The Cookie Jar
Previously, I’ve mentioned there are a few constant things in the Cat House. Granola is one of them. Cookies… well, there are always cookies in the cookie jar.
The Brother and I spent a great deal of time with our maternal grandparents. We used to walk from their house to school in the morning and spend the afternoons with them after school let out. My grandfather was an exceptional man. He always had a smile on his face, candy in his shirt pocket and cookies in the jar.
I grew up watching my grandfather pull down the old latch-topped stainless steel cookie jar from the top shelf of the cupboard. He was about 5’10 so he could easily hide his sugary goodness from my grandmother who couldn’t reach the top shelf with her 5’2 frame. My grandmother is the matriarch of the family and has been since she was 20 years old. She’s used to running a tight ship and controlling everything around her. One of the never ending arguments in The Grandparent’s house was my grandpapa’s inability to stay away from sweets… cookies in particular.
My grandmother felt she’d solved cookie conundrum. She started making flax-seed studded bricks filled with prunes and dates, sunflower seeds, whole wheat flour… the kitchen sink really. Not ones to ever complain, The Brother, Grandpapa and I would dutifully sit at the kitchen table with a stacked plate of cookie bricks, a gallon of milk and the dentist on speed dial. Grandmother flitted about the kitchen with a tight smile on her face saying, “Good… aren’t they!?” Uh, yeah… No.
Grandpapa would stock up on glazed oatmeal cookies at Aldi, at the Apple Market he would grab Devil’s Food Cookies, Price Chopper he would find Vortmans. Since grandmother never paid for anything, she’d grab her handbag from the shopping cart, walk to the front of the store and stand with her prim white gloved hands neatly clasped in front of her, handbag dangling precisely halfway between her wrist and elbow… hat perfectly pinned to her hair. Grandpapa would unload the groceries to the belt, tuck the cookies into a separate bag and off they went. Once they got home, grandpapa would leave his bag of cookies in the trunk, unload the rest of the groceries for grandmother and find his way to his hidden cookies once grandmother had vacated the kitchen and he could stash his cookies on the top shelf in the cupboard.
The cookie jar was never empty. The Brother and I believed it held magical powers because it seemed to always be brimmed with store-bought sweets. We’d wake to find grandpapa standing over the kitchen sink, a cup of dark black coffee in one hand, a cookie in the other. Midway through the morning we’d find him sitting on the back porch gripping a glass of milk and a cookie. After school, he’d have another coffee along with a cookie. Before dinner, his appetizer was always a good cookie. Dessert? Whatever grandmother made, usually fruit studded jell-o… and a cookie.
I met The Husband in October 2001. I wasn’t yet at a place in our relationship where I felt I could introduce him to grandpapa. So on my way to see The Husband for the night, I’d stop by the nursing home where my grandpapa would be waiting for his daily shave and shampoo from me. By that time, he didn’t know who I was. I was just the sweet young thing that stopped by one day and treated him kindly. He didn’t realize that I did this every day… and every day I left a couple cookies by his bed.
The Husband and grandpapa met in December 2002, right before we married. The Husband sat with my grandpapa, listened to the wonderful stories he had to tell about his youth… but by then grandpapa was telling the stories as if they were present day… he was 20 years old asleep in a silo in Saskatoon, Saskachewan. I saw grandpapa for the last time right before I moved to North Carolina with my new husband. I gave him a sloppy kiss, he looked at me like I was crazy and asked “Why are you crying girl?” I just said, “Oh, I love you grandpapa. That’s all.” Puzzled, he said, “Well, I guess I love you too… may I ask, who are you?”
The Husband left for Iraq in February 2003, grandpapa passed in his sleep 2 weeks later. I always keep my cookie jar full. Partly for grandpapa but mostly because I married a cookie monster myself. I miss you grandpapa, you’d absolutely love The Husband. He eats more cookies than you!
Cat’s Chocolate Oatsies (no flax-seed!)
A Cat’s Pajamas Original
3/4 c butter
1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground allspice or cloves
1 t vanilla
1 3/4 c flour
2 c oats
1 c coconut
2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a stand mixer or large bowl, beat the butter and sugars, powder, soda, cinnamon and allspice (or cloves) on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and beaters, beat again, adding eggs one at a time and vanilla until incorporated. Slowly beat in flour. Stir in oats, coconut and chocolate chips.
Drop cookie dough in rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees until the edges just start to brown. Remove from oven, cool for 2 minutes on pan then remove to a wire cooling rack.
So… you always end up with burnt cookies? Take a tip from me… keep your oven light on for the first batch or two. Always start at the lowest amount of time specified, you can always cook them longer but you can’t un-cook them. Once the edges of the cookie look crisp, remove them from the oven and keep them on the baking sheet for a few minutes while they continue to cook.
Mosey on back tomorrow to see how this non-fungus eating Cat faired with this month’s Barefoot recipe!