Two finished bags in front of a bag of treats for my husband to take to work (he assembles his bags at work).
I'd apologize for the lack of updates if I didn't think everyone was just as busy as I and therefore not really missing the distraction of my posts. I've been on a baking treadmill over the last week and a half or so getting baking goods together as gifts for students.
Last year, the CH and I gave students a goodie bag with a variety of chocolates and peanut butter cookies. This cost quite a lot and I'm not sure that the students necessarily were keen on the chocolates anyway. They seemed to be far more impressed by the cookies. This year, we decided to go with bags of only homemade goodies both because we felt the students would enjoy them more and it costs about 1/3 of what buying a bunch of candy cost.
Because of this, I've been trying to streamline the baking process and string it out so that things are fresher. Instead of baking 6 dozen cookies and freezing the finished product, I made a double batch of the dough, split it into 6 discs and froze the dough. When we need more cookies, I thaw out the dough and bake up as many as needed for the following day. All in all, this is a labor saver and it also spares me one day of absolutely exhausting baking. One of the biggest drawbacks of of living in Japan is that the oven is so small that you can't get make many cookies at once. I can't even bake two trays at once because they won't bake properly.
What I'm saving time-wise on the peanut butter cookie front, I'm losing on the fact that 3 baked goods take more time than one. Well, "baked goods" isn't really quite right because one of the items is Rice Krispies treats. Yes, I know they are low rent and considered pretty nasty by a lot of people, but the truth is that the students really enjoy them. One of the CH's students liked them so much when she had them during a homestay that she special ordered boxes of the cereal so she could try to make them for herself in Japan. Unfortunately for her, they were spoiled by Japanese marshmallows (which are not make with gelatin like American ones so they don't lend the same texture or flavor to the Rice Krispies treats).
The third item is brownies. Tonight, I made the third pan of them and I think that should be the last of them, but there's still more need for pans of buttery molten marshmallow and another tub of peanut butter dough. We aren't giving the students that much per person (5 cookies, 1 brownie and 1 treat for the CH's students), but when you're doling things out to about 30 people, it really starts to add up. Anyway, I'm hoping to see some free time starting the last week of December and hopefully can get back to life as usual.