Friday, October 9, 2009


A little bit about myself, if you haven't gleaned it already: I am very sentimental about the past. Particularly my own childhood. There were issues, of course. Mean kids and everything that brings. But there were some very wonderful times in my home, and particularly in my kitchen. Most of these memories involve my mother, and almost as many involve Betty Crocker.

The Betty Crocker Cookbook, circa 1977, was a constant. Her happy face, the colours dimmed over the years smiled over hundreds of cakes, cookies and pies. Coming home to see that orange binder open on the table meant something delicious was on it's way. My mother's copy is an absolute mess. Most of the pages are falling out, a lot are out of order. They're badly stained with grease and chocolate. Some have my mothers neat handwriting amending the recipes so they will cook perfectly in our dishes, in our oven. I love this book more than anything. So you can imagine my joy when my mother gifted me with my very own copy, 1977 edition and everything. It's just the same, except this one is clean and neat. But that won't last.

Last year at Christmas, Betty Crocker released her* 1967 Cooky Book, complete with the controversial "y" spelling of cookie. You can imagine how excited I was. But I didn't find this until January. I decided to wait until Christmas to use it.

Working in a cardshop messes with my internal calendar, and for the last few weeks I've been humming carols and dreaming of shortbread. The day before yesterday I added an extra blanket to my bed and decided, that's it. It's Christmas now.

Last night was my inaugural cooky. Almond Butter Cookies. the simplest thing in the world to make. Cream a cup of butter with a half cup of sugar. Add a cup of chopped almonds. Then two tablespoons of vanilla and two cups of flour. Form into balls and press flat with a greased glass dipped in sugar. Oven for 10 minutes and there's your cooky!

The were done by the ever-obliging Boyfriend in the popchop. It's an interesting thing, the problem with the popchop is that it doesn't chop evenly, but in this case it worked to an advantage. Some of the almonds were reduced to powder while others remained in small chunks. The powder combined with the flour to infuse the whole dough with an almond essence while the chunks livened up the cookies.

These were a very simple taste. Crumbly, just a bit sweet, just a bit almond-y, just a little bit creamy, not too soft. A perfect cooky to have with a cup of hot chocolate on a wintry night. I froze half the batch for use in December.

*Yes, I know she's not a real person. I don't care. I'm pretending she is.

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