Sunday, December 4, 2016

An Unexpected Hello*

*Edited to include recipe at the end of the story....

For years, I've wanted to make Christmas cookies with my children, but somehow it never got off the ground.  This year, I set my heart, it would happen.  Saturday night, Rita, Regina, Paul, Anna and I donned aprons. I'd set out foil trays, bowls, cups, spoons, and six recipies.  We made Hello Dollies and Rice Crispie Treats.   We danced and sang to whatever Christmas songs came on the radio but Regina got bored and went to play in the other room in between tasks.  We made the pumpkin muffins and sugar cookies.  Paul joined her.  When Anna asked if she could stop, I allowed them to put on a Christmas Rudolf special on TV.  Rita made it through making the bananna muffins and went to watch. It wasn't the full outcome I'd wanted, but it was. Next year, maybe the happy memory would encourage them to stay longer.  I felt happy and at peace to be alone in my kitchen for the final recipe.

The last cookie wasn't one they could eat anyway.

The signature cookie of the season is my dad's Bourbon balls.  He and Mom would be in the kitchen and he'd roll them powedered sugar to put in a tin for whoever was on the list.  I always wanted to like them, but as a kid I never could.

My mom gave me a cook book from my home parish, where the recipe for Dad's bourbon balls is published.  I'd always just scanned the recipe, but yesterday, I found a side story on the page from my mom, reminding me Dad made these from the time he settled in Beaumont for the clerks of the court such that every year, they'd get requests.

It was like Dad saying, "Hello Beautiful." to have that story, (one I've known but dimly), fully stamped on the page.  I made the Bourbon balls and ate one, plunging into memory.

They tasted better than I've ever remembered.

Recipe for Bourbon Balls (as published in Saint Anne's Church Cookbook), submitted by my mom.

1 12 onz box vanilla wafers
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons Cocoa
1 cup walnuts
3 Tablespoons Karo Syrup (white or light).
1/2 cup bourbon
extra powdered sugar.

Directions:  Crush Vanilla Wafers into powder.  (I use a ziplock and a rolling pin but a food processor does this very well).  Add powdered sugar and cocoa, mix well.  Chop walnuts into tiny pieces and add to these ingredients.  Add the Karo and the bourbon, mix well. (I used my mixer).  Form the cookies by hand and roll them in powdered sugar.  Place in an airtight tin.  If the batter seems dry, add more bourbon.

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