Although I was showered with gifts yesterday on my birthday, the best present I received came last weekend when I fulfilled a Christmas promise to my niece, a budding baking aficionado, and invited her out to Brooklyn to make cookies and bake bread. This was just about the most fun I can remember having in months. First we traipsed around Fairway hand-in-hand, collecting ingredients. Then dough was kneaded, peanut butter, butter and assorted shades of brown sugar were creamed together. Bits of batter plopped onto the floor, swelling loaves were spritzed with a waterjet to generate steam. We formed blobs of insanely delicious mixture into golf-balls and tined them with forks. The kitchen filled with delicious smells. We tasted the results. So much better than any amusement park!