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Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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cookies

My First Choice

It’s National Macaroon Day. Whenever there are holiday cookie trays in my reach, my first choice is the coconut macaroon. I never have liked those really dry, tasteless little coolies with lots of frosting. In the Jewish section of big grocery stores there are cans of Manischewitz macaroons. I have to resist buying more than one can, because I eat them all. What a treat! A moist morsel of coconut already prepared for me.

Macaroons are very easy to make. The National Day of Calendar gave two recipes; one made with egg whites and the other with condensed milk. I can’t tell you which one is better, but the fact one had you dip the cookies in melted chocolate got my attention. Chocolate at any time is a good thing.

In the novel I wrote, that is still just a pile of paper on my desk, I have my main character, Millie, making macaroons. It’s a cookie you can make as soon as you think about it because there is no waiting for the ingredients to warm to room temperature. They bake quickly and disappear even more quickly.

I think I need to stop writing and go put coconut and condensed milk on my shopping list. The next time my grandchildren are here would be a good time to serve macaroons, that way I won’t eat all but the two my husband enjoys.

Add Some Nuts

Today is National Walnut Day. I would guess, though I didn’t look it up, that walnuts are one of the most consumed nuts alongside the almond. Walnuts make a great addition to cookies, cakes, breads, and all by themselves are a protein filled healthy snack. What would trail mix be without them.

One of my family’s treats at Christmas time when I was little, was a full dish of assorted  nuts in the shell. We had two crackers and four meat picks. The four of us girls would eat the filberts first, then the almonds, then the walnuts. We would see if we could crack the walnut-shell open in order to get a complete half. Somehow they tasted better if they weren’t broken. How innocent the mind of a young person is to believe that. (I miss those days.)

Also at Christmas time, we gave home-made Mrs. Clause Fudge and date nut bread to the milkman, the paper boy, the post office employees, the Charlie Chip man, our teachers, and friends. Both of these contained walnuts. There wasn’t the concern then about nut allergies that there is now. To this day when I make date nut bread, I give half of it away so I don’t eat all of it because there is nothing better hot or cold, with lots of butter on it, especially if the dates are left in bite size chunks. Now my mouth is watering.

I don’t know too many cookies that aren’t better with a handful of chopped walnuts  thrown in the dough. And let’s not forget maple walnut ice cream; another one of my favorites. Can you tell I like food. It’s rough being one of those people who lives to eat and likes everything, well most everything.

Whatever your plans for the day, may I suggest you take a resealable sandwich bag full of walnuts with you. They are a much more healthy snack than that sugar filled coffee you pay five dollars for.

Best Smell Ever

It’s National Chocolate Chip Day. In my opinion, chocolate chip cookies baking is one of the top smells on this earth. I learned to bake at a very young age and have been doing it ever since. To my surprise, the National Day of Calendar informed me that the Nestle Toll House cookie recipe has only been around since 1939. I know that’s a long time, but I would have guessed it was older than that. At least I’ve had the benefit of it for my whole lifetime.

There are many ways to eat chocolate chip cookies; warm out of the oven with permission (when the chocolate is still gooey warm), snuck out of the cookie tin (just before a meal of course), dipped in milk, in small savory bites. I could go on. Probably the best way is to be able to share the event with another person so you can tell one another if they have chocolate on their face.

These days you can buy chips in lots of different flavors, made by different companies. I suggest you buy good ones, you know the ones that cost more. There’s nothing worse than biting into a chocolate chip cookie and the chip has no flavor because it wasn’t made by Nestle or Ghiradelli.

I have a friend that bakes up a storm whenever we are invited for a meal. I rarely eat her goodies because they are tasteless and usually very dry. I feel if you are going to spend your time baking from scratch, use the best ingredients available, and don’t substitute low-fat this and low calorie that, because the flavor goes out the window. But then again, she’s thinner than I am, so maybe her thought process has something over mine.

Chocolate chips can be used in all sorts of other ways than just cookies. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that. And it probably isn’t necessary to have a day to celebrate them because they are almost a staple in anyone’s cupboard that knows their way around the kitchen. Just for fun, celebrate the day by making some fresh chocolate chip cookies for dessert. If you are afraid you might eat too many, give some away. I can already smell them baking!

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

One of my favorite smells is chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven.  It’s not only the smell; it’s the satisfaction of mixing them up, licking the beaters, having well used cookie sheets, and family waiting to eat them while they are hot.

I grew up in a 4-H household so I learned early how to measure ingredients correctly, use good ones and have the butter and eggs at room temperature.  We rarely bought any baked goods; Girl Scout cookies and Oreos were exceptions.  Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate chips were, and still are, my chip of choice.   I’ve tried others, but nothing comes close to the familiar taste I came to know as a child.  I can probably recite the cookie recipe on the back of the Nestle’s bag.

My mother was born in 1906.  I’m not sure her age had anything to do with it, but it was customary to serve a snack whenever coffee was poured for a visitor.  Mind you, the definition of visitor was usually a neighbor, a best friend or one of my father’s hunting buddies.  I have carried on that tradition and I like that I am known for scratch-made cakes and cookies.

My grandson stayed overnight when he was about five and asked if we could make cookies.  Of course I said yes.  He opened the refrigerator door, stood there inspecting the shelves and finally said, “I don’t see any.”

I smiled when I realized he was looking for a package of pre-mixed dough.  I told him, “Grandma doesn’t do it that way.  How about you help me.”  He watched wide eyed as I got out all the ingredients and the mixer.  He had a ball cracking the eggs and being my taste tester.  I got a call about a week later from my daughter.  She said in a sarcastic tone, “Thanks.”  I asked,  “For what?”  Her answer, “William now expects me to make cookies the way you do.”  I told her to think of it as a bonding opportunity.

I find it sad that families today are so busy that baking from scratch is not the norm anymore.  Heck, I know a bunch of young women that don’t cook at all.  It doesn’t make sense to me that they never learned.

May I suggest, the next time you eat a chocolate chip cookie try to imagine yourself at a kitchen table eating it hot out of the oven.  I guarantee it will taste better.

 

 

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