttering the entire house
- Baking and decorating cupcakes
- Wrapping (and in at least one case, assembling) O's presents
- Grocery shopping (for the items that the store didn't have and those that I forgot during my FIRST grocery trip this morning!)
- Dusting, vacuuming, and washing the kitchen floor
Ugh! Some people thrive on the pressure of putting things off until the last minute, but I shut down. I just don't want to do any of it, so here I sit.
I did, however, attempt to make one of those batches of cookies just moments ago. I feared that the recipe (found here) for "Traditional Italian Almond Biscotti" might be a little challenging, considering it included the word "persevere" in the instructions! Huh?
But I thought I was up for the challenge anyway. I toasted my almonds (all 3 cups of them!) and mixed all the other ingredients with no problem. But then I got to this part: "Work the batter together with lightly floured hands. The mixture will be sticky, but persevere. Keep squeezing the batter with your hands until a dough starts to form. Once the dough is firm, form a ball."
Ummmmm, yeah. I kneaded and squeezed that runny, sticky dough for just under 10 minutes and the consistency did not appear to be changing at all. Instead, my shoulders were getting tired. So, I tried dumping it all into my handy dandy KitchenAid mixer, using the bread hook. I've never used the bread hook before, but it's supposed to make dough balls, right? (I honestly don't know what the bread hook is supposed to do. Someone please tell me!) Anyway, I let that do its thing for 12 minutes (or something like that — at some point I lost track while furiously trying to read if there were any comments on the recipe link that might have indicated that others had experienced the same kind of problem. There weren't any such comments.) I was afraid the motor on my beloved mixer was going to burn out, so since there was very little progress in the way of runny batter turning firm dough ball, I decided to call it quits.
Here's where I started taking photos to document this process, while simultaneously muttering curse words at the realization that I had just wasted a ton of time and ingredients (although, I was mostly upset about the lost time). Few things tick me off like wasting precious "me time" during Owen's nap.
|Notice the batter dripping from the mixer hook. Not exactly "firm dough."|
My first instinct was to just dump the batter in the trash and clean up the mess I'd made. But instead, I figured it was worth one last shot at creating something edible (although not likely anything I'd bother to put out at this party, which you'll recall, was the whole reason for starting this little project today.)
I tried putting them on the cookie sheets using a scoop, as you would any
|When they first came out of the scoop, they almost looked like they might|
hold that firm, ball shape...
|...but seconds later, they looked like this.|
I had no idea how long to bake them. The original recipe said 40 minutes, but that was assuming they were in little dough logs. I just kinda kept an eye on them as I typed this post and they ended up spending about 30 minutes in a 350 oven.
Um, here's how they turned out.
|Don't let this almost-appetizing photo fool you...|
|...they were gross.|
Hollow, crispy, and burnt-tasting. I may have left them in a little too long — that doughy looking top part threw me, appearing to be mushy, but actually getting quite crispy. Regardless, I'm not trying another batch. Into the garbage it all goes.
So, here I sit, stewing over the time lost messing with these darn biscotti, and feeling even more lack of motivation to get all my other projects completed. It's frustrating how one relatively small set-back can just derail my whole afternoon. Owen is now up from his nap and what do I have to show for those precious one-and-a-half hours of free time? Um, this blog post. Period.
I will be back soon with more (upbeat) details on Owen's party, which I'm sure will turn out lovely. In the meantime, I have a mess to clean up.