Crisis mode

I make it no secret that I have a Vanilla Extract to support. It goes very nicely with the Cocoa Powder habit that I have. Since I have a reputation for backing up things that are rather tasty with these items, I will confess to not really caring what others think about my habits. You can call them a crutch. My kids all know that these things mean good things.

At any rate, when we get to this stage it is a crisis…

This is the very last bottle of Penzeys Vanilla Extract in my house. It is about to be opened. This is truly a crisis at my house. It is the very last bottle. I am not entirely sure how it got to this level. I am usually very good about making sure there at least 3-4 of this sized bottle in the cupboard. There are at least 1-2 of the bottle that are the next size up. Yet, here we are with the very last bottle in the house with its seal about the be broken.

In all honesty, I should confess a little bit to knowing how we got to this stage. I have been baking more. This is good, right? This is a good thing always for the ones that receive it. However, I must confess to actually cracking the seal on the Penzys Double Strength Vanilla Extract and that might have lead to a much faster burn rate. I had bought a bottle of the double strength stuff and I was hesitant to try it. Why ruin a good thing, right? I would have to experiment with it, but when would I do that because I was always making things that I needed to have for something. That was not an appropriate time to experiment. Oh wait, I do that to my family all the time so they would tell you that it as good of a time as any.

At any rate, I had not tried it for the longest time. It was just sitting there in the cupboard, aging. I was being a stubborn hold out. The single strength stuff had me convinced to buy it again and again (and again) so why rush into something that might just be too much. Then again, is there such a thing as too much vanilla? I am not entirely sure. Maybe if you are using the cheap stuff, but with this stuff I am not entirely sure. Anyway, I tried the double strength stuff and it was good stuff. In fact, it was amazing. If I could make something better, I was not sure until I tried this vanilla and all the raves got better.
So there I had this dilemma when that solitary bottle of Penzys Double Strength Vanilla came to an end, what was I going to do? It is a long drive across town to get another bottle. I still had several bottles of the Single Strength Vanilla in the cupboard so I was going to have a wee bit harder time justifying that I was going to need to (1) drive across town to get some and (2) buy more vanilla in the first place. The drive across town was not the problem as I could have come up with any spice in the store to go after and probably pull off an excuse to go to the spice store. It was the fact that I had 4 small bottles of Single Strength Vanilla on the shelf in the cupboard staring me in the face. I had kept buying bottles with every trip to the store to keep my supply up. I had not tried the Double Strength yet so I did not buy another bottle of that.

What was I going to do? I really liked the Double Strength Vanilla. The kids and the husband really liked the cookies that I made with the Double strength stuff. I was facing a serious problem here. I could not justify a trip to the spice store to get more until I at least made a good attempt at cooking through the rest of the vanilla. That was my thinking, anyway. So how did I do it? I just used double the strength. It was simple. If the recipe called for a certain amount and it was good with the single strength and I tried it with the full amount with the double strength, I would put in double the amount at single strength. After a while I just got to the point of just doubling the vanilla. Yes, my friends, this lead to a much faster rate of use of vanilla. We will let this be our little secret.

I am pleased to announced that today, I opened that last bottle of Single Strength Vanilla. I can now go to Penzys and purchase the Double Strength Vanilla until my heart is content. Okay, it will not be until my heart’s content because this stuff is priced just as good as it smells and tastes, but I can now walk into the store without guilt and start to replenish the supplies at home. I am so excited! I will probably still buy a couple of bottles of Single Strength over time because there are times when you just do not need the strength and only need the hint of vanilla, but for the bulk of things I really do prefer the stronger vanilla. Today, I have been liberated to make that decision and purchase as I see fit.

Of course, I have to think my middle child for this opportunity to reach this milestone. He needed a dessert for two tonight for an “etiquette” dinner they are doing at church. As such, he decided he wanted me to make cookies. I thought I would make cookies for my Cub Scouts for tomorrow night as well since we are doing a little Valentine’s Party for the boys. Lance was excited. Andrew needed dessert for two as well since he will be at the same “etiquette” dinner as Kyle. So I needed to make a few cookies. Just a few. I was making a double batch.

This was Kyle’s reminder note to me. He left it on the refrigerator for me. It is complete with the horrible spelling. I am certain he gets that from me. He has had problems with spelling always. His note was effective enough to get me to actually remember to make the cookies. I love this kid.

Here is the cookie dough, ready to go. I was not as happy with it as usual. In my brown sugar rotation, the dark brown sugar was next up for use. I used that for this. I do not normally. It does affect the flavor a little bit. It is not bad, it is just a little different.

A pan of  cookie dough balls ready to go in the oven. No perfection required here. I love this because I do not have to press them down. I do not have to make them perfectly round. I just have to get them scooped onto the pan and pop them into the oven to bake. Now if you do make sure that they are straight on the pan, you might have cookies that do not flatten out and expand into each other. These however do not stick together usually so it is all good.

The finished cookies are what my children wait patiently for. Really, they wait patiently for them. They will devour them fairly quickly if I do not make them wait. I am just grateful for the ability to make cookies that they love so much that they want to eat them until they are all gone.

Andrew and Kyle took a dozen cookies each to their etiquette dinner. Lance got to eat a single cookie. I think that was a big let down for Andrew and Kyle too. The three of them only got to eat a single cookie. This batch of cookies did not make as many cookies as usual so between the 2 dozen I was losing to them taking them tonight and then the almost 3 dozen cookies I would need to take to Cub Scouts tomorrow night there would not be many cookies left. I will have to make them cookies tomorrow for them to consume without guilt.

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