According to several "experts" (namely my editor), I've always been the kind of person who needs to take a class in how to say "No."
(And I am working on that)… Meanwhile, I have committed to fabricating holiday gingerbread for a host of events that I will be attending over the next couple of weeks. I figured it would be easy, right? Factor in the various dietary needs of those family and friends who are intolerant of things like gluten, dye and host of other substances that are often found in premade ingredients and it starts to present a bit of a challenge.
It's no secret that I am more of an artist than a baker. As a sculptor, I enjoy working with mediums that I can mold and shape into other cool stuff - hence Gingerbread just makes sense – But how do I do I pull it all off in a manner that is cost-effective, time-efficient and delicious?
Herein lies the challenge.
Furthermore, when you commit to bringing cookies to a holiday gathering what is the generally accepted quantity?
As with any great task, the hardest part is knowing where to start, then you can flesh out your plan of attack and the rest (in theory) should be a piece of cake.
"The most important part is gathering all of your ingredients and tools", according to Chef Clare Egizio, of Sophie's Test Kitchen, of Joliet.
"It is always best to use fresh ingredients wherever possible… things like real butter (unsalted) and raw cane sugar make all the difference in taste," she said. "For gingerbread, things like molasses, real vanilla, and cream of tartar to get the proper consistency for the frosting should top the list."
Putting it all together
For this step I consulted with resident Patch expert and Mom Ala Mode columnist Heather Frelichowski. She is working diligently on providing us with some edible options. Watch for some gingerbread recipes in her column tomorrow.
In the meantime, where does one go if they would like to leave it to the experts all together, in other words, where does one find nine dozen gift-worthy treats to go?
Angie Robinson, manager of Cookies Restaurant in downtown Minooka, can provide help in the holiday catering arena.
"As for cookies, I only do chocolate chip," she said.
I have had them and can attest to the fact that they are amazing.
For large orders of cookies and other such holiday treats Angie recommends Enjoi Bake Shop in Channahon.
When I caught up with Joi Walker, co-owner of EnJoi Bake Shop, she was in the process of making 700 cookies for an area event, all in festive shapes ranging from trees to stars to snowflakes.
"The typical size order for cookies is three to four dozen and our signature cookie is the butter fancy," she said. "We do make gingerbread if it is ordered well in advance (at least 2 weeks).
"And, we do cater to the needs of people who have special dietary requirements as well."
So, it has come to pass that Plan A has been established with a solid Plan B just in case.
Clare Egizio is the executive Chef of Sophie's Test Kitchen, where she designs unique and inspiring food-art for any event or occasion.
Enjoi Bake Shop, Café & Catering is located at 24735 W Eames Street in Channahon. You can also find them on the web at enjoibakeshop.com/catering.