Blogging from A to Z: April ~2016: X
The Blogging from A to Z challenge is to post everyday during the month of April 2016, except Sunday. I’ll start with the letter A and hopefully make it all the way to letter Z. Hope you enjoy the read!
Come sit a spell with me and learn about the foods and memories of my Southern heritage, and enjoy a little Southern talk along the way… I grew up in the heart of Georgia, married a Yankee in Connecticut and suddenly became displaced from my roots. But one thing is true – You can take the girl out of the South – But you can’t take the South out of the girl! I’ve learned to eat differently over the years, but I’ve never given up the foods I grew up on. When I left Georgia, at the young age of nineteen, I knew how to cook nothing! I pretty much learned to cook by asking mama over the phone, how do you do make this, and how do you make that; thank heavens for my Southern mama! Even though mama doesn’t cook too much today, she still remembers the recipes and she’s been my go-to person every night in chatting about my Southern foods and many of her memories.
Southern Food and Memories
Well I only have one thought on this – Xmas cookies! As a child I had no favorites like I do today. I guess because mama never baked cookies – what a neglected child I was – LOL…
I have too many favorites to name today, but let me try… Of course first would be Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal, Peanut Butter, 7 Layer Bars, Biscotti, Butterballs, Shortbread cookies, Black and Whites, Teacakes, Italian Anginettes, Mandelbread cookie, Pignoli cookies, Spritz cookies, Sugar cookies and my two all-time favorites at Xmas are Cherry Winks and Thumbprints.
I scream – You scream – We all scream for Xmas Cookies!!!
So let’s discuss some of my cookies… I can’t promise, to not make you too hungry! Everyone loves Chocolate Chip cookies and they were the favorite in my house as the kids grew up. But there always had to be a few changes – my husband and I liked Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal, but I wanted nuts in mine and he didn’t – then there was my son who liked only Chocolate Chip, with no nuts. Sometimes I even used M&M’s instead of the chocolate chips. My daughter and I shared the same likes so that was easy. Whenever I made Chocolate Chip cookies, I had to divide the batter, add oatmeal to half – to satisfy hubby and me and the other batch of just plain chocolate chip pleased my son. Before baking I added a few walnuts to some of the cookies so my daughter and myself had our nut fix. So how easy was that – we all could be pleased in just one batch.What a mother doesn’t do to please her family!
I’ve always loved peanut butter, but not hubby or son. Whenever I made these it was just for my daughter and me – we didn’t have to share or worry that anyone would gobble them all up on us – Ha Ha!
I never had 7-Layer bars until I married and Aunt Catherine made them at Xmas – and Oh Boy did I fall in love with them. How could you not, with layers of chocolate chips, coconut, M&M’s – really whatever layers you wanted to add. She made them the best!!!
Biscotti is a hard-type cookie that’s best eaten by dunking in your coffee unless you want to crack your teeth! I never ate this cookie until moving to CT. – it wasn’t a Southern style cookie, although I’m sure they are eaten there now. There are so many food changes since the Food Network appeared on TV and all those cooking shows. Now everyone is introduced to many flavors of cooking – Southern food is very popular in the North now.
I love Butterball cookies – also called Wedding cookies and Snowballs – so called because they are white after rolling in that confectionary sugar. They were favorites of my father-in-law, so I always made extras for him. They are a delicious small shortbread type cookie with pecans and rolled in confectionery sugar after baking. They seem to store well, but they don’t last long – why you ask – because you just keep popping them in your mouth!
Shortbread cookies are another favorite. I’ve learned that they actually originated in Scotland and the first printed recipe was back in 1736 from a Scotswoman named Mrs. McLintock. Well maybe that’s why I like them so much, because I have Scot blood-lines from my McKinley side. Wow – I’d love to find that actual recipe I mentioned from 1736 – I think I will search it out! The crispy cookie is actually considered a type of biscuit and is traditionally made from 1 part sugar to 2 parts butter to 3 parts flour. I love that crispy taste of shortbread cookies.
I love a black and white cookie, but I’ve never made one from scratch. Remember how popular they became from the Seinfeld Show? That show brought them much attention and popularity.
Teacakes are an older cookie my grandmother McKinley made – but I never had the chance to taste; I bet they were good. Mama often talked about her mother making them and it was the only cookie she baked. In those days, they didn’t bake the assortment of cookies like we bake today. I need to find someone to share their grandmothers’ recipe with me.
Italian Anginettes are one of the most popular cookies in our family and I had never heard of them until I married into an Italian family; boy did I miss out! The first time I went to a bridal shower, my mother in law told me that there would be trays and trays of cookies for the guests to pick from to bring home. She warned me not to dawdle, or the women would quickly snatch up all the good cookies – Anginettes are cookies that quickly disappear fast. She was right too – the women scattered to the cookie table filling up plates to bring home. I quickly learned not to dawdle if I wanted cookies! She made the best Anginettes in the family, using ricotta as her secret ingredient in the cookie dough. I learned to make them just as good as hers and later taught my husband – who makes them better than we did. Are you drooling over those cookies cooling below?
Mandelbread cookie I never heard of until a co-worker brought them to work; they were a big hit. Guess what she baked the dough in? You’ll never guess either… she baked them in old aluminum ice cube trays – minus the ice cube dividers. I had to begin a hunt for those trays, but mama quickly came to my rescue by finding me a couple. It’s more of a soft dough and forms into the tray for the shape. After baking, they’re sliced – it’s a cookie that will have you reaching to the tray for another and possibly another – until your hand is slapped…
Pignoli cookies are another Italian favorite of mine – it’s the pine nuts and almond taste that makes them so yummy. This cookie is basically only made with sugar, almond paste, Pignoli nuts and egg whites – no flour. This is the top of the line of wedding cookies! The first wedding I went to, my mother in law pointed them out to me and said, “there is never many of them on the cookie trays, so get to the table quickly to grab them.” She was right about that, as the women dive-bombed for those Pignoli cookies. LOL, I was a fast learner after tasting them – I wanted more! They are also an expensive cookie to make with those nuts selling for over $19.99 a pound – ouch! The reason for the expense is how they are harvested. The seeds are from the cones of pine trees; when mature, the cones are collected, dried, and processed to open their scales so the pine kernels can be removed. It’s a very labor-intensive process in comparison to how other nuts are gathered.
I’ve made Spritz cookies for many years and it’s another cookie I learned from my mother in law. I even have her older cookie press which I still use. Sometimes it’s a little time consuming, but it still works – no electrical parts to break down – all done by hand. I never baked cookies with my mother, it was my mother in law who taught me cookie baking. Their family always baked cookies for showers and weddings – there would be huge cookie trays! Almost everyone who attended their parties never came home without a cookie plate. It was such fun to make a plate of cookies to bring home to enjoy the next day. And the best part was, my husband didn’t like those type cookies – they were all mine!!!
Everyone loves a sugar cookie, but I kind of cheated as I never rolled them out – I hate rolling out dough. I mostly made the drop sugar cookie and added M&M’s to the batter – the kids loved them. Who doesn’t love M&M’s…
Now finally to my top two favorite cookies. Let’s start with Cherrywinks, an older recipe from Kellogg’s – they are made using Cornflakes for the crunchy outside. At first when my mother in law made them, I didn’t think I’d like as she put chopped dates in them, but after tasting them, they quickly became my No. 1 favorite. I usually only make at Xmas, but I sure could go for one right now. They also are a good coffee dunker cookie – I love to dunk cookies – and hate when the cookie falls back into the coffee! Follow this link to my recipe.
My second favorite is Thumbprints and I only make them at Xmas unless I have a bridal shower to attend. Many recipes call for walnuts, but I only use pecans as I think they give the best taste after they are toasted in baking. Everything tastes better with pecans! You can use your favorite flavor of jam – I always have blackberry jam in the fridge.
Love to hear what Southern favorite cookies you remember? Or what’s your favorite cookie? If your looking for a recipe, just ask and I’ll post.
Grab a cup of coffee on your way out – remember don’t dawdle or that cookie tray will be empty…
Update here… thanks to cousin Lyn Smallwood Smith – she searched and found the reference to the 1736 Scottish cookbook I mentioned above on the shortbread cookie.
Info found on website: http://macrinabakery.com/blog/tag/shortbread-cookies/
The very first shortbread recipe appeared in “Mrs. McLintock’s Recipes for Cookery and Pastry-Work,” a Scottish cookbook published in 1736. The quaint recipe reads:
To Make Short Bread
Take a peck of Flour, put three lb of Butter in amoung a little water, and let it melt, pour it in amoung your Flour, put in a Mutchkin of good Barm; when it is wrought divide it in three parts, roll out your cakes longer then broad, and gather from the sides with your Finger, cut down the Middle and job it on Top, then send it to the oven.
Sure hope you understood all that – I’ll have to read up on some of those words!
Lyn did a search for the publication and found this little 80 to 96 page book on Amazon and Abe books for the asking price of $149; it also appears on Barnes & Noble for $218!! And these are prints from 1986 and 1991, Not even the actual publications from 1736? I just can’t wrap my head around the prices they are asking for reprints?? I’m not sure if I’m willing to pay those prices for a cookbook, but if you’d like it – we’ve pointed you in the direction! I’m told that this was the first cookbook printed in Scotland – maybe that adds to the price. I did find another site that listed a few more recipes from her cookbook – if you’d like to take a peek at other older recipes, click here.
Need More A to Z -then you know what to do…2016: Blogging from A to Z Challenge
© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco