Saturday, 15 December 2012

2001 - Skyco Saves the (Holi)day!

Last night, around 10, I mixed up the dough for the Grammy's Chocolate Cookies. Then this morning, I rolled the dough into balls, rolled them in sanding sugar and baked 6 1/2 dozen aromatic cookies. They are sinfully sweet and chocolate-y. Most are now packed up in the freezer for Christmas and our visit home on Dec. 10.

Then, I decided to make Checkerboard Cookies from Martha Stewart's "Cookies" magazine. They were a lot of work, especially for a measly 4 dozen. However, I really enjoyed making them and the results are spectacular, I think.

They took hours. I had to split the dry dough and knead cocoa into one half (just as Charlie was waking from his nap!). I had to use a ruler to make sure the chocolate and vanilla strips were perfect. Then, I needed a pastry brush - which I didn't have - so Charlie and I went into town to find one. Fat chance! There are a few grocery stores and some specialty shops but nowhere to find kitchen supplies (unless you count Woolworth's). I wound up buying a paintbrush at the chemist's (drug store).

They really were fun to make and I can't wait for Mom and Lisa to see them. They're very delicate too. I might have to make another batch but I don't know when. I'm still working on putting together this issue of The Backstretch Magazine and I have to finish it before I leave for home. So, I might not get to make another entry until I get back here.

Butter comes in 250-gram packages, which is 9 ounces. Most recipes call for 8 ounces! Cookies that are baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, bake on Gas Mark 4 (which is 180 degrees Celsius). Vanilla bottles here say: for each teaspoon that is called for, add an extra 1/4 teaspoon. That's not right! It must be because it's not pure. I can't find pure vanilla here, so I will have to bring a big bottle back.

Shortening (required for my Moravian Cookies) does not exist here. But I found a great online place that sells American groceries. Skyco is owned and operated by Tony and Jean Phillips (and their daughter Justine) in Surrey, and they are so nice and helpful. They started out as a deli, but now import a wide range of American and Canadian products to ex-pats like myself, who are craving a taste of home. In my case - Nestle's Chocolate Chips and Jiff Peanut Butter. And oodles of other things (like Brown-Sugar Pop-Tarts and Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn and Heinz Hamburger Dill slices!). I'm ecstatic to be able to source ingredients (and goodies) here. Hallelujah!

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