They are the easiest of Yuletide yummies to make. That's why Phyllis allows me to stir the dough and lick the bowl so that I'll think I'm part of the preparations.
Actually, grandson Sam helped her more than I did. He talks recipes with her and watches chef shows on television – which I don't do. I guess that makes him a better cookie-baker!
Anyway, we've got all sorts of them at our house. There are Russian tea cakes (that's a cookie, too), Scotch shortbread, peanut clusters, date filled varieties and (my favorite) chocolate chip cookies.
We have sugar cookies galore, and that's the kind that are decorated with colored sprinkles to go good with coffee. Cookies and coffee go together like peaches and cream. There's nothing to make a kitchen smell homey like the aroma of fresh-baked cookies and a pot of steaming java. That attracts a lot of munchers who are as enamored with the smell as I am.
And do you remember Mother's cookie jar? Betty Crocker (whoever she was?) wrote about them in her famous cook book. (Phyllis has one of them, too, all splattered up from use.) Betty said, "Long after the spicy fragrance of her ginger cookies baking has faded into the years, the thought of that ample cookie jar on the shelf will bring back vividly the old-time peace and comfort and security of home."
I don't know why I'm now reminded of a recipe for whiskey ball cookies, but I am. The ingredients called for a bottle of 90 proof Wild Turkey, and the instructions for the cookies followed the list of the components, which included two cups of dried fruit.
Here's what took place:
"Sample the Wild Turkey to check quality. Take a large bowl, but first test the whiskey again to be sure it is of the highest quality. Poor one level cup – and drink it." (Now you should begin to get the scenario.)
"Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in the large, fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoodle of sugar. Beat again. At this point it is best to make sure the Wild Turkey is still okay. Try another cupful, just in case.
"Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break two leggs and add to the bowel. Chuck in the dried fruit.
Pick the frigging fruit off the floor, then mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the bleaters, just pry it loose with a drewscriver.
"Sample the whiskey to check on its tonsisticity. Next sift two cups of salt, or something. Test the Mild Shurkey again. Add a spoon of sugar to sweeten it up.
"Greash the oven, and then throw the whole mess out, bowl and all. Finish the Fild Murkey and wonder why the fruit cookies were so hard to bake."
Now when Phyllis gets her cookie sheet out, I check to see the Wild Turkey is not one of the ingredients for the recipe she's making. After all, I know she's not a toper – and whiskey balls are not my favorite cookie!
© 2006 Robert F. Karolevitz