Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tasty Gifts, Professor Edition: Part I

The BSU Respiratory Care Department has the best professors in the world, hands down. No other department can boast faculty more effective, more dedicated, or more compassionate than the one I belong to. These are people who voluntarily come in before 5am, sometimes leave long after midnight, and often take their work home with them, all for the enrichment of their students and the furthering of the profession. Each one of them will gladly invite you into their office for an hour or two, whether it's to talk about a concept you don't understand or simply for a good conversation, no judgement and no appointment needed. I have never in my college career met professors who are more genuinely invested in the success of their students.

These are people who inspire me to greatness every day. And for that, I feel I owe them something special, especially at Christmas... something more than a store-bought Christmas card, for sure. But as much as I'd love to buy them each a trip to Hawaii for a much-deserved vacation, finances just never seem to fall the right way to support such intentions... and with 6 faculty members to give to, buying them each something special wasn't really in the budget this year either. So guess where I turned? My kitchen.

Everyone loves sweet treats at Christmas time, right? So cookies, of course, came immediately to mind. Most people would probably opt for some festively-decorated sugar cookies, but here's the thing... I think I might be the only person in the world who actually hates sugar cookies. I don't think I've ever eaten a sugar cookie - store-bought or homemade - that actually tasted good, and unless you have the patience of a saint they never, ever wind up looking like you hope. Between making sure the dough is cold enough not to stick to everything in site, ensuring you haven't rolled the dough so much that the cookies wind up tough and dry, hoping they hold the shape you cut them into, and then praying to dear Jesus that you don't screw up the frosting... the reward hardly outweighs the work in my book. So sorry guys... no sugar cookie recipes here.

So what to make? Surely just one kind of cookie wouldn't do. That seemed kind of lame in comparison to the amount of work these professors put in for me all year. Two kinds of treats didn't seem quite right either... somehow three always feels like a nice even number (even though it clearly isn't, haha). But three kinds of cookies...? That just seemed like overkill. I wanted variety, and something that everyone would like, despite differing tastes.

At first I came up with several ideas involving chocolate... but too much of a good, well, isn't. Then I had several ideas that included hazelnuts or walnuts or macadamias... until I discovered that one of my professors doesn't like nuts at all. Then I thought about making candy... too much work to accomplish during finals week.  So after much agonizing and changing my list several times I decided on these three things: coconut macaroons, raspberry thumbprint cookies, and chocolate-covered pretzels. Good variety of tastes and textures, and, most important during the craziness that is finals, all easy to make.

And to avoid making this the longest post in blog history and losing you all, I will continue this post with the recipes tomorrow! :)

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