Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Feature: Ms. Bear's Kitchen

Last month, I posed this question to you, friends: If you could add a new regular feature, what would it be?

Your responses were so insightful and fun to read...
*Reviewing my favorite books and movies
*Trying online dating
*DIY crafts
*A peek inside my writing life and helpful writing tips
*A feature where Mr. Melissa Blake writes to me (that one really intrigued me, and I'm even thinking about how I could pull it off...). And, what came up more than once?

Recipes. That was something I could never pull off, I quickly thought to myself. Never. And then a few weeks ago, Caitlin tweeted that she'd love to see a recipes series on my blog in the new year. My response was something along the lines of, "Well, I have zero cooking skills, but I do love food."

And that's when it hit me: My mom is the best cook in the world! Seriously. She's happiest when she's lost in a recipe in the kitchen, the Christmas tunes spinning on Pandora and the flour flying everywhere.

So! I'm so excited to launch Mama's Kitchen in 2014. The new series will give you a behind-the-scenes look into some of my mom's favorite recipes (she definitely has her favorites!), what the recipe means to her (in her own words!) and of course, the recipe itself (with her helpful tips for easy and fun baking!). And since nothing says the holidays better than family cookies, I thought it only appropriate that we start with our family's classic cookies (remember this cookie-baking party with my cousin?). Here's how to make my grandmother's famous almond cookies...take it away, mom!!!
When I was younger, the one thing I never dreamed of was being "famous" for my cookies! I am not particularly artistic or creative, and frankly, my cookies are the same every time I make them. However, over the years, people have grown to love my mother's spectacular almond cookie recipe. When I was young, they were just for the holidays, which may be why they bring on such good memories for me. But now, there is always a batch in my freezer....I never know who might need a little cheering up, consoling or just a sugar fix! My visits for the Member Care Committee at church go so much better with a small bag of homemade cookies too! The almond cookie recipe below was discovered by my mother, Elenore Erlandson, in a magazine in the 1940s, when she was just a young bride. Countless almond cookies have been made and consumed since that day -- each one as good as the last. It's a very simple recipe, so here it is! Maybe you can start a new tradition in your family! (Warning.....they are really addictive!!!)...
You'll need...
*1 cup butter or margarine (I find that margarine that still has trans fat in it works the best)
*2/3 cup sugar
*4 teaspoons almond flavoring
*1 teaspoon salt
*Exactly 1/3 cup eggs

Mix all the above together until blended. Add 2 cups of flour and mix again. Then add 1 last cup of flour and mix for the last time.


Then you have a couple of choices. You can refrigerate the dough for a couple of hours and make cut out cookies, or you can just do what I do and roll the dough into a ball and flatten with a fork. That way, you can bake them right away. I bake them at 350 degrees for around 8 to 10 minutes.

Here is the tricky part....you have to bake them until the first tiny hint of brown appears on the bottom. They are not as good if you let them brown. You almost have to take them out before you think they are done. It takes a couple of batches before you get the hang of that. People tend to bake them too long!
For the frosting, you just use the Confectioners Sugar recipe, but substitute 1 teaspoon of almond flavoring for the vanilla that the recipe calls for. You can frost them when they are cool and you can add food coloring to the frosting and/or sprinkles too. Enjoy!

Thanks, mom! I'm so excited about the new series, and will be posting a new recipe every other Thursday. I hope you'll enjoy it, friends! What recipes would you like to see my mom tackle? Feel free to suggest your favorites in the comments or email me at Mellow1422 (at) aol. Let the fun and deliciousness begin! xoxo

P.S. Did you try this recipe? I'd love to see how it turned out, so feel free to send me those photos too! :)

6 comments:

  1. I'm practicing holding my little finger just so while placing the dough on the cookie sheet. Left hand is easy as it has a natural crook but getting the right pinky to perform perfectly is more difficult. After a week or so of hand exercises, I might be ready to attempt the recipe. Stay tuned.....

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  2. This is an adorable idea for a new feature!

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  3. I can vouch for these! Yup, Best Cookies EVER!

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  4. This is a great addition...can't wait to make these cookies and to try many more recipes to come.

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  5. Oh, I just LOVE this idea! And I have to be honest with you, I'm so glad that you're doing this because I have loved ones in my life who I have lost that I wish upon wish that I'd sat down in the kitchen with and watched them cook and learned how they did what they did. I'd give anything. This is going to be huge.

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xoxo

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