Archives for December 2006

More Than A Cookie Swap

Antique cookie cutters encircle a delightful assortment of homemade cookies

The doorbell rang cheerily a few times on Saturday and Danny, Noah and I welcomed friends and family in from the cold. Danny was especially welcoming, as each person came bearing big tins of cookies. This was the first time I’ve hosted a cookie swap, and it won’t be the last! Even though we were few, due to a slew of last minute cancellations, a good time was had by all from the oldest to the youngest. The youngest being Noah, who tasted shortbread for the first time and now agrees that this should be an annual or semi-annual tradition. Pots of tea and copious cups of coffee were drunk and a well-laden plate of cookies consumed as we chatted and laughed and watched the kids play together. It was something more than just swapping some baked goods, but a cozy sense of fellowship and friendship: woman to woman, mother to mother.

A big thanks to all the ladies that came and brought their delights!
Terrie came bearing chocolate chip cookies so fresh, they didn’t have time to cool and were still on the baking sheet! Diana’s yummy chocolate mint snaps were a hit and their mysterious crunchy centers a topic of interest. Arlene was inspired by my invitation and baked her first batch of cookies in three years. Tavia’s hand rolled coconut caramel cookies were perfect and her colorful holiday oatmeal raisin cookies the ideal round-out to our table. I contributed my usual spice snaps, some two-bite brownies, and shortbread in various shapes and flavors.

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Santa Boots
Needless to say, if you decide to drop by for tea in the next few weeks, I could probably rustle up a little crumb of something to serve alongside. That is, if Danny doesn’t find my stash……

Caramel Coconut and Holiday Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Shortbread Candy Canes

And now, here is my most requested cookie recipe!!

Spice Snaps

Preheat oven to 325F

Cream: 3/4 cup butter, room temp
2 cups sugar

Stir in: 2 eggs, room temp
1/2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons white vinegar

Sift and add:
3 and 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or 3 teaspoons ground)
1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated Tonka bean
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix well and roll into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in white sugar to coat and place two inches apart on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until tops have cracked and edges start to brown. Cool.

These cookies freeze well. Make 4 dozen

Danny Cooks

On a typical Saturday morning, Danny’s job is to get the paper, which he does, and then stands (all cute with his bed head) in the middle of the kitchen and reads the front page until I sit him down and hand him the baby’s spoon.

My job is to change the baby, prepare his food, make coffee, set the table, make juice, cook bacon and eggs and toast, and then we sit down and enjoy a nice family breakfast. This works well for us. There’s a peace about the morning and we’re usually eating a relaxed breakfast within 10 minutes.

Once in a while Danny will get the idea in his head that it would be a nice gesture to cook and as I’m changing the baby he’ll ask:

“What do you want for breakfast, my Love?”

At this point, as ungrateful as it sounds, I am not very enthused about having breakfast cooked for me because I know what it entails:


I know I’ll have to clean up. Cleaning up after I cook is no big deal because when I cook, I clean as I go, and after the meal there are just a few plates to rinse and the counter to wipe down. How Danny manages to mess the kitchen from stem to stern before 8 AM is beyond me.

2. I’m hungry. I always wake up ravenous and although I wish I had the patience for Danny’s laid back style, I don’t. (Note to self: work on this)

3. I want peace and harmony to fill our sunny kitchen as we slowly wake up and enjoy our Saturday morning. I know there will be lots of questions and extraneous talking for the duration of his cooking; not in a pot-slamming, crude language kind of way like an average professional kitchen, but in a steady, long-winded narration to himself of what he is doing. That’s just his way.

However, I agree to having breakfast cooked for me because I know that it’s not for Danny’s love of cooking that he asks me, but because he loves to serve and take care of me. And because that is so sweet, I shut up (and tell my rumbling stomach to shut up), fix Noah’s food and sit down with the paper to wait for my coffee.

I eventually get my coveted cup of Joe, but not before the kettle’s been sounding it’s shrill whistle for a good 30 seconds before it’s grabbed it and poured into the Bodum. Noah loves the whistle, Danny doesn’t seem to hear it, and I am the only one annoyed. Have I mentioned that I’m a tad grumpy before my morning coffee?

My coffee arrives just the way I like it. I can’t complain, it actually tastes better than when I make it. Noah is happily playing and all I want is a few minutes of peace and quite to drink my coffee and do the daily Sodoku, but now, along with the food preparation comes the running commentary to no one in particular.

“Why is the bacon sticking to the pan? I though this was non-stick. Isn’t this like a $200 pan? Aimee??? Where’s the butter? ARE WE OUT OF EGGS? Oh, there they are. How many do you want? Do I use butter or oil in the pan? How come there’s no OJ defrosted? I have to think of EVERYTHING. Man, that bacon smells good, do I ever know how to cook breakfast. Do we have any clean glasses? Do you want poached eggs?”

“NO!! That’s ok, they’re too much work.”

“I can DO poached eggs. It’s not a problem. I put vinegar in the water, right? Where’s the vinegar? What’s a good pot to use? Does it matter if I stir it clockwise or counter clockwise? Can I do two at a time? Do I crack them right into the water?”

It’s so much easier to do it myself, but I know half of the banter is tongue-in-cheek to get my goat, and don’t give him the satisfaction of a jump-up-grab-the-spatula reaction.

If I am grumpy before I get my coffee, I’m grumpier still when I am hungry. I answer the important questions, bite back the rest, and focus on my Sudoku.

A while later, my plate arrives. It’s beautiful. Bacon and two poached eggs on toast. OJ, too, but no knife and fork. I grab them myself.

The eggs are still soft in the centre, just the way I like them. As I cut through the yolk with my fork, my mouth waters and I start to think to myself that this is pretty sweet and aren’t I lucky to have a sweet hubby to cook me brekky.

But then…Ugh! Oh!

Vinegar. Lots of it. It sends a violent shockwave over my morning palate. The egg tastes like it’s straight out of a pickle jar-only warm. It’s pretty bad.

“Danny” I gasp. “HOW much vinegar did you put in the poaching water?”

He notices my face spells out disaster and immediately his expression reflects mine.

“About a quarter of a cup. Why? Is it bad?” He guesses the answer.

I sigh. Then laugh.

Then reach for a pan and head to the fridge for eggs.