HO HO HO!
If Thanksgiving is about pie, then Christmas is definitely about cookies. Even though I don’t bake half as many cookies each holiday season as I used to, I still like thinking about all the scrumptious possibilities: raspberry linzer, chocolate crackles, orange spritz, jam thumbprints, neopolitans, molasses spice, Russian teacakes, gingerbread teddies.
Though I don’t mind eating a few cupcakes and more than a few slices of pie, cookies have always reigned supreme as something I most enjoy baking and sharing with friends and family throughout the year.
The other day I was trying to remember the very first cookies I ever made. This can be quite an undertaking when you have to dial back to the Dark Ages, sifting through the hundreds of batches you cranked out as a high school and college student, English teacher, newlywed, friendly neighbor, and
old fogey mellowed-with-age food enthusiast.
My mother was more a cook than a baker. I had one aunt who made good cakes, another, good pies, and probably the best cookie-baking aunt was Aunty Esther (I’ve blogged about her famous butter cookies before). But hers were not the first cookies I ever made.
No, I think the first were probably Snickerdoodles. I fondly remember my half-sister Sylvia visiting from California when I was 8 or 9, and one afternoon she made them with me and my brother. We’d never heard of them before, but who could resist such a giggle-inducing name? It was fun watching butter, shortening, flour, sugar, eggs and cinnamon turn into something SO good.
I can’t say I’ve made many Snickerdoodles since then, because the standard recipe calls for half-butter and half-vegetable shortening (I prefer to avoid trans fats). BUT. I did finally find an all-butter recipe via Brown-Eyed Baker that is p-e-r-f-e-c-t-i-o-n.
It calls for an added teaspoon of vanilla and a conscientious chilling of the dough and cookie sheets to prevent too much spreading while the cookies bake.
They’re a little crackly on top, crisp around the edges, and chewy in the middle as all good Snickerdoodles should be. They may not look as fancy on a cookie tray as some of the frosted, sprinkled, dipped, and shaped sugar cookies you see this time of year, but when it comes to a thoroughly satisfying, old-fashioned treat with the power to create a brand new lasting memory, these can’t be beat. When I bite into their buttery goodness, I am 9 years old again.
As much as I love my Snickerdoodles, I’m happy to share them with you today, even if you’re sitting next to me at an airport and try to steal a few without asking. ‘Tis the season of giving, after all.
Today’s poem is a good reminder of how we are sometimes too quick to assume the worst, too quick to judge. Human nature or the world we live in?
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THE COOKIE THIEF
by Valerie Cox
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Lots of food for thought here. If you were in that woman’s place, would you have said something to the man eating (what you thought were) your cookies? Do you remember the last time you failed to give someone the benefit of the doubt?
I’m usually surprised (even suspicious) on those rare occasions when a stranger might smile or say hello in a public place. But it could be the area where I live — people are rushed, stressed and pretty intense. That’s why I try to remind myself to take every opportunity to be cordial, patient and kind if at all possible. Cashiers and restaurant servers seem especially appreciative when you smile and ask how they’re doing. We all have the power to make someone’s day with a quick nod, acknowledging their presence.
Getting back to cookies, do you remember the first ones you ever made or ate?
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Tantalizing Tabatha is hosting today’s Roundup at The Opposite of Indifference. Take her some cookies — I don’t think she’ll mind if you steal a few posts from her poetry platter. Nibble, nosh, and digest them well.
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This post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Put on your Santa caps and holiday bibs and join the fun!
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“For somehow, not only at Christmas, but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you.” ~ John Greenleaf Whittier
Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.