I opened the large drawer, removed two bowls and gently gave it a nudge shut. The drawer magically clicked into place as I stepped away to gather the rest of the ingredients. Outside large snowflakes were falling out of the dark and cloud filled sky. I was as giddy at the thought of playing in the snow come morning…even if it meant shoveling a landscape which was still unfamiliar. Inside, the house was quiet. The fireplace cast a warm glow around the room beneath the mantle, draped with a garland with twinkling white lights. The dog was on his bed, dreaming, softly barking of a great rabbit chase in the woods. As I glanced around the kitchen I sensed friendly ghosts of the past and present. They were my baking companions this evening.
As I began to cream the butter and sugar in the big blue flowered bowl I had a flashback to my childhood. It was in this same bowl that my Mom would throw together pancakes on a Sunday morning before CBS Sunday Morning aired. We always loved watching the musical segments. In December, my Mom and I would stand side by side in our little kitchen in the bright red A-Frame house and make Betty King’s Cranberry Coffee Cake to gift to people. I look back at that recipe and wonder why it was only December when we could have that special treat. I suppose I could make it any time of year but it just would not be quite right. Fast forward to the present and here I was standing in this new and beautiful kitchen with the old trusty blue bowl.
I have wanted to try my hand at some slice and bake cookies for a long while. We can all give some thanks to Joy the Baker for adding this recipe to her cookbook and my Sundays with Joy baking group for scheduling this recipe! I raided the walk in pantry (so envious) and came up with all of the ingredients except dried cranberries. Dilemma. I spied dried cherries and figured that would have to do since driving through 6 inches of snow was not on my list of adventures to have that evening.
The hard part about this is waiting for the chilled dough – I chilled mine overnight as suggested. Joy does say you can chill it for 3 hours and others have suggested popping it into the freezer for 30 minutes then proceeding to slice and bake. I found patience as the dog and I headed outside in the falling snow for a walk.
The next morning as the coffee was brewing a pan of these cookies were baked off in no time. The cookie was a buttery, tender cookie studded with poppy seeds and a few dried cherries if you were lucky. The orange zest really added a lovely pop of flavor as well. I wonder what would happen if the orange zest were mixed with sugar and then creamed with the butter? Maybe I will try that next time around…along with the dried cranberries.
I left the remaining logs of dough with my Mom – just in case she needed a quick cookie for holiday entertaining or a little food gift. Though it was not the same as that delicious coffee cake from years past, but thankfully, there are still some calendar days left in December for that!
Thanks for reading!