When I was little we lived just outside of Philadelphia in the smack center of probably one of the most historic areas of the United States. You couldn’t drive a mile without passing stone houses that were built in the 1600s and had witnessed war, peace and everything in-between for over 300 years. I didn’t have to learn about the mules that pulled flatboats along the canals because I visited those canals many times, and viewed the faded trails that the animals trudged along day after day. History was a living thing to me, sometimes more real than the world I lived in and I escaped to the woods more than once to hunt for arrowheads, musket shells, and other relics of those who had walked those woods before me.
I was, as you probably figured out, quite a loner – content with my one best friend, my thoughts, and my books. I loved living there and when I think of home those woods are one of the two images that come to my mind.
The frosting was creamy and I always remember it being pink, although perhaps it wasn’t. And looking backward 45 years those cookies seemed to have a magic all their own; one which ( if I could only remember the secret code) could whisk me back to that time and that place.
As many times as I tried to make these I could never get them right – or at least I could never get them the way that I remember them. That’s probably the biggest hurdle to overcome when you are recreating a flavor from childhood. It doesn’t have to taste the way it really did, it only has to taste the way you remember it.
The frosting was always too sweet, or not creamy enough… the cookie was too cakey or too crumbly… maybe it had too much vanilla or not enough butter. Whatever the problem, the recipes never ever were right.
These are exactly as I remember them. I won’t guarantee that they are exactly as YOU remember them but only that they are crumbly, tender with a delicate flavor and a perfect almost-salty aftertaste, and that the frosting is creamy and not too sweet. And pink. With sprinkles.
You can roll them out if you like – just chill the dough first. I prefer them rolled into balls and placed on the cookie sheets without chilling at all. They puff slightly as they bake but instead of getting cakey the insides become honeycombed with air bubbles and crumbs…and flavor.
I don’t know if this is your memory but it is mine – and I’d love to share it with you. Don’t forget the frosting – pink.
© 2012 Marye Audet