I’m not quite sure why the Cookie Monster was always one of my favorite Sesame Street characters but somehow this disheveled image of pure and unbridled greed always made me snicker and giggle a lot. (I think I saw him as the Gordon Gekko of the down home, family kitchen.) Anyway, it made me a bit sad when the health conscious thought police “toned him down” in 2006, forcing him to term a cookie “a sometime snack” and making it known that he also liked to eat fruit and eggplant. Fortunately that bit of political correctness now has faded from memory and we can all go back to avidly enjoying our sugary treats.
Personally, I just love to snack on cookies, which is rather a shame, since making them forms one of my more unpleasant experiences in the kitchen. Like Cookie Monster, my favorites are chocolate chip, first, and oatmeal, second, although it’s hard to think of a kind that I don’t love to eat. I always like to accompany the cookies with a beverage and the type of drink must determine the type of cookie — you know, there are milk cookies and coffee cookies and tea cookies, and so on. (Beer cookies? I wonder.) But I usually go to a good bakery to buy the cookies because making them seems to be my own particular culinary nemesis. I recall one experience, for instance, when the dough all swelled together in the oven into one enormous, depressing, soggy mess, another time when the drop cookies turned into singed, hard little marbles and I don’t even want to think about my discouraging experiences with crumbly, disintegrated shortbread. So I am thinking — perhaps I should attend our Saturday, February 7th, Go Cooking session — even though it is for seven to twelve year olds?
At the Saturday session the youngsters will be making sugar cookies under the tutelage of food crafter Michelle Rubino. I first met Michelle when she worked as a customer service representative in the Spectator’s Circulation department (she is now working in our Classified area.) The delicious treats that she generously provided for the staff inspired our Go Cooking co-ordinator, Karen Aquino, to talk her into doing a children’s baking class. She has had lots of experience baking for her two daughters, baby Scarlett and five year old ‘Becca. And she tells me that she also did do a stint of working in the bakery at Walmart — which she calls a “fakery” since all of the baking was frozen and just pulled out of the freezer and put into the oven.
“At the children’s class,” says Michelle, “the kids will learn more than just baking, they will get practice in working together and will learn how to enjoy their time in the kitchen more.”
She chose to make sugar cookies this weekend because she makes a lot of them and they are fairly simple to do. Children can cut out different shapes and they are easy to decorate — the plain flat cookie providing a sort of blank canvas that can be embellished in a myriad of ways. (There will probably be lots of heart shapes since the class has a Valentine’s Day theme.) Michelle’s recipe is one which she found on the Internet and then tweaked so that it has her own individual style.
I don’t have Michelle’s recipe yet, but here is the Cookie Monster’s recipe for sugar cookies. It appeared in “Big Bird’s Busy Book” in the 1970’s. If you would like to have Michelle’s recipe, let me know.
Cookie Monster Sugar Cookies
from “Big Bird’s Busy Book”
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking flour
1 tsp salt
1) Put 3/4 cup of butter (that’s a stick) into a mixing bowl.
2) Measure 1 cup of sugar. Pour sugar over butter.
3) With fork, squash butter and sugar together until they are blended.
4) Crack shells of two eggs and pour eggs over mixture in bowl.
5 )Measure one tsp of vanilla and pour over mixture.
6) With fork, blend everything together in the bowl.
7) Measure 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour and pour over mixture in bowl.
8) Measure 1 tsp baking powder and sprinkle over flour.
9) Measure 1 tsp of salt and sprinkle over flour and baking powder.
10) Mix everything together either with the fork or with your hands.
11) Put dough in icebox to chill (at least one hour).
12) There are no instructions for baking from this point, but a quick search through others’ experiences and recommendations say to roll out cookies 1/4 inch thick, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes.