Baking has always been my favorite thing to do in the kitchen. Trying to make up for past sins in the dietary department, I’d nearly quit baking for several years, other than the odd pie or cake for family gatherings.
Perhaps a couple of decades ago, my mother, who was not one to frivolously part with prized possessions, sold her 1950 Sunbeam Mixmaster at a garage sale, keeping only the large bowl, in which she served popcorn. Several months or years later when I discovered this, I was so disappointed. If I’d realized she wasn’t using it any longer, I’d have liberated it from her kitchen, just as I’d liberated her 1950 Singer Featherweight sewing machine decades earlier when my father bought her one of those machines with all the fancy stitches.
Wanting to encourage me to bake and having a healthy fascination with vintage industrial design, a few years ago my friend, Noel, bought me a 1947 Sunbeam Mixmaster on eBay. Interestingly, the fellow who had it for sale had bought it a few years earlier for his mother. It replaced hers, which he’d “inadvertently” sold at a garage sale, thinking she was done with it. It makes me so happy, to know I have been able to keep this fine piece of machinery from being discarded. I am positive it has no plastic parts!
What we call cookies, my friend, Mary, calls biscuits. Here, we generally think of biscuits as something that goes with savory dishes. However, when I bake what some friends call my “healthy cookies”, I think of them as a bit more like a biscuit, or a low-fat scone, if there is such a thing.
This evening, I am experimenting with “Aunt Kimmie’s Pumpkin Cookies”, a recipe emailed to me by a coworker several years ago. They were plenty moist, with a cup of butter and a cup of pumpkin in the batter, and topped with a generous dab of buttery icing. Mine are made with half the butter and twice the pumpkin. Checking my ingredients, I realized that all (except the sea salt and baking soda) are organic. Does that make them a healthful indulgence? Speaking of indulgence, did I mention they include a cup of 65% cacao organic dark chocolate chips?
They likely will not pass muster with Noel, a conventional guy, with a very sweet tooth and a penchant for rich desserts. I’ve saved for him part of a recently baked batch of Grandma Margaret’s Sprits Cookies. (That is where went the rest of the pound and nearly another of butter – organic, of course.)
Okay, not all of my recent baking is entirely healthful or sustainable. In the butter department, I cannot help myself from being a little Scandi-hoovian, especially this time of year! When mixing the Sprits last week, though, I walked to the market when I realized I’d read the recipe wrong and didn’t have enough butter. Offsetting a few calories by walking, entitled me to an extra sample! And, does walking for butter qualify them as having a lower carbon footprint?