Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Weddings & Cookies

The Love Story: Cookies and Caroline
And also the one between my lovely friend Haley and her new husband Jim.

You know those childhood name games where you have to state an adjective that describes you and is also the same letter as your first name, for example Joyful Jane or Funny Fred.  Well, I usually opted for Cookie-Eating Caroline — as you can see I’ve been self-deprecating about my love for dessert for nearly two-decades.

Cookies are truly the way to my heart. 

So, when I first met Haley freshman year of college and she brought me her mom’s chocolate chip cookies (with a hint of walnut) for the first time, I knew we would be best friends. That and our shared love of Gilmore Girls, ballet, desserts and all other things that are good.

With Haley, just being fabulous circa 2010.

Haley became my best friend and then my roommate for the last half of college. When she moved in she brought a cookie jar (that she kept full) and stories of teaching dance to Baby Ballerinas. It was like how I imagine living with the sugar plum fairy would be. And we had a lot of fun chatting, eating and living with Rasco.

But all good things must come to an end, to make way for even better things. I am on a job search and will be leaving our place soon and Haley has already flown the coop to start law school … and her marriage.

Haley the Bride and me.

That’s right Haley got married on Saturday to my other good friend from college, Jim. I actually introduced these two lovebirds. I was very honored to serve as maid of honor at their whimsical, Louisiana country wedding.

The yummy favors.

It was simple and lovely.  The old, historic chapel was decorated with flower petals and the reception had big, happy, purple balloons. Every detail, right down to her mom’s chocolate chip cookie favors, was quite sweet. Just like Haley.

The Sweet: Fig Cookies
A dash of love and sprinkle of simple

So Haley’s family cookie recipe is top secret.  But, I would like to share a recipe for another pastry that crumbles — that is just as sugary.  When I interviewed one family this summer for my National Geographic project, who had moved from the Ninth Ward to rural Louisiana, I was met with overflowing kindness. The interview went well and the ~90-year-old matriarch had a cake waiting for me.  And, to top it off, her son would not let me leave without a bag of homegrown figs. What better way to use figs or culminate an act of kindness than making cookies? 

Instead of making fig preserves or eating the whole bag before they spoiled (figs do so quickly), I opted to make fig cookies. But the Internet did not have that many fresh fig recipes, so I had to create my own from several others and bakers intuition.  This is what I came up with:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon spice
  • Fill a 1 cup measuring cup to the brim with mashed figs
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat to 350 degrees
Cream sugar, butter and egg
Fold in dry ingredients, and figs, and nuts (don't use up all the spices here)
Drop spoonfuls on greased baking sheet
Bake ~10 minutes, may need up to 15 minutes (toothpick test)
Sprinkle more clove and cinnamon atop the cookies

Honestly, I was pretty liberal with these proportions, especially the spices. 
(I pulled recipes from here and here to create this ingredients list)

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