“Would you like to help me bake cookies?” I asked Julia and her 6-year-old cousin Japheth who was here visiting.
“Yes! Yes!” came the excited responses.
“Okay, you may go wash your hands,” I directed.
“Soon Julia and Japheth were unwrapping six sticks of butter and placing them in a small bowl.
Next they helped me measure out the needed amounts of sugar in a larger bowl. In the meantime I had a 23 quart canner on the stove with tomato juice that I was turning into pizza sauce. All of that would have to be canned when it was done.
“Now you may dump the softened butter into a bowl with sugar and then mix it well,” I instructed. As Japheth dumped the six sticks of butter from the bowl it was when he remarked: “These seasonings smell funny.” I smiled and passed it off. He probably smells the Sucanat,” I thought to myself. Sucanat is a natural sugar that I sometimes use as a replacement for brown sugar.
My mind kept going as I thought of how much I enjoy working with children and teaching them new things such as baking cookies or whatever. Moments later I was horrified to discover my little stainless steel bowl where I had dumped my pizza sauce seasonings was empty. I stared at it. It took me a moment or two to register what had happened. My bowl with seasonings is what the children used to put in the butter and dumped all its contents into the sugar where it was mixed together!
“Um, wait,” I told them, trying to stay as calm as possible while explaining the dilemma. “You told us to use that bowl,” one of them explained.
“Okay, we had a misunderstanding, you may go play while I figure out what to do with this stuff,” I said.
I decided to scrape the three cups of butter, sugar, and pizza seasoning mixture into a container and stuck it in the fridge. Maybe I will use it for sweet breadsticks sometime, who knows? I just hated to think of dumping it all out. It took awhile for me to process everything and be willing to give the cookies another attempt.
Once more the children were delighted to help measure and dump ingredients as we mixed up a batch of daddy’s favorite cookies, molasses crinkles.
Thankfully, I had plenty of seasonings for the sauce and soon resumed with it. I had poured my pizza sauce into jars and was making a batch of mulberry pie filling when I heard a knock on the door. Who could it be? Mother. I was delighted to see her. It didn’t take her long to inform me that she had come to help. Bless her heart, there is no one quite like a mom. Soon she was filling jars with pie filling, washing dishes, and scrubbing my dirty stovetop. The children and I had helped one another pick a few mulberries from the tree in our backyard. They have a mild flavor and are delicious in pie filling with grape or blackberry Jell-O, resulting in a tasty pie.
As I pulled the first batch of cookies from the oven and eyed them critically they looked more like biscuits than cookies. I scanned my recipe. Sure enough, I had forgotten to tell the children to put in baking soda. I groaned and then mixed more soda into the dough.
As the cookies cooled, the children had fun decorating them with Julia’s cake decorator and topping them with sprinkles.
More “interesting” events followed such as spills in the kitchen and some of my prized flowers that got dug up by our adorable puppies. All in all it was a good day, yet full of unwelcome surprises.
JULIA’S MOLASSES CRINKLES
3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sorghum
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/4 cups flour
Cream cheese frosting
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Several drops red food coloring (optional)
Mix altogether until smooth.
Cream together butter and sugar.
Add egg and sorghum.
Blend together well.
Add dry ingredients.
Put half cup white sugar in a bowl and roll cookies in sugar. (Rolling in sugar is optional.)
Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
After cooled, spread on cream cheese frosting.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write Gloria directly at Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish go to www.amish365.com.