Christmas Baskets

         How would you like to wake up one morning to find that you’re supposed to make gift baskets for a handful of your Dad’s coworkers? These have to be the darn best yummiest treats you ever made and the most adorable looking treats too. Oh, and did I mention that you’re supposed to have these baskets finished and perfect so he can take them to work the next day? Yeah, that too.
         So here I was one Monday evening, trying to put together magic baskets before midnight. There wasn’t room for mistakes. Or time for that matter. Or patience on my part. So I took the easy route and made everything from mix. In the pantry, we had brownie mix, oatmeal cookie mix, lemon cake mix, and Pillsbury funfetti cake mix. So this was what I figured: I’d make oatmeal and funfetti cookies, lemon muffins, and brownies. That seemed good enough. I set to work.

         Brownies first. They always come first. (After God and family, of course.) I mixed the delicious chocolaty gunk, greased my square pan, and poured the mess in. It looked great. But it was missing something. A-ha! A brilliant idea. I could sprinkle some mint chips on top of the brownie. The green chips would add to the festivities, and it would look cool to have a mint coating over the top. They’d look so professional. I was proud of myself already. Now, onto the next dessert.
         Lemon muffins second. If you remember my “Marshmallow Puffs“, I didn’t have a muffin tin then. Well, I still didn’t. But it wasn’t like my dad’s coworkers were going to figure out that I lied to them about the muffins being cupcakes. One thing I did have in my favor was a mini ladle. I know this is a complete girl statement, but that spoon is the cutest little thing! I was loving on it the second I began using it. See, generally, I avoid making muffins or cupcakes or anything that requires me pouring batter into small cups because I’m not graceful, and I spill everywhere. It isn’t nice, nor am I when I’m stuck cleaning up the mess. But because of my amazing little ladle, there was no mess. I’d simply hold the little cupcake paper in my palm, pour the lemon mix in it with my handy dandy ladle, and plop it back into the cupcake tin. No mess, no stress. (Even though it sounds like it, I don’t think I stole that line from an infomercial.)
         Funfetti cookies third. I love these. They’re super easy and mouthwatering. All you do is under cook them a smidge so they’re nice and chewy, and mmm-mm! When the magic ladle was found, I also found another treasure. A little ice cream scooper. It was like Christmas came early this year. I happily used this wonderful tool to scoop my cookie dough into perfect little circles. It’s funny how wonderful little tools can help your life go a lot easier.

They actually turned out . . .well!

         Last, but not least, the oatmeal cookies. I didn’t really look forward to making these because I have to mix the oats with butter that’s supposed to be “softened”. Who seriously knows how to “soften” butter? I always end up melting it. It’s stinkin’ frustrating. I guess the Betty Crocker company has gotten complaints, or I’m just blind, but under where it says the ingredients needed are butter and such, in little red letters, it also says how many seconds you need to heat it in the microwave. The secret code to perfection!

         Surprisingly, everything went well without any massive screw-ups. The only one that happened was that the mint chips I sprinkled on my brownies sank in instead of melting across the top like I had planned. But other than that, it was all good! Now I only had to make them presentable.
         Like I said, my dad bought baskets. I’m used to plates. Baskets were new. But oh well, no use crying about that now. On to the basket problem. It was a little deep, so I had to crumple up wax paper to lift it. That was, until my mom scolded me for wasting our wax paper, then, I switched to crumpling the wrapping paper. It took me a couple minutes of arranging and rearranging desserts and paper and desserts until, finally, I got it to perfection.

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