Last week, I attended a panel about women entrepreneurs in the food industry. One of the speakers started a baking business while working full time as a corporate lawyer. She spoke of sleeping just four hours a night, churning out bagels and rugelach until the wee hours of the morning, then suiting up for a long day with demanding clients.
Despite having worked a twelve hour day, I went home right after the panel and baked some M and M pretzel bars--no lawyer's gonna beat me in the overachiever olympics. As I cut into the pretzel bars around 10:30 that night however, eyes drooping, I reevaluated my competitiveness. Baking, for me, is supposed to be fun--forcing oneself into exhaustion to meet some ridiculous, self-imposed "challenge" makes no sense at all.
That said, our annual holiday open house this weekend had no shortage of cookies on the buffet table--some, like the parmesan biscotti and peanut butter oatmeal cookies, were the result of savvy dough freezing earlier in the month. Others, including the linzers, cheddar thumbprints, and cranberry orange walnut drop cookies, were whipped up Friday night. All are repeat recipes--the thumbprints come from last year's Washington Post, which recommends either onion jam or pepper jelly for the filling. The simple cranberry orange cookies have been in my repetoire since 2002, a little bit different every time. The original recipe calls for pistachios, fresh ginger and fresh cranberries, but I left them out this year and they were still a hit.