Z and I worked together when I used to work for a summer camp – it was my last year working there and his first, and spending time with him and the other new counselors made me feel young and amused and happy that such jobs existed. There were very difficult things about working at camp that bonded all the workers together, and there were wonderful moments, like when Z’s friend P set up a telescope after the children went to bed and we all took turns looking at the moon.
When I started this blog, I asked for recipes from many friends, and Z surprised me by responding even though we haven’t seen each other in years. He’s making a name for himself as a musician, and it was so nice to hear about his childhood story (quoted here below) about making cookies and growing up.
I’m always looking for excuses to eat cookies, and I took these over to my friends J and E, where we ate them while passing around their little baby. I hope the story warms you the way eating cookies and cooing over a child warmed me up.
Mom’s Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ¾ cups flour
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add baking powder and flour, one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. The dough will be stiff, blend last flour in by hand. Do not chill dough. Divide dough into 2 balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball in a circle approx. 12” in diameter and ⅛” thick. Dip cutters in flour before each use. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet on top rack of oven for 6-7 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned. (Mom recommends parchment paper on pans)
Icing (not mom’s recipe) made with 4 tsps. milk and 1 cup of powdered sugar.
“Here’s my mom’s sugar cookie recipe. My first memory of this recipe was when I was three or four. I was in the kitchen one day when my mom was about to start making a batch, and I begged her to let me help. I think this experience set my predilection for baking which I retain to this day. I learned how finicky eggs were to crack, how impossible it was to keep flour off of the counter and your clothes, and the difference between measuring cups and measuring spoons. I distinctly recall being unable to wrap my head around the concept of two and two-thirds cups (I was four, after all…). Regardless, I found a great joy in the mess that ensued when one endeavors to bake. I became acquainted with mom’s collection of old cookie cutters passed down from her grandparents. We rolled out the dough on the counter with my mom’s old rolling pin, which bore faint signatures of departed family members, and made great art with our array of cookie cutters: hearts, alligators, wolves, angels, dinosaurs, flags, trees.
“This recipe lives with me still, bearing a heartfull familiarity. I enjoying making them for friends who need a bit of warmth in their lives. After all, as Emma Thompson says in Stranger Than Fiction, “Sometimes, when we loves ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies.” Though this recipe isn’t necessarily Bavarian, the same sentiment applies. Curiously, I’ve found little to no success when I use any sugar cookie recipe other than my mom’s. You stick to what you know, I suppose. Or perhaps certain recipes are meant for certain people. Either way, this recipe is one of my most cherished, and I do hope you enjoy it”(Z’s words).
Do you have a favorite recipe that started you towards knowing how to cook? Feel free to share in the comments, and I’ll give it a shot.