Archive for May, 2012

Hungarian Shortbread: A multi-tasking muddle

Well, I did it again! My baking suffered another disaster as I tried to do too much at once! When I read the recipe early in April. I thought, “Okay! I can stretch this one out over 3 days, making the dough, the jam, then putting it together.” Makes sense? Well, I hadn’t counted on the ‘April is the cruelest month’ adage. You know, April is disaster month. Don’t let those pretty daffodils, blue bonnets, and lilacs fool you! April is historically the month of disasters! Think Titanic, assassination of Preside Lincoln, and, of course, those pesky taxes we all pay every year! (And as an added bonus to those of who are independent consultants: the first quarterly tax!) Ah, but I digress.

From the time I first read the recipe to the actual baking, three weeks passed. In that time, our rescued track chick, Iris (greyhound) broke her leg and it was found to be osteo-sarcoma. Her leg was removed and she starts chemo soon. On top of that, I had enrolled in a professional development workshop that required some focused work and 5 online tests. There was no opportunity to re-schedule. Additionally, I found some consultant work in the state next door and have been traveling to let them know that I’m a pretty darn good selection for the work. So between running back and forth between states and back and forth to vet hospitals and attendance to professional development training, and all those other nagging details of one’s life to be attended to, I then started the Hungarian Shortbread!

My first mistake was making the jam first. That boxed me into having to make the dough and baking it within the 4 day time frame (See! I did read those directions!) It was my first time working with vanilla beans and this was a success! However, the price was a whopper – even though I bypassed those Madagascar beans for those grown in the U.S., it was still a commitment.

The second mistake, and it was recoverable (but just to make this a bit more interesting. . . ) I inadvertently added the flour and sugar together. What was I thinking????? I had to throw it all out and start over with the flour and sugar. The success here was the softened butter (all 4 sticks) was safe.

The third mistake was timing. And it was the most stupid of mistakes! I know better! On the third day (after the jam and after dough were successfully safe) I grated the dough and put it together. Now mind you, I was multi-tasking. I was writing a report and doing some laundry and thinking about how I was going to take this shortbread to my next door neighbor who has five kids and would burn off those calories in no time flat. But the third mistake was: I didn’t set the timer. I looked at the clock to see when I put the shortbread in but then I did what is the downfall of multi-taskers. I DID NOT REMEMBER THE FRIGGIN TIME!!!!!

The fourth mistake: I didn’t check the center to see if it was baked through.

The fifth mistake: I didn’t check the shortbread as it was baking for the golden brown topping.

The sixth and final mistake: I pulled it from the oven anyway, probably 10 minutes early and let it cool. I DID remember to put it out of reach of our other counter cruising greyhound Sam. (There’s a bit of success!)

Result: I have a mistake laden Hungarian Shortbread! BUT! I also have a number of lessons learned. And I know the successes: the dough and the jam turned out great. So, yes, I will make this again since I still have 1 vanilla bean left in that jar. . .

Meanwhile, we are coping and caring for our Iris. She is a brave soul who has accepted her fate and is re-learning to balance and climb the stairs. She is a happy girl and we want to make all her days good ones. My husband and I count our blessings and know that our ‘rough patch’ and my mistakes are hardly anything to become upset about. The consulting work is coming in and the test can be re-taken (yes, I failed the first time. .. ), and we have some lilacs blooming – even with the cold snap we had earlier this month that destroyed most of the tender buds.

And there are other things to bake. Like sticky buns!

Take care and enjoy your spring – the cruel month of April is over!