Baking for Tammy (from The Batmom October 2012)

Talented Tammy, creative cook and clever writer, former co-worker, current GLOW, and creator/author/chef-in-residence at, just wrote a cookbook.

Really just; she sent off the final flour-dusted pages this week, breathing a sigh of relief but leaving the rest of us holding our breaths for an entire year, when Wintersweet hits the shelves.

Oddly, she entrusted me to test a recipe, a straightforward recipe for killer chocolate chip cheesecake cookies. (Killer delicious, not snack-time assassins.)

And this is how the testing went:

Before shopping, I triple-checked my list. Before baking I triple-checked my ingredients.

I’m not a triple-checker. Nothing I cook contains every called-for ingredient. I read the list too quickly, or forget an item at the grocery store, or leave a bag in my car for three days whereupon everything spoils. All of these things happen monthly, and so a recipe in my hands becomes a research project and a game, involving creative guesswork and a constant consulting of the “substitutions” section of my "Joy of Cooking."

However, testing a recipe for a cookbook requires use of exact ingredients, and so I applied uncharacteristic vigor to the entire procurement process. Except I didn’t read the chocolate chip package, and so at 9:30 p.m. last Tuesday, after the PTO meeting and after putting my kids to bed and 12 hours before my report was due to Tammy, I discovered I had purchased Chips Of Unusual Size.

I said a bad word then texted Beth, she of the well-stocked pantry. She had Chips Of Usual Size, and with them in hand, I returned to my bowl-ing.

Whenever I bake, I think about my grandmother and her popovers and her hermits. I remember her when I level flour with a knife, as she taught me; and I remember her as I ignore her instructions to crack eggs into a separate bowl, in case they’re bloody. On Recipe Test Night, I could actually hear her laughing from the Kitchen in the Sky as a vile, red egg slipped out of its shell and onto a pile of carefully measured sugar.

I cleaned out the whole damn bowl and started from scratch, for the first time in my life heeding my grandmother’s egg advice.

After the bloody egg, all progressed simply, enjoyably. (After the bloody egg, I poured myself a glass of wine.) The recipe proved not only delicious but foolproof, I playing the fool. Beth tested blintzes and Danielle tested rum raisin cheesecake bars, and we all met up to pig out.

Everyone declared Tammy a triple killer success: writer, instructor, baker. (Killer amazing, not toque-wearing assassin.) Put Wintersweet on your 2013 list of must-haves. Until then try her other recipes (and enjoy her killer ha ha sense of humor) at her blog,