Table Scraps 

Sweet finds for the holidays

I am learning how to cook. It’s a slow process. I’ve mastered anything that doesn’t require an oven or least something on an element that isn’t interrupted by a phone call.

Another frying pan joined my pot graveyard this weekend. I didn’t even get as far as putting something in it other than the oil that burned black. Apparently, I can’t talk and cook at the same time.

I should have applied this knowledge to my first Christmas baking social last weekend where I quietly tried to scoop out an overzealous pile of cloves from the gingerbread dough mixture, shushing my partner in crime, hoping Whistler’s equivalent of Martha Stewart manning the mixer hadn’t noticed.

Follow the recipe. You would think that would be simple enough. I even declined a glass of wine not wanting to D&D — drink and dry out the poor unsuspecting cookies ready to become what I like to call European brown, a nice term that I’ve consoled myself with instead of further deteriorating my inner Betty Crocker with burnt black.

I think declining alcohol was my first mistake of the afternoon.

It was a marathon of butter, flour and sugar as the baking team of four ladies mixed, rolled and chilled an assortment of baked goods.

After my ingredient hiccup, I stuck to what I do best: chatting and cleaning.

The token mom of the group whipped out fudge and peanut brittle at the speed of a microwave counting down from three minutes while Ms. Stewart ventured into fussy Italian cookies accessorized with jam and common shortbread, jazzed up with lemon zest and icing dustings.

This was serious business, with half a dozen recipes cranked out as Ms. Stewart called out ingredients while the rest of us took orders and the assembly line of cookies and candy moved from mixing bowl to fridge to oven.

No one was even eating the dough or licking off the beaters. What was the point of baking without making yourself sick off the kind of dough your mom would wag her finger at saying you would get worms?

I opened the can of worms and pretty soon we were chatting over sugarcoated beaters.

While I enjoyed the great company, and was heartened to see even Ms. Stewart pull out a round of “European brown” delights, I’d sooner drive to Squamish at 4 p.m. on a Sunday during the holidays than try baking again.

There are so many easier ways to indulge in sweets ready made in Whistler.

Of course I never need an excuse to indulge in sweets, but Christmas is the time of year when you don’t even feel the faintest hint of guilt when indulging in a chocolate-covered frozen banana rolled in crushed toffee brittle from Rogers’ Chocolates — and then pocketing a ginger cream dark chocolate medallion for later.

Other sweet-tooth fantasies include Whistler’s Own Bakery mini chocolate chip cookies at Nesters Market, caramel apples at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, almond croissants at Hot Buns Bakery, apple pie at Moguls, energy bars at Alpine Bakery, chocolate lava cake at the Trat, chocolate pot de crème at the Fifty Two 80 Bistro, vanilla gelato and caramel sauce at Milestone’s, tiramisu at Pasta Lupino, Chai tea milkshakes at Behind the Grind and banana chocolate cake at Cracked Pepper, just to name a few.

So enjoy the sugarplums dancing in your head without the headache of baking this holiday, leaving you time to ski off the indulgences on the mountain.

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