Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Cookies have become my comfort. No, not real cookies.

For as long as I can remember, at christmastime my mother has made cookies. Spritz and butter-walnut balls dipped in sugar, then meringue kisses and Finnish breads, each tiny "bread" carefully flattened with one finger, brushed with milk, and sprinkled with nonpareils. (Not too much milk, or the tiny nonpareil balls will dissolve into a sad tiny circle of color. ) There are chocolate chip cookies and her cornucopias --something like a pizzelle, with anise, and rolled to an ice cream shape...made one at a time in a 60 second can't even go in the kitchen. Pour batter, wrap the previous one on a wood cone, flip the iron, slide off the cone, .....repeat.

Triple-double batches of cutout shapes, decorated with various flavors of jimmies/ sprinkles. But not too many red hot balls on the christmas trees. Those are for the reindeer nose, and you know there is only one Rudolph so don't go crazy with that either. And don't use so many silver balls that you break someone's teeth. Just one as a star on top of a tree.

A good number of her recipes, like the cinnamon nut bars and the shortbreads, come from her Danish grandmother, so our family's recipes start with a pound of butter. I use unsalted butter and my friend once had a heated debate with me that I was WRONG to do that. But I gave a recipe for cutouts to another good friend and her husband made her call me because they just weren't the same. It was the butter.

The first year I was married Mr C. knew I was taking a day off in Christmas to make some cookies. He didn't expect 14 kinds stacked on the counter when he got home.
I have calmed down somewhat but still make at least 8 kinds, including Scotchies, with butterscotch and white chips, pecans, and a touch of scotch whiskey.

And did I mention, christmas is less than 4 months away?

At any rate, it's the cookies that get me through the night. I am NOT sitting in a dark family room, nibbling. I promise.

When I wake at four-something in the morning, I make cookies. I do this to stop myself from "thinking".... about jobsites and bills and the upcoming school year and....

Silently, on the movie screen of my mind, I start with butter. I unwrap the sticks, one at a time, and see them going into the bowl. I see her old wooden spoon stirring, incorporating the white sugar into a pale, fluffy yellow. We did NOT use a mixer. She still doesn't. Then the eggs. One, or maybe two. I watch them breaking, sliding into the bowl...and more stirring.

I usually don't get past the eggs. One of these days I may have to decide what kind of cookies I'm making, but that hasn't happened yet. I fade back into sleep.

Sweet, sweet dreams.

Carly(via Blackberry)


Anonymous said...

SALTED butter? WHAT?!?!??!?!? Salted butter. She is... well.... wrong. And her cookies are sucketh.

Anonymous said...

She once spit a cookie out and tried to hand it back to me, because it had nuts. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

And NOW we (ok maybe just me) are hungry for real cookies :(