I might have a pretty big sweet tooth, but that doesn’t mean I’m running to the kitchen to bake up dessert. I’d rather drizzle honey over a wedge of cheese, or doctor up a pint of ice cream I bought from the store. I might be fearless when it comes to cooking up a side dish, but I run scared every time I even think about baking. I’m too afraid I’ll ruin everything to even try.
Blame it on the number of pastry chef friends I have (I’ll let them make the hard stuff), or the proximity of my home to a handful of amazing bakeries and dessert shops (Susina Bakery and Milk), but I have had little to no interest in cooking desserts at home.
All that changed a few weeks ago, when I unexpectedly received a cookbook in the mail.
This was no glossy, food-porn cookbook. Rather, it was a culinary guidebook to my past: a plastic-covered, three ring binder with hundreds of recipes collected from the members of Gloucester, Massachusetts’ St. Paul Lutheran church. The cookbook (originally printed over 20 years ago), was a piece of culinary history from the home town of my paternal grandmother’s past.
Past the hand drawn cover of the church’s pulpit, I found the recipes of my grandmother, my Finnish cousins, and Greek and Finnish neighbors of the tiny fishing village I grew up in. This surprise cookbook was from my ever-caring step-mother: a woman that knows the power of food.
Inside, I found a recipe my Grandmother contributed (Greek Bread) and traditional family dishes like Nisu (a Finnish sweet bread), American “Chop Suey” and Haddock baked with mayonnaise. These were recipes I grew up eating whenever we visited.
One recipe that caught my eye was for a recipe my grandmother never got around to making for us.
Finnish Teaspoon cookies recipe was so straightforward, I decided to get over my fear and start baking. I’m so glad I did. The recipe suggest waiting a few days (THREE!) before eating, because flavor improves with time.
What kind of crazy people make a cookie recipe that you can’t eat until half a week goes by?
The Finns. My people.
Allie Enos’ Finnish Teaspoon Cookie
from the St. Paul Lutheran Church Cookbook
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Brown butter to a pale tan color in a small, heavy saucepan. Let cool. Pour cooled butter into a mixing bowl; Stir in sugar and vanilla. Combine flour and soda; gradually add to butter mixture. Stir until mixture is uniformly crumbly.
To shape cookie, press dough firmly into a teaspoon; level the top with the center of your hand. Tap side of spoon on cookie sheet to gently remove cookies or slide off spoon with the gentle push of a finger. Spread jam on flat side of half of all the formed cookies. Press second cookie to jellied cookies, to create a single, almond shaped “cookie sandwich.” Bake at 325 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Let cool. Put in airtight container and let sit for a few days before eating. Flavor improves with time. Makes several dozen cookies.