Thursday, October 1, 2015

National Homemade Cookies Day (AKA Home Is Where The Oven Is)

One year ago today Nick and I closed on our home.

We've painted, cleaned, landscaped, replaced, and rebuilt in the last 365 days.

We froze in the winter and we've baked in the summer.

But it's our home and we love it.

There is something truly special about having a place to call home.  George Carlin one said "A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it."  And to some extent that's true.  A house is just a pile of stuff.  But a home....  A home is where you curl up with your dog on the couch to watch TV; where friends come over for a  pool party and you laugh when it starts to rain; and where you and your loved ones gather and end the day with a kiss goodnight.

Home is also where you bake cookies.


I may have mentioned this before, but I am not good at baking.  Cooking, yes.  Baking, no.  I think it's the accuracy that baking entails.  When I cook, I can throw in a little of this, little of that - more or less each time I make a dish, depending on my mood.  With baking, however, the slightest bit of extra flour can dry out your cookies, the incorrect amount of baking powder results in flat instead of fluffy.  Stir too long you get hockey pucks - don't stir enough and you get pockets of dry ingredients.  Sift before use, make sure the oven is at the right temp, don't substitute ingredients needlessly, compliment your dough often.

In other words, baking is the high maintenance girlfriend of the culinary world.

There are exactly three baking-called-for recipes that I can successfully make on a consistent basis.  One is my mother's butter cookie recipe that she's been making for me since I was a child.  Now, even though I make them well, there is still some special Mom-Magic she must add at the last minute that's not in the recipe, because hers still taste better than mine regardless of how awesome mine come out.

So in honor of National Homemade Cookies Day, here is my one successfully-made cookie recipe I can share with you (minus the Mom-Magic of course)....

One tiny little disclosure; for this recipe you will need a cookie press.  Sorry.  They're not expensive - Crate and Barrel sells them for under $30 (here).  And you will use it again because you will love this recipe.

Mom's Butter Cookies
  • 1 cup butter - (soft enough to mix, but still has a chill on it)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/4 c sifted flour
  • Food coloring - if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, cream the butter.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and almond extract.  Add in a few drops of food coloring if desired. Gradually blend in flour.
Fill cookie press and press cookies onto a silicone baking sheet, nonstick or ungreased cookie sheet (trust me, these things have enough butter in them they're not sticking to anything).  Decorate with sprinkles if you wish.
Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.  Remove to wire rack and cool

The best part about this recipe is that you can make these cookies anytime for any holiday.  Your cookie press will come with a variety of different disks so these can become a staple in your Christmas cookie baskets, or a quick bake for a summer picnic.  But whenever you decide to bake them, they're easy, quick and best of all, tasty.

Homemade cookies - is there anything that says home better?

OK....cookies come in second best.