Wednesday, September 28, 2011


~Procrastination, Relaxation, Socialization~
The big game plan was to clean the house before we left for vacation last Saturday.  Truly, in my mind, nothing is better than coming home from a relaxing week at the beach to a spic-and-span abode.  As we counted down the days, my mind simultaneously went into vacation and procrastination mode.  I did not clean Monday or Tuesday, and it seems I found another non-memorable reason for not cleaning on Wednesday.  I’m gonna guess I got distracted watching the Buccos game on TV, which I’m pretty sure I inherited this habit from my Gram.  On Thursday, we decided it would be much more fun to relax with a glass of wine.  “We’ll come home from work tomorrow (Friday) and give the house a concentrated effort,” we told ourselves.  We talked a good game, which was so convincing that we may have actually believed us.  Friday came, and the unanimous decision was made:  “We are on vacation NOW.  Heck with cleaning!  Let’s go to the mall and buy new shorts, eat ice cream.”  And so we did.

Vacation, of course, was wonderful.  We did all the usual things: went directly to Target to buy the 55-gallon drum of 187 SPF sunscreen that won’t fit in a quart-size ziploc baggie, had incredibly lazy mornings that would make any three-toed coffee-drinking sloth envious, spent endless hours communing with the rented beach chairs and umbrellas while we caught up on our reading, did our kibble-loving Beagle proud by shamelessly chowing down at all the fave restaurants (some of them twice), raced around the Gulf of Mexico on jet skis, scouted a glorious beachfront condo for next year, and incessantly daydreamed out loud about owning one for ourselves.  Routine…?  I guess so, but we like it!

Nutty as it was, I silently looked forward to the next weekend at home when I could get to that cleaning.  The day after our return, HotDog (The Husband) and D2 (his son) took an overnight trip to visit HotDog’s dad.  And there I was, home alone with the dust and paw prints.

Fast-forward to Sunday.  Laundry all done and a nice sparkling kitchen.  Mind you, I didn’t go all Pull-Everything-Out-of-the-Cupboards-and-Wipe-Down-Every-Shelf-Like-My-Mom-Does kind of cleaning crazy, but it was a very clean kitchen nonetheless.  And it sparked a need to bake.  Yes, I can bake something to take to the new neighbors and introduce ourselves!  Nothing but a Keeper would do, so I went straight for the Gobs recipe.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup Crisco
2 eggs
1 cup sour whole milk
3/4 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup Crisco
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

The fastest way to reap the rewards of this recipe is to make part of the filling, then make the cookies, finish the filling, then assemble.  After years of making the cookies first and waiting impatiently for the first part of the filling to cool, I finally wised up!  Sometimes the idea light bulb takes its time illuminating.

Start by placing the flour in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, slowly whisk in the milk.  I like to use my saucier because the rounded corners make for easy whisking.  Continue whisking until the flour mixture becomes thick.  Transfer it to a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap so it doesn’t form a film.  Set aside and let cool.
Start the cookies by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F.  Cream together the sugar, Crisco, and eggs with the mixer on low speed.
Add the sour milk, boiling water, and vanilla.  The trick to make a cup of sour milk is this: place 1 Tablespoon of cider vinegar in a measuring cup, then fill with milk to make 1 cup.  Let it sit for a couple minutes so it curdles nicely, if that makes any sense.

Next mix your remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then slowly add to the wet ingredients and let the mixer do its thing.
Drop by teaspoonful onto a greased cookie sheet.  I do a dozen cookies on a sheet, baking one sheet at a time for 10 minutes each.  As the cookies come out of the oven, transfer them to cooling racks or your countertop to cool.
When the cookies are done, go back to that filling.  Unless you have the luxury of owning two mixers, wash that mixing bowl of the cookie batter remnants and replace the batter blade with the whisk.  With the mixer on low, cream together the butter, Crisco, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Carefully remove the plastic wrap from the cooled flour/milk glob to avoid getting condensation in it; drain any excess water from around that pasty glob, and add it to the mixing bowl.  Beat on medium-high until fluffy (up to 10 minutes or so).  Refrigerate until it firms up.
Turn half the cookies over so they are ready to receive their dollop of filling.  Distribute spoonfuls of filling to half the cookies until each has its fair share.
Top with remaining cookie halves.

Place on baking sheets and refrigerate until the filling is firm.  Then place in sealable containers and keep refrigerated.  Keeping your Gobs refrigerated serves at least two purposes: it makes the buttercream filling taste better and it keeps it from all squishing out at first bite!

Gosh, I hope the neighbors love ‘em!


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