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Christmas/advent calendar 2012 - Day 22

"There's only a few days left before we leave to go to the Tok'ra base!" Daniel said eagerly. "We should bake some cookies and make Christmas candy!"

"Yeah, we already have Christmas holiday from school, so that's a great idea!" Martouf agreed.

"Okay." Sam shrugged. "I'm in. What kinda cookies?"

"Gingerbread cookies!" Daniel insisted. "And shortbread cookies... and, um, and chocolate chip cookies?"

"You're forgetting coconut macaroons!" Sam said.

"That is lots of cookies! How can we even get the in-gredients?" Freya asked.

"We ask Teal'c or Janet to take us to a store," Martouf suggested.

"But it's supposed to be a secret that we're making them!" Sam argued.

"True," Martouf admitted. "But we also need to use a kitchen somewhere. Who can we ask?"

"Cassie!" Sam grinned. "She'll be home for Christmas, she told me! She'll also help us get the in-gredients, and let us use Janet and Rhiva's kitchen while they're not there! I'm sure of it!"

"Oh, we need a gift for her!" Freya exclaimed, horrified they had forgotten.

"Quickly! What do we get her?" Martouf asked.

"A scarf like the one we gave Janet... sometime," Daniel suggested. "I know Cassie wants one. She said she really liked it."

"Okay. Let's order one of those, have it sent fast, and then make a list of what we need for the cookies," Sam said.

"You're forgetting the candy! We want to make candy too!" Martouf reminded her.

"Right. What kinds of candy?" Sam grabbed a pad of paper and a pen.

"Marshmallows," Freya immediately suggested.

"Candy canes," Daniel said.

"Caramel - and Lantash wants licorice," Martouf added.

"I'm not sure we can make those kinds of candy ourselves." Sam frowned. "Let's check online!"

The children had called Cassandra, and she had quickly agreed to help them with their plan. The next day she drove Janet/Rhiva to work at Stargate Command, then left to buy the ingredients they had asked her to.

It was just after noon, when she returned to Stargate Command. She had a surprise for the children - she had talked to one of the cooks working in the kitchen at Stargate Command, whom she knew her well from when she had come her as a little girl, and the cook had happily agreed to let the children bake cookies and make candy in the smaller extra kitchen. That was only used during times when extra many people were at the base - for instance if they were housing refugees. Right now it was holiday season, and there were even fewer people here than otherwise, so the extra kitchen would not be used.

"We're allowed to bake cookies here?" Sam asked.

"Yes, Donna here is the one in charge, and she says you can use it." Cassandra indicated the cook, who smiled at them.

"Absolutely, kids - and we've got lots of pots and pans - and cookie cutters and tins - that you can borrow."

"Woaw! Thank you so much!" Martouf said, happily.

"Sure thing." Donna looked at Cassandra. "Just call me if you need anything, okay?"

"We will, but I think we're good. Thanks!" Cassandra turned to the children. "Just remember - don't make too much of a mess. You have to clean up after yourself!"

"Of course!" Daniel promised.

"We'll call you when we're finished," Sam said.

Cassandra shook her head. "No, I'm staying here. It can be dangerous to make cookies - the oven gets very hot, and there's some machinery in here that you can hurt yourself on. I'm staying here with you... as for the candy? Well, you are going to cook caramel, and I'm not letting you do that on your own! Janet would kill me!"

"Look at all the pretty gingerbread men!" Anise exclaimed. "Do you want me to decorate them?"

"Not yet, Anise," Cassandra said. "They're too hot. If you put icing on them now, it'll just melt and run away."

"Oh." Anise looked unhappy, then blew on one of the cookies, hoping to cool it that way. She carefully touched it. "Ow!"

Cassandra sighed. "Yup, they're hot. Leave them alone! Okay? Let me put them on the rack, so they can cool, then you guys can start a new batch."

"Can I start making caramel?" Martouf asked, eagerly. "Please?"

"And can we have several kinds of caramel? Chocolate, with nuts, lemon..." Sam pleaded.

"We found a re-cipe for marsh-mallows. We must make some!" Daniel insisted.

"I agree. I will help you while the cookies cool," Anise said.

"Don't forget the other cookies you have!" Cassandra told them. "You've got three kinds of dough mixed, that are just waiting to be rolled out and cut into cookies!"

"Ooh, I forgot about that!" Daniel said, looking unhappy.

"I can make some of the cookies, I suppose..." Sam said, looking with concern at the large portions of dough waiting to be rolled out.

"Don't worry, I'll help you roll it out, then you can punch out the cookies," Cassandra offered.

"Thanks." Sam looked at her, relieved.

"Great, then I'll get started on the marsh-mallows!" Daniel said, happily.

"Can I begin making caramel?" Martouf begged.

"You can begin finding all the ingredients and pots and stuff, but I need to supervise it when you cook it - it's going to get very hot," Cassandra said.

"Okay." Martouf ran off to find out what he needed for the caramel.

"Can I help you with the marsh-mallows, Daniel?" Anise asked.

"Sure, of course!" He smiled at her. "This is the list of in-gre-dients."

"Yield... 100 pieces. That is far far too few!" Anise exclaimed. "We are bringing them with us to the Tok'ra base, right? We need ten times as many, or each person will only get a few!"

"I agree," Daniel said. "Do you think ten times as many is enough? I can easily eat 100 myself!"

Anise looked speculative. "Hmmm... well, maybe not everyone want to have very many... but we should still mul-tiply by twenty instead, I think."

"Okay. I'll find pen and paper, and we'll get that cal-cu-lated!" He ran out of the kitchen and into the room beside it, where they had left some of their stuff. He returned quickly. "Here."

Anise nodded. "Thank you... see, the recipe says 1 cup of sugar... so we need twenty cups of sugar. Then... 2 times 20... that equals 40 tablespoons... of glu-cose syrup..."

"Okay, I have that!" Daniel said. "What do I do with it?"

"Put it in a saucepan with a thick bottom... a large one, I guess."

Daniel rummaged around and found a huge pot. "Done."

"Add water... it says ¼ cup... so we need... hmm... 5 cups of water."

"And then I just heat it, right?" Daniel asked.

"Wait... wait!" Cassandra exclaimed, running to where they were working. "You must be very careful with that - sugar gets scalding hot!"

"We are careful!" Daniel and Anise said at the same time.

Cassandra sighed, noticing how much sugar they had in the pot. "Isn't that an enormous portion?"

"Not if we are to make enough for everyone!" Anise insisted.

Cassandra groaned, then shook her head. "Oh well, I guess you already mixed up the water and sugar, so you can just as well use it." She went back to check on what Sam and Martouf were doing.

"Great! Thanks!" Daniel looked relieved. He turned to Anise. "What's next on the re-cipe, Anise?"

"We should cook the stuff until it reaches 210 degrees Fahren-heit. Then put... um..." Anise mumbled in a low voice, "7 times 20... that equals 140..." She continued in a normal tone of voice. "Yes, 140 leaves of un-flavoured ge-latin in water, and let it soak. Then pour away the water and melt the ge-latin."

"That sounds like a lot of gelatin!" Daniel said.

"It is a large portion," Anise reasoned.

Daniel shrugged. "True. What do I add next?"

"Let the stuff in the pot cook until it reaches about 240 degrees Fahren-heit. While it cooks... whisk together egg whites and pow-dered sugar."

"How much? You didn't mention egg whites and pow-dered sugar before!"

"Sorry. Hmm... they say 3 egg whites, so we should use..." Anise calculated it on the paper. "60 egg whites."

"Wow, I hope they've got enough!" Daniel went to the refrigerator and looked. "Okay, I think there's enough. Just." He took out the boxes and carried them to the table, where he began working.

"You mix it with..." Anise sighed. "2 times 20... that is... 40 tablespoons of pow-dered sugar."

"Okay," Daniel said, after some time. "What then?"

"We check the temperature of the gooey stuff in the pot," Anise told him.

"I'll do that," Cassandra said, hurriedly. She checked with a thermometer. "242 degrees."

"Whoa! That's too much! Do we start over, then?" Anise asked, scared.

"No, I think it's close enough." Cassandra smiled at them.

"Cassie? I've cut out all the cookies! Can you roll out more dough?" Sam called out.

"Yes, coming, sweetie!" Cassandra sighed, and ran to help Sam, throwing one more look at Daniel and Anise. "Careful, okay?"

"Cassie? Can you help me afterwards?" Lantash called. "I found all I need for the caramel - and several pots, so I can make different tastes."

"In a moment, honey!" Cassandra said, close to regretting she had promised helping them with this.

"I poured the sugar-goop into the egg-mix... and added the ge-latin. What now?" Daniel wondered.

"Keep whisking until it cools and becomes harder... and shiny," Anise read aloud.

"But my arm hurts!" Daniel complained. "It's your turn to whisk it!"

Anise nodded slowly. "Okay."

Daniel jumped down from the chair he was standing on, and Anise climbed up instead. She took hold of the eggbeater and started whisking. "It's heavy work!" Anise complained.

Cassandra noticed what they were doing. "Sweetheart! Why don't you use the electric mixer!"

"There's an electric mixer?" Daniel exclaimed. "Why didn't you tell me before?"

"I didn't notice - I'm helping all of you at the same time, right?" Cassandra pointed out.

"Yeah, okay..." Daniel grumbled.

Cassandra set up the electric mixer to run on slow speed. "Now - just keep an eye on it, okay?"

"The marsh-mallows are almost finished." Anise said. "That's good!"

"Yes, but my arms hurt! You'll have to do the rest!" Daniel insisted, unhappily.

"I cannot do all that on my own!" Anise exclaimed. "We need to mix potato flour and powdered sugar and put in a pan, then take the marsh-mallow mixture and pour into a..." She looked at the word again. "Pi-ping bag? Is that a word?"

"I think it's used to decorate cakes - or push some other goop out in thin or thicker lines," Daniel explained, helpfully.

"Hm. So we use that to make thick bars that are rolled in the pan with sugar/flour mix. Let cool, then cut to cubes and roll in sugar/flour mix," Anise said, reading the recipe.

"That sounds like an awful lot of work! Why didn't we just buy all the candy? I'm sure it's gonna taste bad also!" Daniel exclaimed, getting a dispirited expression.

"Why are you so negative?" Anise complained.

"Sore arms. They'll do that to you." Daniel lay down on the floor.

Anise shook her head, then turned to the others. "Can anyone else help me? Please?"

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