Yesterday brought our first snow here in north Texas in a couple years. Snow around these parts is never the pretty sort: the shocked brown grass tends to poke through whatever snow accumulates, which isn’t much. And so it was on Friday.
And yet, there’s something nostalgia-inducing about snowfall for me, even though I didn’t spend any of my “formative years” in a place that saw winters that bit harder than light freezes. There’s something about the sudden silence that fosters a turning inward, perhaps. Or something about the imagery of snow that is so associated with the holidays this time of year.
Regardless, when the nostalgia strikes, or that particular kind of nostalgia strikes anyway, it’s time to break out the family recipe for spice cookies. I’ve made my own updates to the recipe over the years–a whole bag of really good dark chocolate chips, oatmeal whenever I can remember to add it in, double the spices.
And like trying to reach back for the origin of the nostalgia, the cookies never turn out the same way as the original, nor do they turn out the same from one batch to another. Which is what appeals to me about them. The act of remembering changes the memory; so too the act of baking–the act of creation, really–changes the recipe. Fortunately for me and all who eat them, they pretty much always turn out decently regardless.
Jessie Harban says
Your post does not contain the recipe for spice cookies. This is an oversight.
Alas, I didn’t include it, but it’s more a method than a recipe. Add to a good, sturdy chocolate chip cookie recipe at least 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cloves, and increase the chocolate chips by at least half. I’ll also add in a 1/2 to 3/4 cup of oatmeal, which gives the cookies a better texture. And adding 1/2 cup chopped nuts is good too. Walnuts work nicely, but being a Texan, I prefer pecans, of course. The original recipe indicated 1/2 tsp nutmeg, but I’m not convinced that nutmeg and chocolate work together so well. The resulting bar cookies lack structural integrity, especially when they’re still warm, depending on how much additional goodness you add to them.