05 December 2010

cookies and kitchens

One of my favourite activities is baking with my kids. Each of them has started experimenting
in the kitchen not long after they could walk. All of them love it.

The problem I have encountered over the years is my kitchens have never been able to accommodate a large group of bakers. I have never had an island in my kitchen and I have never had ample counter space. For example my current kitchen is five feet by ten feet - in total. So when the cupboards, counters, fridge and stove are added in there is VERY little space for anyone other than myself in the kitchen.

 Usually what happens is My oldest and my middle son argue over who had the last turn and they recount all the baking that has been done over the past few weeks to see whose turn it is (both my daughter and middle son site chef as a desirable future career). If my youngest is in the mood, he just boldly tells everyone else to get out. He is the youngest of four and not afraid of anybody. He is definately the alpha male when it comes to his siblings.

My oldest son also loves to cook, but not enough to get involved in the "whose turn is it" battle. So, every once in a while (and yes I do realize I need to make a chart or something), I step in and announce that it is my oldest son's turn. This week was his turn and I enjoyed watching him so much.

We made Martha Stewart's Hazelnut thumbprints...

But, instead of filling them with jam as Ms. Stewart suggests ( I rarely follow recipes exactly; I always like to adapt them a little) we decided to fill them with...

dulce de leche...YUM! I love dulce de leche. I bought a jar of the Bonne Maman brand when I was in Quebec this summer and I had been waiting for an opportunity to open it up and use it. It was well worth the wait. The caramel and toasted hazelnuts were so good together.

My son and I had such a good time together; we really need to do it more often...

Which makes me think of my small house experiment. While in many ways it is a good thing...I have been dreaming of a big country kitchen for about a decade now. I really do want a big island that my entire family can fit around to bake cookies, make chocolates and decorate gingerbread houses. Especially at this time of year. I don't need a big house...

just a big kitchen.

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