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Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Home for Sugar and Meringue?

I've talked before about my need to find a kitchen space that I can license so that I can sell and market my cookies and cupcakes legally. This has been a huge obstacle. Kitchens aren't easy to find and they don't come cheap. However, without a kitchen, I can't really market my baked goods and I feel like some opportunities could pass me by, 'cause I'm just not set-up like I need to be.

My Options:

1. Rent something- However, kitchen space for rent is almost non-existant in my area.The few places I do know of that might be available would cost an arm and a leg. Even if I quit my job and baked all day every day, I probably couldn't get enough cookies made to pay the rent let alone make a living. I may be able to split the rent with another baker but I'm not too crazy about sharing.

2. Build something- My husband knows how to build things. He's an HVAC guy so he knows how to do the heat, air, electrical and plumbing too. We might even be able to get some lumber from his folks (they tore down an old barn). I've found some adorable plans for some tiny cottages online. Problems… finding the time to build something and finding a place to build something. Finding an inexpensive lot with no covenents might be difficult.

3. Buy something- There's a sweet little house on the market and it's affordably priced. It would cost the same or less than building something and the payments would be significantly less than rent. I know the people who are selling it. They're trustworthy. I could try the cookie thing for a couple of years, if it doesn't work, sell the place and probably recoup most of the cost or rent it out. Problems… This place is affordable because it's 10 miles out in the country in the middle of a run-down neighborhood. Lots of ramshackle houses and run down mobile homes. Financing… do I try to get a small business loan, refinance our house and add this one on, find a grant? I can't tell you how much time I've spent searching for a grant to apply for. My dad has written and recieved many grants for his job so he's been looking too and we're just not finding anything. By the time I figure out a way to pay for this house, it will probalby be gone.

What to do?

Anyway… my favorite junk shop had all their books 1/2 off this weekend and I got a whole bunch of great vintage cookbooks for my etsy shop plus a few other fun things. Aren't those little girl candles sweet? I also got a really cool old metal cabinet for $25. For that price, I couldn't let it go, but honestly, I have no where to put it. (I need to buy another house!)

We were expecting a blizzard this weekend so I prepared by baking cookies… of course. I pulled out my 1963 copy of Betty Crocker's Cooky Book and made cream cookies. They're shown in the mosaic above.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cookies by Candlelight

I'm not much of an environmentalist. The environment (and my effect on it) is just one of about a million things I know I should pay more attention to. However… we did celebrate "Earth Hour". It was a great excuse to make everyone turn everything off and play cards with me. We lit some candles, played some UNO and ate some of my daughter's fresh baked homemade chocolate chip cookies. It was heavenly.

Anyway… since I'm a cookie blogger, not an environmental blogger… let's talk chocolate chip cookies.

I know the New York Times covered this topic way back in July. Chocolate Chip Cookies are old news. But they're a current topic at my house. My daughter has been baking them almost weekly. She makes a big batch, freezes the dough and whenever her friends come over she serves them a batch of fresh baked cookies. She uses the recipe I've carefully developed through the years.

Here's my Recipe:

3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. margarine
1/2 c. shortening
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 egg
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 bag of milk chocolate chips

Beat brown sugar, sugar, butter, margarine and shortening until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg, blend well. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Chill dough. (1-36 hours, whatever fits your schedule). Use a cookie scoop to drop on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 min.

When I was a kid I remember going to a friend's house and spending the whole afternoon playing in the hay loft in their barn. They had a rope tied to the rafters and we'd swing from it and then drop into a big pile of loose hay. Then we made forts and tunnels out of the haybales. When we finally decided to go inside, her mom presented us with a big plate of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. It was such a fun day, and still one of my favorite childhood memories. Maybe that's why I'm such a fan of chocolate chip cookies.