How many licks does it take?

If you are over a certain age in the US, you probably remember the commercial for Tootsie Pops where a cartoon kid asks a wise owl how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of the sucker. I was reminded of this commercial the other day when I made the Soft gingerbread tiles with rum butter glaze. That is because I had bookmarked this recipe as one to try the first day Sweet landed on my doorstep, but unlike the owl in the commercial it took me more than three attempts before I finally achieved the end goal.

I would set the book out with the intention that I would make the cookies that afternoon. The afternoon turned into the next day, which turned into next weekend. And so it went, with another project or commitment standing in the way of actually baking the cookies. During a couple of attempts I got as far as setting the butter and eggs out to come to room temperature. In both instances the ingredients ended up back in the fridge because I could not get started before it was too late to embark on cookie making. (Although I used to bake until 3 a.m. and still get to work on time, I am no longer motivated to work that hard for a cookie).

One time I even got the sugar and flour measured before I realized that I did not have all of the ingredients needed to finish the cookies (yes, I know I should always check before I start measuring). All told, it took about six tries before I completed the entire process. After tasting these delightful cookies I lamented the previous incomplete attempts.

This is far from the first recipe that has suffered from projectus interruptus, as I like to call it. I cannot count how many times I’ve removed and replaced a block of butter from the refrigerator. Other ingredients spend a day sunning themselves before being tucked back into the cupboard or pantry. When I set a cookbook on the dining room table and ask my husband if he thinks he will enjoy whatever dish I have bookmarked, he just rolls his eyes. He has had his hopes dashed too many times to fall for that again.

Despite the likelihood that I will end up reshelving the book with the recipe unmade any number of times, I continue to bookmark pages and set out ingredients. I know that eventually I will make the dish, and it will be worth the wait. Also, I take comfort in the fact that it has not yet taken me 364 tries before I succeed.

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  • MarciK  on  December 14, 2019

    I can relate. It was before Thanksgiving that I chose a recipe from one of my cookbooks to try. The holidays are a busy time of year with so many other things to make, Thanksgiving Feasts, holiday parties, and this recipe didn’t fit. The book is still sitting bookmarked on my table with the recipe bookmarked waiting for me to buy all the specialty ingredients it requires.

  • lkgrover  on  December 16, 2019

    I sympathize, as I also frequently experience “projectus interruptus.” Thanks for the fun term & the encouragement!

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