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Food on Fridays with Ann
Well, I made “Grandma Cookies” on Wednesday. The recipe makes quite a few cookies, so we’ve been eating one or two (or three or four) each day.
Thursday afternoon it occurred to me I was eating them exactly the same way I did when I was little: nibbling along the outer edges, around and around, all the way to the gumdrop center, saving that chewy bite for last.
I’m so glad to share these cookies with my kids. And I’m so glad to share them with you, as well.
Here’s the recipe again, for easy reference:
- 1 C shortening (oleo or oleo and part butter) [Note: instead of oleo, I combined 3/4 C butter and 1/4 C cooking oil]
- 2 C sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 C sour milk [Note: to make "sour milk," stir in just a teaspoon or so of vinegar to make it curdle]
- 1 t soda
- 1 t baking powder
- 1 t vanilla
- about 4 cups of flour or more as needed
Cream shortening and sugar, and beat in eggs. Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with milk to egg mixture. [Note: I recall that alternating the dry and wet mixtures was key to success.]
Drop by teaspoons on cookie sheet. In the middle of each teaspoonful of dough, stick a gumdrop or a piece of walnut or pecan in the middle, or sprinkle with colored sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until done.
I have this note on the recipe from Grandma: “I used to roll out the dough and use cookie cutters. Now I drop by teaspoons right on the cookie sheet to bake.”
She watched my process, observing the rather large dollops I placed onto the cookie sheet, and the too-moist dough. All she advised at that point, however, was how to push the gumdrops (actually called “spice drops”) into the center a bit. She pointed out that Grandma always put a piece of nut in the center, like a pecan or walnut.
“Well, I only ate the cookies with gumdrops or sprinkles on top,” I admitted. “I know you’d prefer the ones with nuts, but Grandma’s not here, so I made the call. They’re all gumdrops.”
She grinned and said that’s fine, but I think we both winced when I said “Grandma’s not here.”
We continued plopping, baking and evaluating.
After this too-big/too-moist batch, she recommended we add flour and drop smaller blobs, which we did. They turned out much better.
As we sat down for a formal taste test, I felt like we were traveling across the years, the flavor transporting us back to the kitchen with linoleum flooring and a porcelain sink, where I enjoyed my first Grandma Cookies, the originals, baked to perfection.
Back at my own kitchen table, we concluded that these Grandma Cookies weren’t perfect, but they’re close. I think I’ll get it. I just need more practice. So it looks like I’ll make more Grandma Cookies. Lots of Grandma Cookies.
And maybe by the time I’m actually a grandma, I’ll have them perfected.
Photos of “Grandma Cookies” by Ann Kroeker.