I love to cook and bake. Absolutely love it. However, cooking for others scares the crap out of me, despite approximately a billion girls night dinners and thanksgivings and holiday bakings and whatnot. I start to get incredibly paranoid, thinking to myself "What if I accidentally make people ill?" or "What if my palate is completely off and what I think tastes amazing actually tastes like dirt?" Weeks of preparation commences (though nothing quite like the Thanksgiving of '08, in which I was glued to FoodNetwork for a month in advance, scribbling down notes on the best way to brine a bird, and weighing the pros and cons of to stuff or not to stuff. Exhausting.), but nothing can really prepare you for baking in Prague.
There are two major setbacks when attempting a culinary masterpiece here. The first is that it is nearly impossible to find all of the ingredients listed in your US/UK recipe. Vanilla extract took weeks of hunting around, only to find it (insanely overpriced) in Marks and Spencers. Baking soda and baking power took hours of staring at the baking
Recipes in hand and having sourced (most) of the ingredients, I set out to bake up a storm. Christmas music on, hot chocolate nearby, and go. I had it in my mind that I was going to make my great-grandmother's molasses cookies, though no one could find a copy to send me so I went to the internet and tried to find one as close as possible. This is what I came up with - Molasses Cookies (allllmost like Grandma Tyler's):
Safe to say that my fears of things tasting delicious to me but disgusting to others was offput by the fact that we managed to eat all five dozen cookies that I made in about four days. I also made Paula Deen's Gooey Chocolate Cookies as a back up plan (figured one I would probably mess up, but two recipes means my odds are slightly better).
I set off to the gorgeous apartment of Sarah Lambersky to swap cookies with the other Prague Bloggers taking part. It was an absolutely lovely afternoon - it was great to meet new people and get their take on what it's like being an expat here - all of them have great advice on what to do and where to go, and were all terribly nice. Had a fantastic time. Be sure to czech out their blogs, as they are all great resources about living in Prague: Out of the Event, Czeching In and Petsky in Praha. And luckily for everyone involved, Sarah is a much better photographer than I am, and took some nice shots of the goodies:
Happy Holidays!Paula Deen's Gooey Chocolate Cookies