Every eight (or twelve, or sixteen) weeks, we send each of our wine club members a box filled with tasty delights, made with care and love. Last week, one of our wine club members returned the favor.
I was holding a team meeting in the old family house on the hill, six of us gathered over morning coffee to discuss our plans for the new year ahead. Tito came in with a box addressed to me, fresh from the early UPS truck. The return address was from Rougie, one of our East Coast WOMers. We'd received a similar box from Rougie once before, so all five of my colleagues were grinning broadly when I pulled out the box cutter.
Rougie has never been to the winery, or even in Sonoma, and we've never met. She found our wines out there in the big wide world, found us online, and we've been bonded ever since by our shared love of all things delicious, chiefly our wines and her cookies.
Inside this box were two zip lock bags of the best cookies in the world. Seriously, they are really that good. Huge chips of really good quality chocolate in thick cookies that seem to be made with tons of butter, though the crumbly texture made us suspect Crisco plays a role. But the thing that I love most is that they are slightly salty and not particularly sweet. Not that I have any idea how she actually makes them, as Rougie says, she guards her recipe more closely than the Colonel guards his sacred blend of 13 herbs and spices.
There was a perfect cookie for each of us, and not one person was fool enough to 'be good;' we dove in and devoured them before we even made it to #2 on the agenda. When the meeting ended an hour later, we were still singing the praises of the cookies and their maker when there was a knock at the door.
In walked Colin, our newest tour guide, smiling broadly and holding a large tupperware. "Anyone want one of my mom's ginger snaps?"
Guess it is officially that time of year when the holiday baking instinct kicks in. No point in fighting it, 'tis the season to pig out, so what the hell, we all took a cookie, feeling slightly guilty that we hadn't saved one of Rougie's masterpieces for Colin.
Ginger snaps are sometimes hard, flat dry things albeit with great flavor, but Colin's mom knows what she is doing. Hers are super chewy and soft, baked in balls of dough rather than flat cookies. As different from Rougie's as two delicious cookies can be, but giving her a run for the money in the best cookie in the world contest. And in this case, I got the recipe. Yep, there it is, the much maligned but delicious dirty little secret of foodies everywhere. Crisco.
Huge thanks to Rougie for the much appreciated box of love, and to Mrs. MacLauchlan (and her son Colin!) for sharing her secrets.
Molasses Ginger Snaps: