During the third attempt, I had ditched my last recipe and written down one I had located elsewhere on the Internet. Much to my frustration, Jon's mother was not too helpful with advice. It was like she was hiding the family recipe from me so her boy would dump me. "Oh dear," she chortled, "you don't make kolaches off of recipes. You have to learn in person." Oh screw it.
At this time, I was in the middle of health food kick. All organic, hormone-free, cage-free goodness was only what was good for me. I had on hand some whole wheat flour full of fibery goodness. Low fat milk and margarine to boot. What could possibly go wrong! I would just lose a bunch of calories and add to the overall health of the beloved treat.
Ummm yea right.
So I gruel over stiff batter beaten by hand with a wooden spoon. I lovingly pour my $10 bag of organic wheat flour into my low fat, scalded, organic (read $5 a gallon) milk. Then, I mix in the tub of margarine as a substitute for the 300 sticks of butter the recipes seem to require.
At this time, Jon steps in and says "smells good in here". Turns out, the dough was actually starting to smell like it was supposed to. I do a mini-victory dance, known in this household as the "smarty-pants dance".
I get all proud and teary-eyed over my whole wheat, kolache-smell-alike dough and begin to cut it into the "walnut size" balls every recipe calls for. Now, to let them rise for the 14th time... I wait.
I wait some more....
I turn on all the lights in the kitchen to warm it up.....
I turn on the stove to heat it up some more....
The balls kind of spread out instead of fluffing up.
At this point, the dough balls had been "rising" for hours. I finally said, "The hell with it!" and popped them in the oven.
Well, turns out that butter fat and processed flour has a place in pastry baking. At least in kolache recipes.
These kolaches were gooey (again) and tasted like stale, wheat bread that has been sitting in your grandmother's pantry since WWII. All four dozen kolaches in this batch were AWFUL.
So, I did what every corn-fed American white-girl does when they have food they need to get out of their house in a hurry: I took them to the office. ALL my baking disasters have been pawned off on my co-workers.
People in office settings will eat anything as long as it does not try to pass as healthy. It must have something to do with cubicles, florescent lighting, and corporate servitude.
Usually, things are snatched up in minutes. Not today. I had to spend hours guilt-tripping people to eating the kolaches I brought. I took my pans home later that day, hanging my head in shame.
I cried and boo hoo-ed like a small child when I got home. I think I seriously weeped into my flour pail. Jon came home to find me curled up on the kitchen floor.
"You'll never marry me," I waled at him.
He sits down next to me and tries to be comforting: "Don't worry babe, most of the people except my grandma can not make kolaches too well. You have to be like... a grandma to do it right."
At the rate I am going, I just might die an old maid before I get this right.