December 4th – National Cookie Day

Who knew it was National Cookie Day? Hands up! Did you know? And you – did you know? Well, i didn’t know, but apparently it is so… Now i grew up thinking cookies were something very different from what we think of as cookies today… here is what I wrote about them a little while ago…

As children, the only cookies we knew were soft yummy biscuity things my mum made. These days cookies are biscuits, and sometimes very big biscuits.

Back to my childhood, and cookies… they were pale, and covered with rolled oats and with a glacé cherry on top, not a whole cherry, but a cut off bit of one. They were really called melting moments, I guess because they melted in your mouth in a moment; they were kept in a biscuit tin, and even when they were a little stale and had gone a little soft, I still really liked them. In those days we would have a cookie, not several, let alone all of them…. these days if there is a plate of biscuits it’s quite acceptable to have two or three, and if you have a packet at home… well, munch away!

I’m not that keen on sweet things, so biscuits are safe with me, but I wonder if I could resist some cookies, aka melting moments? Maybe I should make some and see!

Monica’s cookies

  • 2 1/2 oz lard (or vegetable whitening, e.g. TREX or Flora)
  • 1 1/2 oz margarine
  • 3 oz caster sugar
  • 5 oz self-raising flour
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • quartered glacé cherries
  1. cream fats and sugar, add beaten egg
  2. work in the flour and the essence
  3. roll into balls with wet hands and coat with oats
  4. slightly flatten, place on greased tray, decorate with a piece of cherry
  5. bake for 15-20 mins reg 5, 375F, 190C

Try to resist eating them when they are still warm, or eating all of them at once when they are cool!

My mum’s cookies

When I was a child my mum made what she called cookies; they were delicous, and even when a few dales old still tasty. These were, I later found out, actually melting moments; now bakers and supermarkets and discrete shops sell cookies, which  softer and squidgy, rather like my mum’s cookies!

Here is the recipe she used… we have guests coming to stay, maybe I should make some!

  • 2½ oz margarine
  • 1½ oz lard
  • 3 oz caster sugar
  • ½ medium egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 5 oz self-raising flour
  • oats or desiccated coconut
  • glacé cherries, cut in small pieces
  1. Cream the margarine, lard and the sugar until very light and fluffy
  2. Beat in the egg and vanilla essence
  3. Stir in the flour and mix well
  4. Roll walnut sized pieces of the mixture into balls with slightly dampened hands, and cover with oats or desiccated coconut
  5. Place on 2 greased baking trays, flatten slightly, and put a small bit of cherry on each
  6.  Bake for 10-15 minutes at  180ºC, 350ºF, gas mark 4

Melting moment memories

We called them cookies, but they were in fact melting moments; I wrote about the memories family recipes conjure as you read them and make them again, and the memories of people who are no longer with us who gave you the recipe, or made it for you…

My mum always made the cakes, biscuits, cookies and buns which we ate as children – well she made just about everything els too! The bun tins were always full of something nice, and I have a real and very strange but totally understandable love of stale things… When mum had made something new, sometimes there was a lingering chocolate bun, piece of coffee and walnut cake, mince-pie, or cookie in the tin she was going to put the new batch in… and it would be an unexpected treat… maybe it was my undoing in terms of putting on weight!!

Looking at the recipe again, I’m transported back to our small kitchen, completely square as I remember it, with the back door leading into the garden flanked by two windows. there were tall cupboards either side of the windows, a table and chairs in the middle, a metal cabinet with drawer for food and implements, a sink along the outside wall with some sort of gas boiler to heat the water… and then there is a gap in my memory which matches the gap between the sink and the corner cupboard…

My mum was a speedy, efficient and brilliant cook, everything she made was perfectly cooked, pastry as light as a feather and crisp, cakes risen as if by magic, everything full of flavour… and yet we weren’t well off, she used the cheapest ingredients, including lard in the melting moment recipe… but you could substitute vegetable whitening, e.g. TREX or Flora:

My mum’s cookies

  • 2 1/2 oz lard
  • 1 1/2 oz margarine
  • 3 oz caster sugar
  • 5 oz self-raising flour
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • quartered glacé cherries
  1. cream fats and sugar, add beaten egg
  2. work in the flour and the essence
  3. roll into balls with wet hands and coat with oats
  4. slightly flatten, place on greased tray, decorate with a piece of cherry
  5. bake for 15-20 mins reg 5, 375F, 190C

Try to resist eating them when they are still warm, or eating all of them at once when they are cool… remember they are also good when slightly stale, so my five year-old self says!!

Cookies… aka melting moments

As children, the only cookies we knew were soft yummy biscuity things my mum made. These days cookies are biscuits, and sometimes very big biscuits.

Back to my childhood, and cookies… they were pale, and covered with rolled oats and with a glacé cherry on top, not a whole cherry, but a cut off bit of one. They were really called melting moments, I guess because they melted in your mouth in a moment; they were kept in a biscuit tin, and even when they were a little stale and had gone a little soft, I still really liked them. In those days we would have a cookie, not several, let alone all of them…. these days if there is a plate of biscuits it’s quite acceptable to have two or three, and if you have a packet at home… well, munch away!

I’m not that keen on sweet things, so biscuits are safe with me, but I wonder if I could resist some cookies, aka melting moments? Maybe I should make some and see!

Monica’s cookies

  • 2 1/2 oz lard (or vegetable whitening, e.g. TREX or Flora)
  • 1 1/2 oz margarine
  • 3 oz caster sugar
  • 5 oz self-raising flour
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • quartered glacé cherries
  1. cream fats and sugar, add beaten egg
  2. work in the flour and the essence
  3. roll into balls with wet hands and coat with oats
  4. slightly flatten, place on greased tray, decorate with a piece of cherry
  5. bake for 15-20 mins reg 5, 375F, 190C

Try to resist eating them when they are still warm, or eating all of them at once when they are cool!

Cookies

When we were children my mum Monica used to bake us cookies… now in those days in England we only had biscuits, those crispy flat circles of something yummy made from butter and flour and sugar, there weren’t cookies everywhere in the shops and cafés. Monica baked us cookies which I think are also called melting moments, so where she got the name from, or why she used it I don’t know. Maybe from her mum, Ida, or maybe from a recipe in a magazine? But she would bake us cookies; they were pale and slightly risen in the middle, covered with oat flakes and a glacé cherry on the top. They were so soft and melting and delicious  and even when they were a day or two old they were still delicious. In those days we had small portions of everything, so we would have one or maybe two cookies and then the lid was put other baking tin. These days people seem to work their way through packets of biscuits!

A friend and a WordPress friend mentioned that they had difficulty accessing my blog and suggested I contact the ‘happiness engineer’ to help solve the problem. I did so and it was suggested that I needed to clear my cookies… clear my cookies?? What? But of course this is a computer term; I use the computer all the time but I am so ignorant of how it all works, a bit like me driving all the time and really not understanding what goes on beneath the bonnet!

I followed the easy and helpful WordPress advice and cleared my cookies… I hope all will be well now, but please tell me if you have difficulty, I know what to do with old cookies now!

PS:  my featured picture is of Easter biscuits, not cookies… maybe I should make some cookies!!!

Biscuits

My mum Monica was a great cook and baker, but I don’t remember her cooking biscuits as such. She made soft crumbly Viennese whirls, chewy yummy macaroons, cookies – which are more properly melting moments – oaty and melty and nice even when a couple of days old… But I don’t remember her making  biscuits.

I recently had a pleasing triumph with Easter biscuits… and for once I am not being modest, I am boasting that they were really good, and correctly flavoured with cassia oil. So, although I am watching my weight, I have been looking at biscuit recipes, to make and then share – with my reading group friends, or with the people at the English class I volunteer to teach at. I came across a blog with ten top cookies – they look like biscuits to me, and each one was different and delicious looking. The ones I particularly liked were the  curried coconut ginger cookies which sound very different… you can see a photo here:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=408238752545917&set=pb.271783509524776.-2207520000.1365955762&type=3&theater

and you can have a look for yourself at the ten contestants in the Belle Grove Plantation cooking competition here:

http://virginiaplantation.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/and-the-top-ten-are/

  1. Auntie Jen’s Friday Cookies (vanilla, chocolate chips, cranberries, coconut flakes)
  2. Brown Rice Chocolate Chip Cookie
  3. Cranberry Orange Walnut Shortbread Cookies
  4. Cranberry-Orange Macadamia Butter Cookies
  5. Curried Coconut Ginger Cookies
  6. Dolley’s Delights (peppermint and white chocolate)
  7. Lavender Sugar Cookies
  8. Madison’s Apple Pie Cookies
  9. Modern Molasses Cookies
  10. Orange Cookies

Which would be your favourite? If you want the recipes, follow the links!