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economical cookies

Baking for comfort, baking for memories: Why these cranberry cookies remind me of my mom

Can you smell the cookies? Yes, it’s happening: I’m baking! It’s 86 degrees in here, very humid, and the air conditioning is on. The noise of the hood is cutting through the heat, yet – thankfully! – the little one is sound asleep on the silky brown carpet. I’m baking not because I’ve been craving cookies, nor because I enjoy sweating next to the hot oven, but because I need to feel that, somehow, my mom is  still with me.

My mom went back to Europe last month, and we did several rounds of baking just before she left. We looked through her old recipe notebook – a bunch of butter-smeared and cocoa-dusted pages barely hanging in there – and found culinary gems we had long forgotten. We shared memories about the loved ones who are no longer with us, and my mom’s eyes often grew sad as her mind revisited the past. We spoke, baked and remembered, and traveling through time provided comfort and a bitter-sweet, almondy sense of happiness. Isn’t this what baking is all about? That’s what I think, anyway 🙂

This is one of the recipes we revisited before my mom left for Europe. Keep Reading

Fall is upon us, so it’s time to do some baking: the cookies of my childhood

Something has troubled me these past few days: the fall approaching. Lately, the weather has been unusually mild here in Chicago, with low overnight temperatures and highs in the ’70s. There’s something in the air, something that tells me fall is just around the corner. Too soon. Too fast. It’s the middle of August and I can already see the birds migrating, and I can hear their desperate cries as they fly to a warmer climate. Why does summer have to go away so quickly? I don’t know.

I tried to stay positive and to think happy thoughts as I faced this early arrival of the fall. My mom, who’s been here for about a month now, came up with the idea of doing some baking to cheer me up. She took out her recipe binder and we went over several recipes until we came across the one for jam cookies – the cookies of my childhood, as I like to call them. Keep Reading