Baking With Grandma

Tonight I mentioned maybe I would make cookies for the kids, and my 17 year old said…ohhh those maple ones and chocolate chip cookies with big walnuts!… The maple ones he was referring to were what my Grandma Ryan called Turtles when we were kids. When Grandma made them; the nut ‘meat’ pieces as she called them, she used for their feet and she would put a small pecan or walnut on top for their ‘shell’. I have to admit I am not that fancy. Each one gets one piece of nut on top-and that is good enough for me.

Grandma ALWAYS made the best cookies. She had to have baked for hours because she always had quite a few. From chocolate chip cookies, to turtles, to sugar cookies with jelly in the middle or dates folded in, my list could go on and on. When Christmas hit? Get out of town, my list could go on and on.

I learned most of my baking from my Grandma Ryan, and also my Mom. But tonight as I sifted the flour, and beat the sugar & butter…my mind wandered off to times spent with my Grandma.  She had her rules-no licking your fingers (and if you did-best go and wash your hands), don’t eat the dough as you had to wait until the cookies were baked, and at Christmas time “not too many silver balls on the frosted cookies as they got caught in Grandpa’s teeth”-or maybe his dentures.

As Grandma got older; and I became an adult, it never failed as 85 percent of the time we would show up to visit and there Grandma would be baking. As she got older I know it got harder for her, she couldn’t remember if she put this or that ingredient in. She would always say “I am not sure how much longer I will be able to make these cookies”, and I always said I am sure you will be able to do this longer than you think. She would tell me, “did I put the egg in?” and I said, maybe you should keep the egg shells out until you are done-then you know that you put the egg in. Grandma would just smile.

I pride myself on my baking qualities (learned from my Mom & my Grandma Ryan). I am not fancy-but I can make a mean Chocolate Chip Cookie. But I have to say that the memories I made with my Grandma are ones that I will treasure forever.

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Grandma passed away almost a year ago this coming Christmas Eve. To my knowledge she hadn’t really baked, (by herself), in the 10 years since my Grandma had passed (10 years prior than her on Christmas Day).  Grandpa was always helpful in frosting the cookies, and even better at eating them :). Together they were a perfect team. Well at least to me.

So although I really only made a double batch of Turtle Cookies and 2 dozen Chocolate Chip Cookies, for me tonight, I spent a few hours with “Grandma”. As when it comes to my baking, she will ALWAYS be in my heart.

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