Signature Cookie

by Holly Goldberg Sloan
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bakingcookiesart.jpg Every mother needs a signature cookie. Even if it’s one you buy—like a fresh-from-the-bag Pepperidge Farm Milano. Or a local-corner-bakery-purchased elephant ear. Of course, it’s best, when the kids look back, if the signature cookie is one you baked. Why? Because of the effort. People like to see effort and kids seem to really respond to it. It lets them know you weren’t just phoning in the whole motherhood thing.

Growing up, my mother had a signature cookie. She probably hasn’t thought of it as her cookie, but everyone in the family knows. She’ll be 80 years old on her birthday this July and if she’s in the kitchen, and she says she’s going to make cookies, you know what’s coming:

baking-cookies.jpg English Toffee Cookies. I don’t know why she calls them English Toffee Cookies. Toffee is a candy. These cookies have nothing to do with that. And my mother is not English. I believe that the original recipe came from my Grandmother. But I’m not sure about that. I am sure that Grandma wasn’t English. Her people came from Russia.

Grandma’s signature cookie was a sweet molasses spice cookie. She made them in bulk and wrapped them in brown wax paper and stored them in tins. She doled them out one at a time. She wasn’t big on sharing. Her signature cookie was a prize and she made you beg for them. She stood just under five feet tall and power was always on her mind.

My mother, in contrast, is tall and she shares. Her English Toffee Cookies are made in a single sheet and cut up into squares as they cool. The squares are big. The cookies don’t get wrapped in anything. They are gone before that’s possible.

This Mother’s Day, courtesy of my mother, Robin Montgomery, consider making...

ENGLISH TOFFEE COOKIES:

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
1 egg (separated)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream butter and sugar. Add in the egg yolk (put egg white, slightly beaten, aside). Add in flour and cinnamon. PRESS cookie dough FLAT into standard, old-school cookie sheet (with sides--approximately 12 x 14) until the entire sheet is covered. I use my hands. So does my mother. My grandmother used a glass and her beloved, ever-present wax paper.

Once the cookie sheet is covered, paint the top of the dough with the egg white (I just dump the egg white in the middle and swirl it around to make a coating). Take the cup of chopped walnuts, sprinkle on top and press them down into the dough with your hands. BAKE at 275 for 1 hour. Remove from oven. Cool slightly, and then cut into squares with a sharp knife. Cookies will harden into crispy, tasty, treats.

Happy Mother’s Day….!

Comments   

#1 laura grace 2008-05-08 09:53
These cookies sound amazing! And I don't even make cookies...my signature cookie is the Pepperidge Farm gingerbread men.

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