Cookie Party: Volume 3

Friday, November 9, 2012
Cold weather is increasingly upon us, and making cookies serves the double purpose of providing quality treats and warming the apartment. But cookies aren't just a fall and winter thing. Here's a springtime cookie experiment, originally posted May 10, 2009.


Other people get to have relatively stress-free Mother's Days. They take their mom out to brunch. Maybe they'll go see a movie. Some just make do with a card and a phone call.


That namby-pamby bullshit doesn't work on my mom, though. Bless her sweet heart, if there's one thing my mother loves, it's free labor. So, in addition to her actual gift, she also got her furniture dusted and her garden weeded and her deck swept. I was able to negotiate something out of the deal, though. When my sister and I were young, my mom would often make a delicious cookie that we loved. We loved them so much that we would fight tooth and nail over who got them. One day, my mother snapped, and vowed she would never make them again. Sticking to angry vows is something my family has always excelled at, so I haven't tasted this cookie for more than fifteen years. I figured that with the passage of time and with my sister safely in Kansas City, it was safe to break out the old recipe and make a batch together on Mother's Day. Lo and behold, she agreed. So, back by popular demand, I bring you:

Lace Cookies
From the Limecrete Family Vault

Mom didn't actually come up with the recipe. It's from a cookbook published in 1973 by the "Women's Committee" of a Baltimore art gallery. Mom used to work for the Baltimore Symphony, and must have been hooked up with all sorts of people within the arts community. As for preparation of the cookies, nothing could be simpler. Mix together melted butter (Limecrete's Mom Chime-In: "I use sweet, unsalted butter. I never bake with salted butter; it's unnecessary."), light brown sugar ("[Limecrete], don't just pour. Spoon it out of the bag."), oats ("[Limecrete], pour those out over the mixing bowl, not the counter."), vanilla, and a beaten egg. Stir together.


Drop half-teaspoon globs of the mixture onto cookie sheets. The recipe says to use ungreased cookie sheets. This is boldly stricken-through with purple marker, and a note is written to the side: "Use teflon-coated cookie sheets lightly sprayed with Pam." Take that, cookbook! The globs of dough should be very spaced out - about three inches apart. This gives them room to spread when they bake.


Pull them out of the oven ("Watch your ass, dear. I don't want to hit it with the cookie sheet."), let them cool slightly, then transfer to a cooling rack. There's just one more thing you should know before you make these cookies.

You can't make these cookies.

Well, that's not entirely true. You can make the cookies just fine. You just won't be able to serve them as cookies. You see, these are called "Lace Cookies" for a very good reason. They are more delicate than porcelain. If they cook for even a minute too long, the butter will over-caramelize and shatter. When you try to lift them from the cookie sheet with the spatula, they'll shatter. When you place them on the cooling rack, they'll shatter. While they're sitting on the cooling rack, the oats in the center may become too bottom-heavy, and they'll shatter. When you transfer them from the cooling rack to a storage container, they'll shatter. When they touch another cookie in the storage container, they'll shatter. Look at them cross-eyed, and they'll shatter.


Limecrete: "I don't think you stopped making these because Veruca and I were fighting. They're just too difficult."
Limecrete's Mom: "No, I liked making them. They were a challenge."

She left me to finish the last ones by myself, and at one point, I was actually able to transfer one or two intact.


Proudly, I hefted it off the rack to show her. It shattered. ("Practice makes perfect, sweetheart.") By the end of the process, I had a container full of lace... Well, let's call them lace crumbles. They still taste good. Maybe I can take another whack at the recipe in a week or two. It'll be tough, though. There's something about Mom Food that imbues it with magical properties. Her matzoh ball soup always has the right seasoning and consistency. Her Thanksgiving turkey always comes out juicy. And her Lace Cookies always stay intact. She totally deserves the day off.