Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"Homemade" Shortcuts

As a working mom, I don’t always have time to make baked goods from scratch, but I still want my family to have that treat of “home-baked” goodies from time to time. A great time-saver and shortcut that I have found is the prepackaged “break & bake” cookies. In our grocery store, there are a wide variety of these types of cookies, and they are about $2.99 a package. I pick up a couple of these and keep them in the fridge, and then pop them on the cookie sheet whenever I want to make a quick “homemade” treat for my family. I also am a big proponent of the unroll & bake pie crusts and boxed cake & brownie mixes – I love all of these shortcuts that save me so much time, but still allow me to feel like I am doing something special for my family.

And even though I use shortcuts, when I have time, I still try to do a little extra to make it special. If I am making a cake, for example, I usually get white frosting and then I let my daughter pick out food coloring to turn it into whatever color strikes her fancy. My favorite trick is to put frosting into a plastic freezer bag and cut off one corner and voila, I have my own “pastry bag” for decorating. My daughter loves getting to participate in this and we try to match the decorations with the person we are making the cake for. We did an Islanders hockey jersey for my husband, a trombone and music notes for my mom, etc.

I’m sure that lots of moms don’t have the time to make things from scratch – life is so busy! But, I have nice memories of being in the kitchen with my grandmothers, in particular, and helping or watching, them bake and cook. My mother’s mother always made all of her pies for Thanksgiving and she would make delicious squash bread. My father’s mother would make her best friend’s caramel recipe and I would help her roll the caramels in their little wax paper wrappers. I think those are such nice memories, and I want to give my girls the same experiences. I do make homemade apple pies every year for Thanksgiving, and my daughter loves to eat “Mommy’s cinnamon apples” out of the bowl, and requests them as a treat from time to time.

Of course, “homemade” is not always appreciated… Recently, my 6 year old had been begging me for a week to make a pumpkin pie – I did not remember her liking pumpkin pie, but she reminded me that she had tried it at Thanksgiving last year and loved it! Finally, that weekend I baked one for dessert and she was just about beside herself over it. And then she tasted it, and said, “Oh, I guess I like the store-bought kind better!” Sometimes you just can’t win! ;)


Christine said...

As someone who loves to make "From Scratch" I will say I love brownie Mix brownies. And recently I tried the break and bake cookies and they were quite good!!!

Deanna said...

Actually, one of the moms I met at preschool a couple of years ago, was famous for all of her baking, and even she said that it was not worth making brownies from scratch, because her family preferred the kind from the box!

Did you try the snickerdoodle break and bake cookies? They are really good!

Teamcarbone said...

I stole Chrissy idea of taking the Pillsbury sugar cookies, dipping 1/2 of the cookie in melted chocolate and then I used red and green sprinkles to decorate and gave them away for Christmas. Yummy and fun to do.