April 12, 2016

Friday, December 6, 2013

Poetry Friday: Cookie Monster

Writerly Friends, this week marked a Very Important national holiday.
...but save some for this week's Poetry
Friday hostess, Robyn Hood Black.
I am deeply embroiled in blogger Brenda Drake's Pitch Wars. This involves checking one's Twitter feed obsessively for clues about which manuscripts author/mentors selected for their teams. It feels like choosing sides for Writerly dodgeball.

All of the stress sent me searching for crunchy nibbles. According to Fit Today, "Stress eaters often go for crunchy foods because the force used to chew them relieves tension in the jaw, a place where we often build up stress."

Unfortunately, the Thanksgiving pies are gone. (Bethany's apple and blueberry pie with granola crumble topping was tangy sweet perfection.)

The Hanukkah latkes are but a memory. 
Andrew Purcell for Parade
I am definitely trying this curried sweet potato latke
recipe from Parade magazine next year.
Christmas baking season is not quite upon us. There were no -- as in: not one crumb -- cookies in the house. Agony.

That's why I'm still celebrating National Cookie Day (December 4)! 

Last night, I came home from the store with three types of cookies. Keebler Fudge Stripes for the family -- they're not my favorite, so they're safe to keep in the house, Newton's Blueberry Brown Sugar Fruit Thins (fake healthy), and SnackWell's Fudge Drizzled Dobule Chocolate Chip Cookies 100 Calorie Packs (portion control).

But what I really want for coping with Pitch Wars stress is a good, home made cookie.

For the holidays, my children and I will make:

  • Italian Biscotti
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies (from the Baltimore Sun's annual cookie contest -- trust me on this one, you will thank me later)
  • Cinnamon Stars
  • Robbie's Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • and Paintbrush Cookies

The Paintbrush Cookies are part of Shovan family lore. But first, to whet your cookie apetite, here is a poem from the book Food Fight: Poets Join the Fight Against Hunger with Poems to Favorite Foods, edited by Michael J. Rosen.

On Good Reads.
Christmas Cookies
by Myra Cohn Livingston

Reindeer, stars, bells, Christmas trees--
all the cookies look like these

baked for Christmas, cut from dough,
frosted, sugared. Who will know

where we licked when icing dripped
and somehow Blizten's tail got nipped?

Who will guess we ate the bell
with chocolate sprinkles? Who can tell

we cut four stars a little thin
to put inside the cookie tin

so let's give Jennifer a taste.
Still, there's too much to go to waste...

To read the rest, you'll have to find a copy of Food Fight. It's out of print -- a sad thing because Food Fight is beautiful, fun, and filled with more goodness than an Oreo.

Many years ago, when I was a teenage poet, my family took off for a holiday ski vacation and left me and my recently 'scoped knee behind. I spent Christmas at my boyfriend's house.

What the heck was I, a mere college student with no bucks in the bank, going to get for my maybe future mother-in-law? And did I mention that when it comes to me and Christmas, it's complicated? 

Hanukkah was early this year, but our Christmas
baking usually looks something like this.
When I saw a set of Mary Englebreit cookie tins, a plan formed. I would buy those tins and I would fill them with home made cookies! For my boyfriend's Italian mother. Who is an amazing cook.

I dug out my mother's Betty Crocker's Christmas Cookbook (1983). Little did I know, reading the Paintbrush Cookies recipe, that a family tradition -- yes, that boyfriend was The One -- had begun.

I'm not going to share the recipe, delicious as it is, because it's not mine. Your favorite sugar cookie dough will work. The key is the paint.

Betty Crocker Paintbrush Cookies

Your favorite sugar cookie recipe
Egg Yolk Paint (1 egg yolk, 1/4 tsp. water per batch)
Craft paint brushes (small)

Make or buy sugar cookie dough. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Heat oven to directions.

Roll the dough 1/8 thick on a lightly floured board. Got cookie cutters? Get out those bad boys! Some of our favorites are an elephant, an alligator, and a house. 

I'm waiting for someone to gift me with Ninjabread Men cookie cutters.

Cut out your cookies and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. We use parchment paper. Prepare Egg Yolk Paint: mix egg yolk and water, divide into several rammekins, tint each with a different food color. The paint should be bright. Add drops of water if the paint thickens.

Turn on a Brian Setzer's Christmas album. Make several mugs of hot cocoa. Sit around the kitchen table with your family, painting away the afternoon.

When the cookies are painted, bake  until they are delicate golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Makes several dozen cookies.

One of my favorite poems to write with elementary and middle schooler is the food poem. Our focus isn't just describing a food using the five senses, but writing about a food tradition like Paintbrush Cookies. You can read a brief description of my food poetry workshop and some sweet student poems here

Wishing you a delicious holiday season and a happy Poetry Friday!


Tabatha said...

How sweet that you began a family tradition when you were still dating!

I think I see where "Christmas Cookies" is going...

jama said...

Cookies, did someone say cookies? I'm all over those Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies -- perfect timing since I was looking for a new Christmas cookie recipe to try.

Love hearing about your family holiday traditions.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

"It all began with cookies" - how wonderful that the first line of my cyber seduction was the real life beginning of your love story! We'll have to try painting cookies for a change. (The frustrations of sprinkle decorating are many.) Happy belated National Cookie Day!

Author Amok said...

Jama -- those Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies are aMAZing. Just a tiny bit of kick.

Michelle, painting these cookies takes us about an hour (we are *serious* about our cookies) -- but it's a fun hour, time well spent being creative together.

Keri said...

It's so much fun to learn about people through their posts. I'm glad I'm not the only "stress eater" in the bunch. ;-) I love your story and how each family has a unique holiday baking tradition.

Joy said...

I'm with Jama, I've got to try those Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies, chili in the recipe--WOW!
Sorry I can't help with the Ninja cookie cutters. Have you done a web search? When I was in college, I took auto shop to impress my then boyfriend. We had to do a term project demonstrating some form of transportation. First we had to submit a proposal listing our materials. In my proposal,I said I'd demonstrate air, land and sea transportation, making models using flour, sugar and eggs. The proposal was accepted and then I had to find cookie cutters of a car, a boat, and an airplane. (I never thought my proposal would be accepted, but the prof was a good guy.) But I couldn't find the cookie cutters I needed. When I talked to the prof about this, he smiled and said, "I knew you'd have trouble with that."
I was worried about having to make a cardboard shape and then cut by hand each cookie for 3 dozen to feed the whole class. Thank goodness my class shop partner was also taking metal shop. He bailed me out and made the cookie cutters for me from my pattern. I was really tempted to switch boyfriends. He was a really nice guy. I gave him all the extra cookies. I still have the cutters.

Linda B said...

The Mexican hot chocolate cookies look wonderful, and also look like my gingersnap cookies-might be a great pairing. Rich and yummy post, Laura. I found your Food Fight book, on Amazon-don't know how you feel about Amazon, but I think it's wonderful to find used books there. I buy the new ones from my Indies. Thanks for the painting lesson-might be fun with my older granddaughter! I loved your story, too!

Margaret Simon said...

You hooked me with this post. I went all the way back to your food poem post and saw that I was a terrible poetry friday host back in June. I didn't even comment. Now I want to make up for it. I want to try the food senses poem with my students, and no better time of year to do it.
Painting cookies looks like a great tradition that I would like to begin. Thanks for all your great ideas. Some people think that Poetry Friday is all about poetry, but today it's all about food!

GatheringBooks said...

Now i am absolutely hungry! Cookies are my favorite things! Even more than cakes! Or muffins! Cookies!!! And Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies - I have a feeling I'd be making this one for Christmas (or so I claim). :) Thanks for sharing this!

Liz Steinglass said...

I love your story about baking cooking for your future mother-in-law. You were brave!

Diane Mayr said...

You're not going to believe this--guess which Christmas CD is sitting on top of the pile (the same pile that has been on the corner of my desk since last year)? Dig That Crazy Christmas! Tomorrow I'm going to start playing my Christmas music. A few favorites: Christmas with the Rat Pack, Christmas Island by Leon Redbone, the soundtrack to Elf, and about ten more! I love Christmas music, but not too early.

Mary Lee said...

I am SO going to take advantage of National Cookie Day being on my birthday from now until Kingdom Come! Hooray for cookies!!

Author Amok said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. Wow. The way to a reader's heart is through her love of cookies, eh?

Joy, I loved your story. You'll have to post a photo of those cookie cutters some time.

Margaret, let me know how the food poetry goes with your students. I'll bet they surprise themselves.

Diane, I am going to check out some of those CDs.

Mary Lee -- You're welcome.