Everyone can#039;t bake cookies

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 10, 2002

This time of year it seems like every time I turn around, I am supposed to bring two dozen cookies to a school play, a family gathering, or some other function.

When all my children were home, I had a difficult time keeping cookies in the house. I don't really like baking cookies as they are so tedious to make, plus I hate scrubbing all the cookie sheets. Now I only bake one type of cookie for my family. I make a butter sugar cookie, roll it out thin, and cut it into shapes with a round cookie cutter. I bake these and then put raspberry or strawberry jam between two of the cookies and dip one side of the cookie in melted semi sweet chocolate.

For school functions I used to make a cookie called melting moments.I had just pulled a batch of melting moments out of my oven one late December day when my neighbor, Viv, came for a visit. I offered her a cup of coffee and a fresh cookie. Viv took a bite of the cookie and looked at me curiously and said, "What are these cookies called?"

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"They're called melting moments, " I said.

"Flour, butter, vanilla," Viv said as she tasted the cookie.

"Yes and cornstarch and powdered sugar. That's why they are so soft. The frosting is just a simple powdered sugar frosting," I said.

"Hmm," said Viv.

"Here I'll write down the recipe for you," I said.

Viv tucked the recipe into the pocket of her bib overalls after I had written it, and she told me to come and get some fresh eggs from her since my hens weren't laying.

Three days later, I went to buy some eggs from Viv. She told me to come in and have a cup of coffee. It was late afternoon and I hesitated to have a cup of her coffee as I knew she made one very strong pot of coffee every morning and then let it simmer away on her wood-cook stove and added hot water to the pot as the day progressed.

"I made that cookie recipe you gave me, moment's melting, " said Viv, when she saw me hesitate about staying for coffee.

"Okay, I'll have a cup of coffee and a cookie," I said and sat down.

Viv took the aluminum coffeepot off the stove and poured what looked like black tar into a cup. She got out a gallon jar of fresh cow's milk from the fridge and scooped the cream that had risen to the top, into the tar. The tar was now gray with an oily film floating on top. Viv gave me the cup and set a plate of green frosted cookies on the table.

"Moment's melting," Viv said, nodding at the cookies.

I picked up a cookie and they were hard.

"Dip it into your coffee to soften it up," said Viv.

I dipped the cookie in the coffee and took a bite.

"Did you put cornstarch in the cookies," I asked as I chewed

"No way, only flour," said Viv.

"Did you use butter, " I asked.

"Heck no, margarine," said Viv.

"Did you use powdered sugar," I asked.

"No, regular sugar, I didn't have any powdered," said Viv.

She said she had put green food coloring in the frosting to make them more Christmasy. They were the hardest cookies I had ever eaten. Dipping them in the gray tar made them easier to swallow. I finished off the cookie and that dreadful coffee. I purchased three dozen eggs and said thank you. I had an oily film on my teeth, a bad taste in my mouth and heartburn in my stomach, but I always had heartburn when I drank Viv's coffee.

Heartburn was part of the price of the eggs.

Here is my recipe for Melting Moments: 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1/2 cup cornstarch, 3/4 cup soft butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium size bowl. In small bowl, cream butter until whipped, add vanilla. Blend together with dry ingredients. Dough will be stiff. Cover and refrigerate two hours. Roll into one-inch balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees, 20-25 minutes until set. These cookies should not brown. Let cool completely and frost with lemon frosting. Keep in tightly sealed container.

Lemon Frosting: 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup softened butter, and 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice. Stir together, adding lemon juice until a frosting consistency is obtained.

Sheila Donnelly can be reached at 434-2233 or by e-mail at :mailto:newsroom@austindailyherald.com