Today was a perfect day for baking cookies, cool and rainy outdoors, cozy and warm in my kitchen. As I lifted the cookies from the baking sheet to the wire rack, I was filled with a sense of satisfaction. I wondered: Can baking the refrigerated rolls of cookie dough give a person the same kind of satisfaction that a person gets when starting from an empty bowl and building a cookie from the ground up? Maybe so, but I wonder.
I think a lot when I bake cookies. I remember things Mom did. In those far off days of long ago, Mom didn’t have a wire rack. She would lay out a clean tea towel and remove the cookies from the baking sheet to the tea towel to cool. She was really pleased with the wire racks when she got them.
I remember years later when I watched a soap opera for a few months, because I wanted to see how the writers made the characters be true to their character. After a while I discovered that they didn’t keep them true to character. There would be strange surprises. But before I quit watching, I saw Mrs. Mathews removing cookies from the oven and carefully placing them, lining them up in perfect rows. (I think the soap was As the World Turns.) I was fascinated. I just took cookies from the tray as quickly as I could and got them onto the wire racks any which way, just making sure that they all fit on the racks to cool.
I wondered: Was it possible that the TV cookies had really come hot from the oven? Unlikely, I thought. Did Mrs. Matthews ever really bake cookies? Was she instructed to remove them so methodically and neatly or was that her own nature to do that? Her image comes back to me each time I cool cookies on my wire racks and I admit, I now attempt to line them up a little better than I used to.
Mom taught me to put the ingredients away as I was finished with them, so the clean up wasn’t such a big thing when the last tray of cookies was in the oven. She also insisted that the baking wasn’t completed until the bowls and utensils were washed, dried and put away and the kitchen was tidy again.
One kind of cookie that Mom made was what her recipe card called “Foundation Filled Cookies.” I really liked those cookies, though the name of them made me think of construction and concrete. Apparently the name came from the versatility of the cookie dough. You could use any number of fillings in the foundation dough. My favorite is cherry filled. I don’t make them often enough these days. Today I made Diane Mott Davidson’s chocolate chip cookies. Perhaps on my next baking day I will make the cherry tart cookies, with the pedestrian name.