Can you remember that first homemade treat you ever baked?
Retro back about 50 years with me today as I share with you the story of my first solo baking adventure. I can remember that Saturday afternoon in the cozy kitchen of our farm home as if it were the back of my hand…
Mom’s day was busy enough without helping me bake, so she suggested that I look through cookbooks and find a cookie recipe that was appealing to me. That’s what I did. I could have baked chocolate chip cookies, but they seemed too ordinary. I was looking for a recipe that would help me become the Baking Queen For A Day! I could only imagine taking a cookie sheet out of the oven that was graced by Florence’s Fancy Sugar Cookies or Peggy’s Gumdrop Jewels. But the real diamond in the sky was when my eyes caught the recipe name, Lace Cookies. Like a creative baking artist imagines how the finished product will appear, I could just imagine what delicate beauties those would be…and I would be the creator of what I knew would be sweet little Victorian-appearing doilies in cookie form. I could just envision that baking crown atop my little head! Now, remember, my baking skills were novice to say the least. But I did measure all of the ingredients accurately as mom had previously taught me…dry ingredients measured and leveled accurately and wet ingredients measured in a Pyrex glass measuring cup. The recipe called for molasses which was an ingredient that definitely didn’t appeal to my taste buds. Oh, but I could overcome that just because I envisioned my cookies to be the most beautiful cookies that ever would have baked in my mom’s oven! But is that what would happen? Well, read on…
As I was preparing the dough, I kept wondering how a lace design would form from a solid scoop of dough just by being baked? The recipe said to put only enough dough for 2 cookies on a cookie sheet, but I wanted to see the marvel of more lacey cookies than that per pan, so I put dough for 6 cookies on that first cookie sheet to enter the oven. I anxiously sat by the window in the oven door and watched that dough turn into a beautiful lacey design… that is 1 huge lace doily that covered the entire cookie sheet and not 6 individual lacey cookies. With the spacing of the cookie dough too close together, the heat had caused the dough to spread like the dickens with the edges of each hopeful cookie calling out to the next one to come on over and join hands. Now, I had to get that monstrosity off of the cookie sheet without making a mess. (Remember, this was before the invention of parchment paper, PAM, or nonstick pans.) Unfortunately, that did not happen. What I had was a huge blob because as I was removing it from the cookie sheet, the lace design all pushed together to make an indescribable-looking cookie—certainly not lacey looking! To top it off, as it cooled, it shattered into lace cookie shards!
Well folks, as you can imagine, the crown for Baking Queen For The Day didn’t grace my head that afternoon. Let’s just say that my lofty goals of making the most beautiful cookie in the world at age 8 had been squelched, but my baking passion wasn’t!
Enter Chapter Two….Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies. Even though I thought of them as pretty ordinary in the cookie world, that recipe on the back of the package became the mainstay of my cookie baking for awhile until I had improved my techniques and understanding of baking. They were, and still are, a joy to eat, too!!