Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cookie Day 5 - Plain Tea Cookies

Today in NOTL:  Cold, with 11:30 temps not tooo bad at37F/3C - but with winds at 24mph/39kph it feels more like 27F/-3C out there.  Hefty gusts, howling round the house and blowing the snow just about sideways at times.  No snow to speak of expected, just flurries.

Brr!  A cold day like today has me thinking of my Grandma's kitchen.  It was just a postage stamp of a room, just large enough for her tiny sink and a few cupboards, the eeeny fridge and stove, a  wee dinette set, and a rocking chair beside the stove.  That rocker was the best seat in her tiny house!

I remember visiting on chilly, grey days like today (minus the snow, of course!).  Her kitchen would be so warm and cozy and golden, lit by the one shaded light overhead.  Dad would say, 'How about some coffee, Mom?' and Grandma would say, 'Well, of course, cher!'

She'd put a pan of water on to boil and take her red and white French coffeepot and put a few teaspoonsful of coffee into the holder.  Then she'd set the coffeepot on the stove with a small ladle beside it and begin to rock.  As the adults spoke and the water sizzled in the pan, every now and then she'd ladle a tablespoon or two into the coffeepot and it would begin to drip ever so slowly through the ground coffee. Finally, when the coffee was done, she'd pour it out.

On cold days, I remember her kitchen and recall the smell of that strong coffee.  Art today is a cold-looking card from last year, appropriate b/c I'm feeling chilly as I listen to the wind and watch the flakes blow past my window.

This is a recipe for tea cookies, which went so nicely with the coffee.  They aren't terribly sweet, but they adapt to changes well.  Variations below.

Plain Tea Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups plain flour (All-Purpose)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Oven 400F.

1.  In large bowl, cream softened butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
2.  In second bowl, stir together dry ingredients.
3.  Add dry mixture to creamed mixture in portions.
4.  Note: dough is best refrigerated for 30 minutes or so.
5.  Roll dough on floured surface to about 1/4 inch and cut cookies with small glass.
6.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10- 12 minutes or till golden brown.

Orange or lemon cookies:  Add 1 tablespoon orange zest and 1/4 tsp orange extract to mixture.
Cherry cookies:  Add 1/2 cup diced marachino cherries, juice included to mixture.
Chocolate Pecan cookies:  Add 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans to mixture; drizzle with melted chocolate.
You can also frost these cookies and add sprinkles, coconut, etc.

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