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Monday, November 19, 2007

Thumbprints

It's that time of year when my heart calls me to the kitchen. I just love to bake and cook around the holiday's. I wanted to share one of my all time favorite cookies with you. The first time I had this cookie was at Mildred's house. She is a great cook and I can't even begin to tell you how many recipes I've taken as my own which she gave me. It really drives her crazy which is another good reason to continue doing it. I did give her credit when I wrote my cookbook, for one recipe--beefy rice, which is so delicious.


When Emma was in the NICU at St. Francis I made these cookies for the staff as a thank you and expression of our profound appreciation for their dedication to all of the babies that came through their loving hands. This picture of her is from November 30, when she had been in the NICU just a few hours. She held my finger at 4:00pm, for the first time. I will have a post dedicated to her on her first birthday, in 11 days.



Kendra and I tried to keep a macro vision when we were there mostly because our Teensy was doing so well compared to the other babies that were not doing so well. It just changed our perspective. We were totally focused and in tune with her, what she needed, how many grams her poop weighed, etc. But there was also this overwhelming sense of, "it could be so much worse." We had hundreds of people praying for our girl daily, as we were too, but we didn't know who was praying for the other babies. I kept a prayer list in Teensy's isolette chamber drawer just so I knew. The nurses didn't care because they knew why it was there. We ran into one of those babies at our Trunk of Treats in October and it was so cool to see the family, remember them, and get a chance to tell them that this church prayed for their baby.



When I made these cookies, I would usually make a triple batch, for each shift. I can get about four dozen cookies out of a batch, so I was usually cranking out at least 12 dozen cookies every time I made them. There were only two shifts, night shift was second, day shift was first. We took the cookies in a red toile tin with a promise that if the tin was returned empty it would be filled up again. We tried to take something every week, it became every other week after a while, but it certainly left an impression on the nurses and doctor's who cared for the babies because they knew that someone noticed them and appreciated their hard work. The most amazing thing about our 40 days in the NICU was that we were never known as anything other than, "Emma's Parents." Their whole focus was on her and her care not on the food and gifts we brought to them. As a parent we felt totally helpless, which is not a feeling that Kendra and I handle well. We had to do something and bringing baked goods was just the very least we could do. Those nurses have our undying gratitude and appreciation that will never fade with time.

There is a great candy cane company that only opens for one month at Christmas (it's in Minerva, KS) and they make the best candy canes I have ever eaten in my life. Mom's gets scads of them and has leftovers every year which I gladly eat, I love candy canes. Mom brought up all the leftovers we had and we gave them to the staff for Christmas, which they just flipped out over because it's not very often you get a home made candy cane for pete's sake.

Dr. Anderson was Teensy's neonatologist and I just can't say enough good things about him. We love him. When he ate these cookies it took him back to his home town. He told us he was from the North and that these cookies were made "up there" all the time and he hadn't had any since he had been in Oklahoma. I was thrilled to be able to give our babies doctor the cookie that took him back to his roots. I wanted to make other cookies, but knowing these were his favorite I just couldn't do anything other than these cookies.

I love the fact that they are bite sized, some people might try to make two bites out of them, and you can just pop them in. They are light and buttery with just at slight hint of almond, from the icing. But the most predominant flavor is the raspberry. I'm getting one of the worst cravings for these cookies as I type. They are so good.

I hope you try them and add them to your cookie collection for holidays. They are super easy. We have a v-shaped cutter from pampered chef and it is perfect for drizzling the glaze on the cookie. If you ever wondered what you were going to do with that thing, here you go.
Cookie Ingredients:
1 cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raspberry jam**

Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

Combine butter, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour. Beat, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour. (I never do this step, but as disclosure it's in there.) Heat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. I use a small spring scoop (like an ice cream scooper). Place 2 inches apart onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Make indentation in center of each cookie with thumb (edges may crack slightly). Fill each indentation with about 1/4 teaspoon jam. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely. Meanwhile, stir together all glaze ingredients in small bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies.

**Substitute 1/2 cup of your favorite flavor jam.

2 comments:

Tracy said...

they look yummy and i have no doubt that although you were known as Emma's parents - by the time you left they talked about those wonderful parents of Emma's who took the time to show their appreciation by bringing those amazing cookies (little buttery-jam filled-icing topped tokens of love)
ooh i cant wait to see pics of teensy's bday party!!!!!!!(was i subtle enough?)

sherri (Tied Up In Ribbons) said...

these sound wonderful. Also as one who used to be at work in the night as a nurse, let me tell you that no expression of appreciation is unnoticed and especially ones as nice as these sound.