Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Take 2 cookies and call me in the morning...
Today I went to work like every other day, but cut the day short to attend a "Celebration of Life" for a co-worker. Listening to family and friends talk about this person and the life they led made me think how much we take day-to-day friendships and acquaintances for granted, and how difficult it would have been for me had it been someone I was really close to. I had an unsteady peace with this person, and now feel terrible that I was probably the only person she didn't like based on testimony delivered - my guilt is alive, well and really kicking my ass today.
I am a Catholic of the 60's...not the late 60's Flying Nun, peace and love, Jesus sitting cross-legged in a circle of happy children and cute non-rabid animals kind, but the fire and brimstone and demons with rusty pitchforks and "hell is whatever you hate or are afraid of the most" 60's kind of Catholic. Mom had me convinced that if I didn't straighten up and fly right I was going to spend eternity in a flaming room filled up to my neck in spiders, an endless supply of dirty dishes to handwash, and a constant force-feeding of her nasty fried liver. I don't think I believe THAT particular version quite so much anymore, but regardless think that it's not a pleasant place and I sure don't want to be assigned a room even if "Everyone else is going".
Back to guilt. I can't get away from it, it follows me everywhere and touches every part of my life - Jewish mothers have nothin' on me. So I have two ways to work on it: either pretend it's not there (never works for me, but it does for other family members), or try to make up for my shortcomings in some other way. So last night I made cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. I volunteered to do something for the service that I knew would help, and hope that somewhere, someone is erasing some time out of my purgatory account book...and that hell is NOT making cookies because I'm really tired of that.
This is my favorite cookie...and if you recall a different post, you'll know why....
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
2-1/4 cup flour
Mix brown sugar, shortening, molasses and eggs until fluffy. Add soda, spices and salt and mix in, then add flour and beat until combined. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 375. Shape chilled dough into 1" balls ( I use a cookie scoop, or you can use an ice cream scoop (the kind with the little wire that scrapes it out of the scoop) and cut them in quarters. They don't really need to be rolled into balls....they spread out nicely and are soft enough to sort of shape themselves in the sugar. Roll in granulated sugar and place on cookie sheet a few inches apart. They do spread a little, so try not to crowd them too much unless you like one big cookie with holes in it. Bake at 375 just until set, 10-12 minutes - and when I say "just until set", it means just what it says....you may think they're still raw. These cookies crack all over the top, and when they are done, you will see just a tiny bit of moistness still in the cracks...you'll see what I mean when you make them. If you wait until they look dry in the cracks, they will be hard and now chewy...then they are NOT my favorite cookie. Just sayin....and let them sit in the pan for about a minute (unless you want them to fall apart in a delicious mess that will only go down with a big glass of ice cold milk) THEN remove from cookie sheets and cool on racks.
A shout out to the 1978 Betty Crocker's Cookbook...the dirtiest cookbook I own, Kudo's Betty!