Santa’s Little Helper: Don’t Make An Outlandish Recipe You Have Never Made
When I first started baking and cooking as an early teenager, my grandmother imparted some wisdom to me about entertaining for large groups. Although I had mastered simple cookie recipes and easy pancakes, she encouraged me to be mindful of the occasions in which I went for those prize winners — you know, triple-layer cakes with fruit finishes and pumpkin spice loaves. Although I definitely had those big, more ambitious recipes pasted into my cookbook, she advised me to not save those for the holiday season.
When you have family and friends waiting in the next room and you’ve bragged all month about how you have this fabulous recipe for mint chocolate brownies, that last thing you want to be doing is troubleshooting your deflated creation. If you have that special starred, double-highlighted, spectacular recipe that you’ve been saving for Christmas brunch of the first night of Hanukkah, attempt it now. Prepare it at least once so you can see what the dish actually looks like (as opposed to the pretty perfect picture), what complications you’ll run into, and what that flourless chocolate cake will taste like once it has been made by your own hands.
Doing a run through of your dream recipe can save you a meltdown this Yuletide season, as you’ll be able to not only produce something predictably delicious but without the stress of wondering if it will be as you expected. You’ll also save yourself the embarrassment of presenting something that you’re not proud of, or that you wish had tasted differently. Not all grand recipes are as gorgeous tasting as they look, and after a practice run you might discern that that mint pie isn’t as wonderful as you hoped.
Dream big and aim high for that Christmas Eve dinner, but test those gingerbread pancakes and be skeptical of that coffee cake before you commit.