My aunt and godmother passed away a few of weeks ago. She was a woman who wore large earrings, red lipstick, expensive perfume, and had big Texas hair. She also loved to bake. This is one of the things I remember most about her.
The Christmas after my grandmother passed away, I received a cookbook from this aunt, and my mom. It was the cookbook of my family—where all of the secrets were kept.
It had been awhile since I made any of my family recipes, but right after my aunt died, I knew I wanted to do something to feel connected to her, to my dad, to my grandmother, and all the people who poured their blood, sweat, and tears into making delicious food to feed our family.
I pulled out the red plastic three-ring binder and turned to the first page: a picture of my grandparents, smiling, close together, with their arms around each other, standing in their kitchen with the words, “in memory of our mother, grandmother, and g. mother. We remember so many moments in her kitchen that are steeped in love, laughter, and grace” written above. My emotions began to churn, and that’s when I remembered there is a reason I keep this book closed.
I turn to the next few pages and find recipes written by my aunt, a family friend, my great-grandmother, my mom, my dad, and even my great- great grandmother. Some recipes are typed, while others are hand written in a beautiful cursive that has faded a bit because of the age of the card. I run my hand over each recipe and allow myself to go think about the memory and stories of each one.
A giggle comes over me when I read some recipes titled, “hankey pankey” and “heavenly cheese salad.” I can only imagine these were made for romantic dinners–while others use language like “catsup” or “icebox,” which show the age of the recipes.
That’s when I ran across the infamous “icebox cookies.” Every time my grandmother made these, I would eat an entire sleeve! They are not quite a sugar cookie and not quite a snickerdoodle, but something in between. As I made the recipe, I remembered my aunt and all of the people who have made sweet treats for me, and I continue to carry their memory through baking their recipes.
- Cream together the butter,sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
- Add dry ingredients.
- Mix well.
- Shape dough in rolls around 1-1 ½” inches in diameter and wrap in wax paper.
- Chill the roll of dough your ice box (freezer) for 2 hours*.
- Slice thin and bake at 325℉ for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are a slight golden brown color.
- Remove and place cookies on a cooling sheet.
- *can be in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.