Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Bedtime Story (25/04/2018)

Sometimes, a story is inspired by the strangest things.  In this case, today's story was inspired by the above gif, which is just so deliciously satisfying, I felt the need to stare at it for a long, long time!

If you'd rather listen to this story as a podcast, just click here!


Outside, the rain was pouring.  Annie and her sister, Bella, were feeling bored.  Their mum had a cold and was napping on the sofa, so Annie, who at almost nine was the oldest, was in charge.  Mum had put on a DVD for the girls to watch, but Annie wasn't interested in it and Bella kept moaning that she was hungry.

"Shall we bake some cookies?"  Annie suggested, the idea suddenly popping into her head.  

Bella frowned and gestured towards their sleeping mother.  "We said we'd stay here, watching the film.  Besides, we're not allowed to touch the oven."

Annie shrugged.  "We'll use the microwave, then," she said.  "Anyway, Mum's tired and not feeling well.  If we go into the kitchen, we won't be in here to disturb her.  And when she wakes up, she'll have some delicious cookies to eat!"

Bella was hungry and the thought of freshly baked cookies was too much to resist.  She quickly nodded and followed Annie into the kitchen.  "Shall I get one of Mum's recipe books down from the shelf?"  She asked, reaching for a stool to stand on.

Annie shook her head.  "We made cookies at school a while ago," she said.  "I think I remember how to do it.  We need flour, first."

She reached into a cupboard and pulled out a bag of flour.  The bag was heavy and the side split as Annie heaved it onto the kitchen counter, sending clouds of flour all over the place.  When the floury dust had finally settled, Annie's hair looked white.

"What do we do now?"  Bella asked.

"Mix the flour with some butter," Annie said, knowingly.  She wasn't sure how much of the flour they needed, so she tipped half the bag into a mixing bowl, creating another cloud in the process.  She didn't quite know how much butter to use either, so she instructed Bella to "finish whatever's in the tub - we've got another one in the fridge, anyway."

It was hard work, trying to mix the flour and butter together.  "It went all creamy when we did it at school," Annie insisted.  "This looks more like breadcrumbs..."

"Are you sure it was flour and butter you mixed together?"  Bella asked, frowning as she watched her sister trying to mix the ingredients with a big, wooden spoon.

"Oh," Annie blushed.  "Actually...  It might have been sugar and butter, instead."  She turned to her sister.  "Quick, get the sugar out of the cupboard!  I'll tip it in, now."

"How much do you need?"  Bella asked, grabbing the sugar.  "All of it?!"

Annie shook her head.  "Let's try one spoonful for every cookie we want to make."  She paused and stared into the bowl.  "How many do we want to make?"

Bella counted on her fingers.  "Well, one for me, one for you, one for Mum, one for Dad when he gets home from work...  And maybe one for Granny and Grandad when they visit at the weekend?  That makes six."

Annie frowned at her sister.  "Do you really only want one cookie?!"  She plucked a random number out of the air.  "Let's put in twenty five spoonfuls.  Then we'll have loads of cookies to share."

It took a long time, adding all the spoonfuls of sugar.  Annie let Bella do it and her hands were a bit shaky, so lots of sugar ended up all over the counter and the kitchen floor.  When they'd finally reached twenty five, Annie started stirring again.  The mixture seemed ever so dry.  It wasn't sticking together at all.

"Isn't the dough supposed to be a bit wetter than this?"  Bella asked.  "Are we supposed to add some milk or something?"

Annie shrugged.  "Maybe?"  She bit her lip.  "Perhaps we should add some, just in case."

Bella fetched the milk bottle from the fridge and poured some into the bowl.  But no matter how hard Annie stirred, the mixture just wasn't sticking together, properly.  "Eggs!"  Annie cried, suddenly.  "I think we used eggs at school!"  She grabbed two eggs and passed them to Bella.  "Crack those into the bowl and I'll keep stirring."

Bella did as she was told, but she'd never cracked an egg, before.  She wasn't sure how to do it.  She hit an egg against the rim of the bowl, like she'd seen Mum do, sometimes.  But the shell didn't break.  "This is a very hard egg," Bella groaned.  She tried again, hitting it harder, this time.  "It won't crack!"  Finally, Bella tried tapping it against the kitchen counter.  That worked!  The shell split open and egg yolk and sticky see-through stuff went seeping out all over the place.

"Quick," Annie yelled.  "Try to catch it so you can put it in the bowl!"

Bella grabbed at the slimy stuff and dribbled it through her fingers into the bowl.  Or rather, she dribbled as much of it as she could actually catch, anyway.  "My hands feel yucky now," she moaned.  "I think we'll only use one egg.  I don't want to do that again."

The kitchen counter was now very messy.  The spilt flour and sugar was mixing with the egg and creating a strange, sticky paste.  And try as Annie might, the mixture in the bowl still wasn't sticking together the way it was supposed to.  It had gone from being too dry, to looking suspiciously like it might be too wet.

"We need some chocolate chips," Annie decided.  "That might make it go thicker."

"Do we have any chocolate chips?"  Bella asked.

Annie wasn't sure.  "We do have some chocolate bars," she told her sister.  "Maybe we can break those up and stick the pieces into the bowl?"

Bella fetched the bars and unwrapped one.  She and Annie broke several big pieces off and chucked them into the mixing bowl.  Annie stirred with her spoon, until she decided enough was enough: "It'll go thicker when it cooks," she declared.  "We just need to put blobs on a plate and we'll cook it in the microwave.  That way, we haven't touched the oven, so Mum can't be cross."

Bella held out a plate, whilst Annie splatted small spoonfuls of the mixture onto it.  The mixture immediately spread around and joined together.  Bella frowned.  "Maybe we'll just make one big cookie?!"

Annie placed the plate into the microwave.  "How long do cookies need to bake for?"  She asked to nobody in particular.  "I think maybe half an hour?"  She fiddled with the dial on the microwave, then pressed the start button.

After a couple of minutes, a strange smell came from the microwave.  And the runny mixture on the plate seemed to be seeping over the edges and out of the microwave door.  "Uh-oh," Annie frowned.  "We'll need to clean that up, before..."

"Before what?!"  Mum's voice jolted the girls out of their thoughts.  Mum glanced around the kitchen, at the spilt flour, the sugar and egg all over the counter and the gloopy mess coming out of the microwave.  "Girls, haven't I always told you not to try to cook anything, without me?!  It's not safe!"  She paused, shaking her head at all the mess.  "What were you even trying to do?!"

"Bake cookies," Bella sighed.  "Annie thought she could remember the recipe, but..."

Mum chuckled to herself.  "You're very lucky that strange smell woke me up," she said.  "I mean it, you mustn't touch the microwave again, until you're old enough to know what you're doing."

"Sorry Mum," Annie mumbled.  "We were just trying to bake some cookies to cheer you up, because you weren't feeling well..."

Mum smiled.  "Well, I'm feeling lots better, now," she assured them.  "And cookies sound wonderful.  Why don't we clear all this mess up and start again from scratch?"

Both the girls thought that was a wonderful idea!

Once the kitchen was clean again, Mum showed them how to cream butter and sugar together.  She demonstrated how to properly - gently - crack an egg into a bowl.  She taught them how to follow a recipe and use the scales to make sure they had the right amount of everything.  Before long, they were all sitting back on the sofa, eating warm chocolate chip cookies, fresh out of the oven.

"These are delicious," Bella grinned.  

"See how well things turn out when you do them properly?!"  Mum laughed.

Annie rolled her eyes.  "I think my cookies would have been fine, if I'd just remembered what order the ingredients went," she insisted.  "And anyway, I helped make these, so I must be quite good at baking."  She sighed to herself.  "I think I'll try making a cake, next."

Mum and Bella grinned at one another.  "Have another cookie, Annie," Mum said.  "I think we've all earned them."


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