Happy December everyone! Well I have decided to continue the baking and blogging, and I am super excited to launch the new blog with these cookies. I hope you like the new blog name. It was inspired in part by my daughter Victoria. When I first began baking “The Cookie of the Week” I sent some cookies home with my good friend Sheila for her family to taste test. Her husband Dave joked that now he had “two sugar mamas.”☺ I thought that was funny, and since I was baking cookies every week, I jokingly titled myself “THE cookie mama.” My daughter Victoria thought that was pretty funny so she added “THE cookie mama” as my signature on all of my text messages. So for the better part of the last year if you have received a text from me it was signed “THE cookie mama.” I do plan on expanding my baking/blogging to include all sorts of yummy treats, not just cookies. Since this is the first entry however, I had to start with cookies…they are my favorite treat after all. I am proud to say that I actually created this recipe! I did have a little help though or inspiration at least. It began on Tuesday at Victoria’s orchestra concert…which was great by the way. ☺ After the 6th grade orchestra performed, the 7th and 8th grade orchestra took the stage, and they played a medley of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”
I love love love “The Nutcracker”, and have since I was a little girl. I began taking dance classes at three years old, and continued to take dance until I entered high school. My favorite class was always ballet. When I was four, my Grandpa Gene took me to see “The Nutcracker” at Ford Auditorium. I fell in love and a tradition was born! My entire childhood I went with my Grandfather to see “The Nutcracker” every December. After my Grandma Ann passed away, and my Grandfather remarried, our little tradition faded. A few years passed, and when I was old enough to afford to buy the tickets, Dan and I took Grandpa Gene to see “The Nutcracker” as his Christmas gift. It was great. I also remember taking Victoria to see “The Nutcracker” for the first time.
She had begun taking ballet, and I was thrilled to take her to see “The Nutcracker”, and continue the tradition that my Grandpa Gene had started. We got all dressed up, and we left Ryan (who was a baby) with my parents. I was so excited! As the ballet began I looked over at my sweet Victoria, and saw pure enchantment on her face. The same enchantment I felt when I was her age, and saw a “real ballet” for the first time. I was so happy and proud. At some point later (still during the first act), I forced myself to look away from the beautiful ballet being performed on stage, to again look at my sweet girl’s face. Unbelievably, she was asleep!! So was Dan!! For a split second I was mad. My internal monologue went something like this “…are you kidding me? How can you guys sleep through this?? It’s so beautiful! Do you know how much I paid for these tickets?? You can nap at home for free!!” Then I looked over at them again, and in the darkness I noticed how peaceful they looked, and my anger
vanished. It was then that I realized that I was super excited to go see “The Nutcracker” because I loved ballet, but Victoria and Dan were excited to go see “The Nutcracker” because they loved me. In the end, after their nap, they woke up and enjoyed the second half of my beloved ballet. ☺ To this day I love ballet and I especially love “The Nutcracker Suite.” The music from the ballet always puts a smile on my face and in my heart. “The Nutcracker” is one of my favorite things on the planet, and I owe it all to my Grandpa Gene. ♥
So as I sat in the auditorium on Tuesday evening, I was thrilled to hear some of my favorite pieces of music ever composed. It got me to thinking about my Grandpa, and of course it got me to thinking about baking. I decided to research the internet for cookie recipes inspired by my beloved ballet. I did find a few, but I wasn’t excited about any of them. So I began to search the dozens of cookbooks that I own, and came across a recipe titled “Sugarplum Cookies.” Well it immediately caught my eye as “The Sugarplum Fairy” is my favorite character from “The Nutcracker.” In fact, I grew up wanting to be her. As I read the recipe however, it wasn’t very yummy sounding, so I continued reviewing recipes. Then after reading a few more, I decided to create my own recipe, and pay homage to the ballet I love so much. So I took bits and pieces from a few recipes and added my own ingredients as well. I specifically added a few ingredients to represent characters from my favorite ballet. The recipe is as follows:
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup softened butter (I used Earth Balance vegan butter)
- ½ cup shortening (I used Earth Balance vegan shortening)
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups flour ( I used white whole wheat flour)
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- ¾ cup dried cherries or cranberries (to represent my beloved Sugarplum Fairy)
- 1 cup of chocolate chips (to represent the Mouse King)
- ½ cup chopped pistachios (to represent the Nutcracker)
- Mix sugar, butter, shortening, and egg.
- Stir in flour, vanilla, baking powder, and salt.
- Stir in fruit, nuts, and chocolate.
- Shape dough by the tablespoon to form balls of dough.
- Bake at 375 degrees on ungreased cookie sheets for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.