Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Kharma Cookies

When my brother was in first grade, my parents had just begun running a donut shop. Up to then, my dad had operated a gas station, and before that kept the books at a car dealership. Now my dad got up at 3 a.m. and made donuts and we were discovering the world of old-fashioned, French, plain, raised, jelly and bar donuts. This was a new and delicious adventure for our family.

Mrs. Columbus, the first grade teacher, asked each child for his or her favorite recipe and assembled them into a mini-cookbook. Choosing a recipe was a chore for my brother because he was (and still is) a very picky eater. I sat on him one summer afternoon, assisted by my sister and the Zink brothers, forced a spoonful of vanilla ice cream into his mouth, and held him until it had disappeared. The general feeling was that being choosy was every kid's God-given right, but that saying you didn't like ice cream was carrying the whole thing too far.

Well, my brother eventually chose a cookie recipe called Crunchy Nut Cookies. When the cookbook arrived home, we discovered that Mrs. Columbus had added a little preface to each child's selection. I remember how thrilled my mom was to read that these cookies were "from Mr. Baker himself". I guess we were new in town and it was nice to be recognized as the family who ran the donut shop. These cookies became a family favorite for all of us.

One downside of this cookie is that, if not stored immediately into an airtight container, they morph into a hardness rivalling that of a two-by-four. They still look delicious, but anyone gnawing on them risks a broken tooth. Oddly, if you leave them out for a day or so, they revert back to the chewy quotient of the perfect cookie. Also, the batter is very crumbly and so they aren't drop cookies, they are more of a scoop-it-on-the-pan-and-moosh-it-together cookie. And then too, they are called Crunchy Nut and we have never made it with nuts and never will.

My children also love this cookie, and since they travel well we've taken them (cookies and kids both) camping and on road trips. We've tried to keep them(cookies, not kids) in ziplocs and when we forget we've suffered through the hard stage(cookies and kids) knowing they are worth the wait. I've taken to tinkering with the recipe a bit, adding a bit more shortening or another egg--anything that might help keep it moist--without success.

I made them recently as a thank-you present for our neighbor who has dropped by daily to let Kharma out and play during the new little puppy stage. I have no idea what possessed me to make the changes I did, but the cookies turned out wonderfully and were the exact color of our new pup. So may I present the improved and renamed (flourish of trumpets, please)...


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream 1/2 cup softened butter. Add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup packed brown sugar and mix well. Beat in 2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. baking soda. Add 1 cup of flour and 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Gradually add water until the batter is not crumbly (not more than 1/4 cup). Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes until lightly browned.

(With only 1/2 cup of butter and 2 cups of whole wheat flour, you can pretend they are good for you, too!) Enjoy with someone you love.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Tempus fugit

I can't believe it is June already. I can't believe that in two and half days kindergarten will be over and we will have to say goodbye to our babies as they move to first grade. I can't believe that life is so busy. The last soccer practice for our first season of competitive soccer. Our last game. Getting ready for our Mother Goose Party. Getting ready for my sweetie's birthday. Getting ready for an out-of-town soccer tournament this weekend.

Maybe it's good to get away for a weekend. I won't be trying to juggle school-soccer-grammy-yard-pup.

Kharma did great on our last weekend trip and we are excited that my in-laws will get to see her as a pup. A long legged, 15 week old pup instead of our small sweet baby, but still funny and exuberant and slightly uncoordinated.

At least, I do know time is fleeting and keep enjoying the whole puppy experience. It'll be over too quickly. We won't miss the mischief and naughtiness, but we will miss the sweetness and general goofiness! Yeah, I promise to get a good photo of our growing girl and post it soon!