As one of the only American families at my daughter’s school, I was asked to make treats for the whole school to celebrate Thanksgiving. It seemed simple enough. I have made countless treats at home for class parties and just because we live in Portugal it didn’t seem like it would be that different. I was wrong…so WRONG.
My search for treat ideas began on Pinterest. I saw turkeys made with candy corn, cupcakes, pretzels, chocolate turkeys…you name it. All adorable and all doable if in America. I am by no means a fancy baker, but I can assemble a candy corn turkey like no other.
Well, we have no candy corn here, or Hershey’s kisses or canned pumpkin for that matter. Rice Krispies…not easy to come by. Regular marshmallows, forget about it. I wandered around grocery store after grocery store in my search. I got quite good at begging for what I needed in Portuguese. Then, Pippa spotted it. Pumpkin jam. A whole self of pumpkin jam. Great! Now, what the hell was I going to do with it.
I came up with brownies with pumpkin icing. I have never eaten this on Thanksgiving before, but no one needed to know that. I rushed home and made the icing. Cream cheese, confectioners sugar, butter and my pumpkin jam. It was actually crazy good. Win!
Now for the brownies. Crazy fail. Every ingredient was different from home. I think I got some sort of messed up butter. The flour was off…I am looking for excuses here people. They were the most dense brownies known to civilization. I could never get 75 pieces from this batch…in fact I got 10 pieces. Ahhhh…now what?
I decided another trip to the grocery store was needed. Then I saw them. A small section in the cookie aisle called, “American Cookies.” AKA, chocolate chip cookies. Perfect. I purchased 8 packs. Unlike real American chocolate chip cookie packs that probably have like 30 cookies in a bag, here they only have 12. I bring them home and put my pumpkin icing on them. I add a few sprinkles…and voila…an American Thanksgiving treat. Not really…but it fooled the kids in the International school. They devoured those cookies like an international group of locusts.
I was thanked profusely and told by a Greek student that they were so tasty, I could sell them. No thank you. I need a two week rest from the stress of grocery shopping in Portugal and from lying to the world that store bought chocolate chip cookies covered in an odd icing with pumpkin jam in it, is a traditional American Thanksgiving treat.