Andrea's column: A sweet problem
It's no secret: I love sugary treats. Cookies have always been a favorite. My mother is to blame. If she hadn't been a baker extraordinaire, I might not have a sweet tooth as big as an elephant's incisor.
Every Christmas, Mom put together boxes of bars and cookies for her children and grandchildren. Finally, I had to ask her to stop because one mouth-watering morsel from the container led to another and I could not stop until every last one was eaten.
When my children were younger, we, too, baked lots of cookies at Christmas. One year, I bought a press and we learned to make spritz cookies. Powder sugar-dusted rosettes were next. We bought Santa and tree cookie cutters and tried making sugar cutouts but they never turned out so we gave up on them.
The rest of the year, when I had a morning off, I often made chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies. Leaving a plate of cookies for my family's dessert alleviated some of my guilt about having to work that night and missing dinner with the kids and my husband.
All that morning baking ended, though, when I put on weight. I had started making double batches and would eat most of one batch before I even left for work. That was about 30 years ago. I lost the extra pounds and haven't baked anything but chicken and potatoes since.
Don't feel sorry for me, though. My husband and I have a neighbor who likes to bake. She supplies us with so many cookie calories that my husband jokingly calls her "the devil woman" as he's filling his face with a warm chocolate chip orb or a soft and bendy oatmeal raisin one.
This past Christmas, as I always do, I placed an order at a bakery for assorted cookies for our family celebration. Their Russian teas and turtle cookies are nothing like Mom's so I don't lose control. After dessert, I asked my son, a grown man with four children, which were his favorites. He mentioned a cookie I hadn't served in a number of years. "Peanut blossoms," he said.
We had another family get-together last Sunday; a football and pizza party. I called a nearby bakery and placed an order for four dozen of the peanut blossoms; the cookie with a Hershey kiss on top. There were enough left after the meal that each family could take some home.
Later that day, I told my husband we should start making the taste treats ourselves.
His eyes lit up. But then, I remembered we don't have a decent cookie sheet or an available shelf for bags of sugar and flour. The thought of buying supplies and turning all that dough into little balls and rolling them in sugar wore me out.
I don't know how my mother did it. She was 77 when she passed away but she never lost her love for baking. During our holiday celebration this year, my family talked about Mom's expertise in the kitchen. When I mentioned her melt-in your-mouth ginger snaps, I thought my son-in-law might shed a tear when he said how good they were.
Lucky for him, when the baking bug skipped a generation it was mine and not that of my daughter, his wife. I don't think she makes those spicy snaps but her mini cheesecakes with a dollop of hot fudge on top are as good as any cookie I've ever had. So good, in fact, her grandmother would want the recipe.