140118 Snickerdoodles (9)This is what I do on a snowy, winter day – bake cookies.

I put out a call for requests and this was one.  Not having made these for many years I reached for my King Arthur Flour cookbook but knew instantly it wasn’t the right recipe.  The one in my memory called for cream of tartar so I dug out the 1950’s version of the Betty Crocker and there it was.

The ingredients –

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose or unbleached flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
140118 Snickerdoodles (2)The shortening, butter, eggs and sugar are creamed together, then add the dry ingredients until incorporated (except the additional sugar and cinnamon).  Couldn’t be simpler.
140118 Snickerdoodles (1)I use a tablespoon cookie scoop and place the dough ready for rolling on parchment paper.  It looks like scoops of vanilla ice cream doesn’t it?
140118 Snickerdoodles (3)Mix the 1/4 cup of sugar with the cinnamon, roll the dough into balls and then coat with the mixture and set on the pan about 2 inches apart.
140118 Snickerdoodles (5)I line my baking sheets with parchment as well.  Have I told you about my love affair with parchment?  It changed my life a few years ago when I discovered I didn’t have to grease and wash my cookie sheets when I was done baking. (Ever notice how those pans never fit in a dishwasher or the sink?) This is the one time-saving device I would have a hard time giving up – that and the cookie scoop due to my ocds about size and shape but that’s a whole different blog.
140118 Snickerdoodles (6)Put the cookies in a 400 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, they will just barely be getting brown.  This is another cookie that I drop the pan on the floor (see Soft Molasses Cookies).
140118 Snickerdoodles (8)
Let these babies cool for a few minutes and serve warm, preferably with a nice cup of tea or coffee.
By the looks of today’s forecast I will be pulling out the parchment paper in Enfield tonight.

On Grandparents

560801 Jo & Mim

My Mimi (Lena Babineau Alix) with me – 1956

Last Friday a long time customer of ours came in to have the oil changed in her car.  She and her husband have been bringing their cars into us for over 25 years.  Her husband passed away a little over a year ago after doing battle with dementia for a number of years.  She was with him 6 days a week for over 3 years at the veterans hospital.

Before his illness they spent a good deal of their time outdoors.  He was an avid fisherman, they had a place in Maine, I believe on a lake.  Family was everything to them and all would spend many, many days fishing with their father/grandfather.

As she reminisced about the days shortly after the death of her husband she told me the first words out of her 12-year-old granddaughter’s mouth were “Who will take me fishing?’.  Father and uncles all said that they would but her response was “But it won’t be the same”.

I felt her granddaughter’s pain.  My grandparents have been gone for many, many years now.  I miss them dearly.  They all had their strengths, the things that they played to.  Grampa was the Red Sox, beer and spanish peanuts, always.  Nan taught me how to embroider, we learned to quilt together, handcrafts were the game.  Pampi always tinkered with things (he was actually quite brilliant in his mechanical ability) and was always ready to laugh.  Mimi was the one I played with, laughed with, hugged, adored. She was the one who I trusted and loved more than the others.  She was always on our level through every age.  When visiting Mimi and Pampi I always felt unconditionally loved, I could do no wrong.

It’s the little things that we remember.  I drank my first cup of tea at their table (really warm milk).  Tea was always ritual with them – a pot was brewed after supper, every night.  We would sit around the table and talk.  We would laugh at Pampi’s antics to get a rise out of the wife he clearly adored.  The great aunts and uncles would visit, tales of the past and gossip of the present would rule, an uncle would slip into French when he was excited. Laughter, always lots of laughter.

One of my nieces was lamenting the fact that her children will never know her Mabel the way she does.  It’s true we said but you never knew our Mimi and that is sad for us.  Each child in each generation has their own experience.  I hope that I am the kind of grandmother that my grandchildren can lament their children not knowing.  I do know that they will probably grow up drinking some sort of hot beverage, sitting around a table and talking about the old days. They will probably also spend a good deal of time outdoors looking at bugs, birds and plants.  I can teach them to use their hands and hopefully their minds and I hope that’s what they’ll remember.