Training Cookies

I was chatting with my step-mom last week when she reminded me of a memory that made me smile:  the year I got my training cookies.

If you’re scratching your head right now, I don’t blame you.  Most people would agree that a bit of training is helpful before tackling some of the more complex foods, but everyone knows how to eat cookies.

Unless they’re me.

I can dismantle and gobble down a steamed lobster in record time.  Sushi?  No problem; I can handle chopsticks, and I’m such a food-geek that I actually know obscure sushi etiquette like never mixing the wasabi into the soya sauce and always eating nigiri so the fish contacts your tongue first.

But cookies?  Well… apparently they’re trickier.

It all started years ago when my dad and step-mom came to visit me in Calgary, bringing my step-mom’s famous ginger-molasses cookies.

We had been driving around enjoying the sights on a nice spring day, and we stopped at a convenience store to get some cold drinks.  Parked comfortably in the shade, we were sitting in the car with the windows open while enjoying our refreshments and some of the fateful cookies.  As usual, I was talking volubly with my hands.  I was also holding a cookie at the time.

I made one particularly emphatic gesture and the cookie flew out of my hand, out the open window to land with a plop on the asphalt beside the car.

Mouth gaping, eyes wide, I sat there in shocked silence.

I had wasted a cookie!  For a food-worshipper like me, it was sacrilege!  Worse, I had wasted a delicious cookie that had travelled 800 miles just to tickle my tastebuds!

The silence lasted only a second or two before my companions burst into uproarious laughter.  And sure enough, when next Christmas rolled around, guess what I found under the tree?

Remember the children’s mittens that were joined together with a cord that went up one sleeve, around the neck and down the other sleeve so the mittens never parted company with the jacket?  (And theoretically, with the child?)

Yep, I’d gotten training cookies:  Two tender and tasty ginger-molasses cookies, each with a neat hole in the middle.  A festive ribbon joined the two cookies at exactly the length required to fit around my neck while holding a cookie in each hand.

Ever since then, that recipe has been known as “Training Cookies” in our household.  The cookies themselves are yummy, but the memory is sweeter than any baked goods could ever be.

I’m probably the only person in the world who needs training cookies, but if you’re in the market for a chewy and delicious ginger-molasses cookie recipe, here it is:

Training Cookies

¾ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
4 tablespoons dark molasses
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, then add the egg and molasses and beat.  Mix in dry ingredients.  Roll into balls, dip in sugar, and flatten with a fork.  Bake at 350 degrees approximately 10 – 12 minutes until just beginning to brown at the edges.  Happy memories can be baked in, or added later!

Anybody else have a family recipe with special memories?