Sometimes You Just Need to Bake Cookies

It has been a busy time in Springfield, prepping to leave for the Tour de Ohio in ONE WEEK! A lot of working, shopping, and readying the house, car, and dog for a week of traveling has kept us occupied.

Yesterday was my day off so I tried to cram as much as I could into those extra 8 1/2 hours of free time. I got in a workout, finished and emailed the daily bakery production Excel sheet for the past 4 months to the bakery, paid the personal property tax on my car from when we lived in St. Louis, and brushed up my resume (complete with a back page of carefully chosen pictures displaying a bit of my bakery aptitude.) I was going to take some time out of my day to drop my resume off at some of the higher end bakeries in town.

I chose 10:30 am as the time visit 2 of the 3 higher end bakeries I had researched online – I figured I could slide in there post morning-rush and prior to lunch hour.

I had to wait a good 20 minutes to see the manager at the first location, which was a bakery / cafe in a beautiful brick Victorian home downtown. The bottom of the charming building was the business and the family who owns it, actually lives in the upstairs. When I arrived at 10:30 there was still a line! I felt bad pulling the manager away from work for even just a minute. Once he was able to see me I introduced myself, explained that I was currently a cake decorator in town with a business degree but felt like I was hitting a ceiling where I was and that I was searching for new opportunities. He seemed pleased when glancing over my resume, said he would be sure to hold on to it and thanked me for taking my time to stop in. Based solely on the charm of the building, ambiance of the cafe, and the genuineness of the owner / manager I am planning on returning to experience the food and service too. You can find a write-up on the location from Midwest Living here: http://www.midwestliving.com/travel/illinois/incredibly-delicious/

The next place I ventured to only does specialty cakes. When I walked in the door not a soul was to be found in the 3 visible rooms or behind the counter. I took a minute to peruse the display cakes and price sheet located on the front counter. It was evident that wedding cakes are the focus of this business but based on the three smaller boxes with order tickets taped on them on the back counter – they must also do some decent business in birthday and other special occasion cakes.

A couple minutes after entering a friendly young girl came out to greet me. I asked her if I could speak to the manager. She went to the back and returned another couple minutes later to tell me the manager was busy baking and could not step away. I could return in an hour if I wanted or I could leave my resume with her.

Minus 50 points for “not being able to step away” (Side note: yes, I do assign points to life events just like professors assign points to the houses in Harry Potter). The manager at a BUSY bakery / cafe downtown made an effort to see me and you can not spare a minute of your time when there are NO CUSTOMERS in your establishment??

I was polite to the young girl and gave her my resume and explained my situation. She told me that she did not think the owner was currently hiring but that she admired my work and would put my resume “at the top of the manager’s to-do list”.

I drove away from the resume drop a bit defeated. I knew going in that small businesses usually do not take on extra help, and if-and-when they do, there is a small window of hiring time. As of now, it seems to get on staff at one of these places would have to be a “right place, right time” situation.

I carried on with my day successfully finishing all Christmas shopping, doing some more house cleaning, and then I just needed a break. I needed to give my brain a break from planning future businesses and wondering about high end bakery hiring scenarios and cleaning, and making lists, and prepping for our return to the Buckeye State. So I baked cookies.

Generally deciding what sweets to bake at home is a laborious process as I am married to someone who does not like sweets. However, over the past couple weeks Levi and I had both mentioned that we were hungry for oatmeal cookies. I turned on Pandora, grabbed my KitchenAid, and tuned out the outside world.

Iced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Cookies:

1 C. Unsalted Butter (room temp)
1 C. Sugar
1 C. Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 1/4 C. Flour
2 C. Instant Oats
1 ½ cups raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together sugars and butter. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well.  Add salt, baking soda, baking powder, flour and mix until just combined.  Gently mix in oats and raisins. Place rounded balls of dough approximately 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool on pan for 2 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

Icing:
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
8 tablespoons milk

Once cookies are completely cooled, move to wax paper. Whisk together powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Frosting should be thick. Add more or less sugar / milk to achieve desired consistency. Use a large spoon to dollop frosting on each cookie and smooth. Frosting will run over edges (that’s what the wax paper is for!) Allow the glaze to completely harden before storing. Since the frosting does contain milk, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

IMG_0961

out of the oven!

pre icing! I left some unfrosted because these are delicious plain too!

Post frosting! These are stackable once the frosting has hardened

All packaged up for Levi to take to work

After baking I had successfully diverted my attention from all of the to-dos and had returned to the Christmas spirit – where all that really matters is family, friends, happiness, and baked goods!

P.S.

An update on some of the sub 8:00 min /mile 5K training runs

  • 3 miles at 24:03, an 8:01 / mile pace
  • Interval workout: 1 mile at 7:52, walk .25 miles, .75 miles at 7:30, walk .25 miles, .5 miles at 7:15, walk .25 miles, .25 miles at 6:58, walk .25 miles
  • 4 miles at 33:46, an 8:26 / mile pace
  • 3 miles at 23:49, a 7:56 / mile pace

The Christmas wreath on our front door. If you go to Lowe's they have a big basket of tree trimmings you can have for free to make a wreath!

"The Kitchen Sink" aka the most spirited house we've found so far in Springfield. Complete with 5 Santa's, a manger scene with elves overlooking, an inflatable puppy as tall as the house (wearing a santa hat) and an inflatable Snoopy.

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