Thursday, August 11, 2011

Badass Bakes Baywatch

Okay, so I may do a few bento lunches now and again, but the truth is that when I am in the kitchen doing whatever I want to do, chances are it will involve flour, sugar and butter.  Truly-- I love to bake.  I buy butter 4 lbs. at a time, and vanilla in the 32 oz bottle. My colleagues at the flower shop know that when some of our fruit basket inventory of apples or pears get plenty ripe, throw'em my way and a tart shall be forthcoming!  My neighbors and in-laws know that if I offer to "bake a little something" for the cookout they will NEVER see a box-mix standard.  And, of course, my wonderful lifeguard friends at Chair 5 know that at least once a summer it will be(dramatic pause). . . LIFEGUARD COOKIE DAY!!!

I have been coming to the same beach, and sitting more or less in the same spot, for many years now.  Every June feels a bit like a homecoming, seeing the regulars and the guards who return.  Some of them remember me as a young waitress, napping on the beach until it was time for me to run down to the bistro for the start of my 4:30 dinner shift.  I never needed to bring a watch in those days, because down at Chair 5, tea was served promptly at 4pm! A few of them remember the years when each summer (it seemed) I would waddle onto the sand pregnant, waddling back the following summer with one more blond baby boy in tow!  The Chair 5 guards are sort of our extended summer family.  They have by turns helped my lug our beach stuff back and forth over the dunes, swam with each boy and let them sit on the red rescue surfboards, played Uno under the chair during rain showers, and applied vinegar to countless jellyfish stings.  Some days, when my boys were small and my husband working like crazy, they provided my only adult interaction of the day!

Tea(nothing but Darjeeling!!) is still served daily at Chair 5, and I feel that--at least for a day or two out of the season--the cookies that accompany it should be really stellar.  Here are my 2011 selections.

These cookie-brownie hybrids, baked in mini muffin cups, were inspired by Abby Dodge's double-decker bars.  Because everybody needs some chocolate!

Next, as a refreshing change after the gooey goodness above, I broke out the citrusy, shortbready favorite: Lemon Squares. I have been using King Arthur Flour's recipe since I was in high school--it's an oldie but goodie!

Finally, no Baywatch Baking cookie tray would be complete without the gingerbread boy lifeguards--which aren't gingerbread at all but a Grand Marinier-spiked sugar cookie. Royal Icing made the trunks and shades.

Stay cool, keep your toes in the sand and your fingers in the dough and all will be right with the world.  Take it from me, my boys, and the guys from Chair 5!