December 12, 2007

"The Recipe" from Our Mamaw, and Jam Thumbprints

I'll get to the cookies on the right in a sec. First, "The Recipe." This is the coolest story, and we totally have to have this as a "syllabub" option this holiday. Here's how my mom tells it: Aunt Janey was cleaning out the downstairs freezer at the Smith Estate (smile), and in it she ran across a peanut butter jar labled, in masking tape, with the simple moniker: "The Recipe." Apparenlty all three sisters were in attendence at the house, and with a little reflection it hit them what this was.

Mamaw, "Mother" to them, had when she was living of course belonged to the Desk & Derrek Club, an organization for women who work in the oil industry. The Club had conventions, as clubs tend to do, and Mamaw's friend Ola Chapman every year brought "The Recipe" as her contribution to the refreshment table. Mamaw brought frozen strawberry daquiries. Sounds like rather a lively convention of ladies, no?

At any rate, of course, Mamaw has been gone a while, and my own mother says that the best they could figure it was at least 10 years before her death that she'd attended a Desk & Derrek convention, as she had natuarally been retired for some time. Nonetheless, the sisters opened the peanut butter jar with its Masonic-secret sounding label and toasted their departed mother with its contents, "The Recipe." It was quite fine. They could not, however, find the recipe for The Recipe.

But not to despair. Ola Chapman is still living, and quite present in my mother's weekly bridge club. Ola filled my mother's request for the recipe, and so we have it here. I think you'll agree, The Recipe sounds fantastic. As a holiday syllubub I can't see that it can miss. I beleive that we should honor Mamaw, her long working life, and the little-seen fun loving side of her that would, according, again, to my mother, most years bring home a jar such as this filled with this drink and in the evening walk a few steps through the kitchen while prepairing dinner for "just a spoonful" of The Recipe. Cheers, Mamaw.

The Recipe

1 12 oz. can frozen lemonaide
1 12 oz. can frozen limeaide
2 10 oz. bottles of Squirt
1 quart ginger ale
1 quart whiskey

Mix in an air tight container, then transfer to the freezer. Don't thaw -- just serve it directly from the freezer.


On another subject, just a quick note about these delicious little jam thumbprint cookies. I've adapted Ina Garten's recipe for the ones pictured. Essentially, it's the same. But I added an egg (this might not be necessary, but I was having trouble that day getting the dough to come together), made them smaller than hers, and used lingonberry jam. I love the little sheen and very, very slight crispness the egg wash gives them. Making them small like this means that each one is a single bite, and so each bite has jam in it! The lingonberries of course are a nod to Scandinavia, which is forever in my mind as the most beautiful place to spend Christmas in the entire world (besides, other than grape it was the only jam or jelly I had on hand!).

Jam Thumbprints
adapted from Ina Garten

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use the
preserved vanilla bean paste)
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Lingonberry jam

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar until just combined, and then add the vanilla.
3. Separately, sift together the flour and salt.

4. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar.
5. Add the egg. Mix until the dough starts to come together.
6. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk.
7. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
8. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls (I used a teaspoon to measure them out).

9. Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut.
10. Place the balls on an parchment lined cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger.
11. Drop just enough jam into each indentation to fill it.
12. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown.
13. Cool and serve.

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