Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sweet Sympathy: Care By Baking

"There is nothing sweeter than to be sympathized with," writes George Santayana in his 1905 book, The Life of Reason.  My mother, Elizabeth, deepens the interpretation, as she routinely bakes a homemade snack for the bereaved family. Baking-- call it art, craft, hobby, homemaking, or passion-- is something I grew up doing...

It's morning, I'm in my bathrobe, and I'm using the mixer. Mom's at the stove, "Hurry up with that batter, Deb!"

Home from college on a snowy afternoon, I'm drooling onto my sister's bandana as she stirs. "Hurry up with that batter, Lynn!"

Beside the fact that a bereaved family is swamped with things to do (and cooking is not one of them,) a gift of homemade food lifts a burden, comforts and, with that first delicious taste, brings a smile.

My mother's criteria for a choice of food is no-nonsense:  "This is an easily-transported cookie/bar; and neat to eat as the glaze, a tart contrast to the cookie/bar, hardens when cool."  As I am the funeral home staff member who chases the crumbs and the gooey stuff jammed into the caulk lines of the lounge tile, I like Mom's criteria!

Take-Along Cookies
1 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup water
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup quick or old fashioned oats
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup currants
1 cup powdered confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
2 T lemon juice
2 T finely-chopped walnuts
Beat together butter & brown sugar. Blend in egg and water. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; add gradually to creamed mixture, stirring til well blended. Stir in oats, mini chocolate chips, and currants. Spread batter evenly in greased 15x10 jelly roll pan. Bake 350 about 35 minutes. Combine confectioner's sugar with lemon peel and lemon juice. Spread over hot cookie dough. Sprinkle chopped walnuts over glaze. Cool and cut. Yield: 24-26 cookie/bars

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