Although winter in Minnesota is usually quite harsh—piles of snow deeper than I am tall, and temperatures that would make even an Eskimo cringe— this particular winter has been anything but normal. Its the end of December and it is nearly 40 degrees outside…at 10 pm! I’m not complaining…no sir-ree…in fact, I wish every winter was as mild!
Not everyone agrees with me, though. Most people that live in Minnesota look forward to the snow and the cold, and all the “joys” that winter brings. Snowmobiles, snowshoes, skis and snowboards… all useless. But, with the absence of snow, it seems there is also an absence of Christmas Spirit.
Christmas is only a few days past, and already businesses have taken down their lights, trees are no longer shining, and parents are wishing the holidays would fly by so they could send their kids back to school.
I suppose I also associate snow with Christmas. A part of me wished for a white Christmas (although, a very small part). And that same part of me was (maybe) disappointed when it didn’t turn out that way. Christmas just isn’t Christmas unless it’s white outside. It’s also not Christmas without Dorthy’s Cookies.
You see, Dorthy was a little, old lady—one of my grandma’s friends. She had one of the kindest hearts, an amazing love for her family, and an incredible talent for baking. Dorthy was always baking something for someone, and she was famous for her chocolate cookies. My mom told me she called them macaroons (which they weren’t), but I don’t remember that. For as long as I can remember, my family always just called them “Dorthy’s cookies”, and they were a hot commodity. She would pass them around at church and often give pails of them out as gifts. I remember one of the last times I saw Dorthy, she was attending my cousin’s wedding. She wasn’t in good health but she had a smile on her face and lots to say (Dorthy also had the gift of gab). Earlier in the morning the little kids at church had celebrated their First Communion and she told me she had baked 12 pails of cookies so each kid could have one. That’s just how Dorthy was. She loved everyone and showed that love with cookies—fudgy, chocolate cookies, rolled in powdered sugar…to be specific!
Every year, Dorthy’s cookies made an appearance on my family’s cookie tray. And every year, they were scarfed down as soon as they were set out. That is, until Dorthy passed away. Once she was gone, so were the cookies. My family had the recipe, and apparently my aunts tried to make them…but they never turned out the same. Then, one year I asked mom for the recipe. It was scribbled down on a dirty little note card. The directions were very vague and the ingredients were smudged. No wonder they never turned out! I tried finding them online, but had no luck. Then, one day, around Christmastime 2009, I was using “stumbleupon”…and as I clicked the button, Dorthy must have been smiling down on me. There were her cookies! They were called Chocolate Crinkle cookies and apparently were actually Betty’s cookies (Betty Crocker).
I was so excited. I called mom and told her I’d be making Dorthy’s cookies for Christmas. That night I mixed the batter together and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The next day I baked them…and they were perfect! Christmas was complete!
It’s funny how a cookie can mean so much to a family, but it’s true. They really do. And this year was no different. In fact, a couple weeks ago, as I was mixing up the dough (a double batch) my sister stopped over. When she saw the dough being mixed, her eyes got huge! She begged me to bake a pan early, so she could have a couple. One pan turned to two pans, and then my brother stopped over…and they were gone as soon as I took them out of the oven.
These cookies are definitely something special…
Aside from putting the cookies on the cookie plate this year, I also included a package of them in the gift baskets I made for my family. I even got my niece involved, and she helped roll them in the sugar.
We celebrate together on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas day I recieved a text message from my brother that said: “I ate all of the cookies you made by myself. Please make me more.” …and that makes me smile. I’m sure Dorthy would be happy too!
Find Dorthy’s recipe HERE.