cObjects on Cookie Sheet are Worse than They Appear
By Jody Worsham
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My five-year-old is going to a new school so my reputation as a non-cook had not gotten there yet. That is the only logical reason I can think of for his teacher to ask me to make a dessert for their Thanksgiving Feast instead of asking me to bring paper plates and plastic forks.
It has been four years since the now nine-year-old's kindergarten Gingerbread House fiasco so I mistakenly thought I might have improved over time. I remembered some darling pilgrim's hat cookies a friend of mine had made for a school party so I asked her how she made them.
"Oh, they are so easy," she said which should have been my first clue that this was going to be a disaster. "Remember, I don't cook," I reminded her. "No problem, these cookies are already made so all you have to do is decorate them." That phrase "all you have to do" should have been my second clue.
I bought the fake cheap Keebler knock-off grasshopper cookies that were coated with chocolate icing on the back. That would be the brim of the pilgrim hat. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups would form the crown of the hat only she didn't tell me what size so I bought a package of the regular size and the snack size. Turns out it was the snack size so I ate the package of the regular size to keep my children from getting a sugar overload when they got home from school.
"Now to decorate, use your narrow icing tip, you've probably got that already, with white icing to form the headband around the hat. Use your narrow tip to form the buckle in white icing; then use the yellow to form the buckle. See soooo simple," she said as she was putting the finishing touches on the darling turkey cupcakes she was making for her daughter's class.
First, the only tips I have around the house are 1) Remember turn on the oven before cooking the frozen pizza, 2) Tuesday is 99 cent leg and thigh day at Popeye's, and 3) TV dinners are in the big freezer. I bought the white squirt icing with the attached tips and the Easy Squeeze yellow icing and began to assemble the hats.
Now, she never said to put the cookies and the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in the freezer first. Maybe she just assumed I would know that so by the time I had everything laid out on the cookie sheet the chocolate on the cookies and the peanut butter cups were starting to melt. By the time I glued the peanut butter cups (yes, I used icing) to the brim, the chocolate was sticking to my hands leaving bald spots on the hat crown.
I assembled the tip for the squirt white frosting and aimed it at the spot where the crown meets the brim and twirled the sticky cookie. That was supposed to look like a narrow white band according to my friend. My icing kind of exploded from the tube and resembled a white avalanche completely obliterating the crown. The next one resembled the south of the border influence if the Pilgrims had landed in Galveston. After several attempts, any good milliner would swear whoever put the hat bands on those hats was intoxicated. I wish!
"Just use a quick touch with your flat tip to form the buckle" was rattling in my brain as I steadied my hand for the super easy buckle decoration. My buckle was more of a blob. I gave up on the decorating tip and found a toothpick and sort of drug the extra icing from the headband up to form…something. I couldn't even come close to putting the yellow in the center of the buckle so I resorted to separating out the tiny yellow squares from the candy confetti I had thrown on some birthday cake sometime in the past.
After two hours I had twenty pilgrim hat cookies, sort of. I thought about telling my five-year-old's class that these hats were made by the Indians in their first attempt to assemble English fashion into their culture using native materials…leather, straw, rocks. I'm not sure they would buy it. I'm sure there will be a quick stop at Wal-Mart for already-decorated-cupcakes on my way to school tomorrow.
At least next year, I know I will be asked to supply the paper plates and plastic forks for any school party. I've already got a closet full!