I had a moment of horror in my kitchen this afternoon while dividing a package of Pepperidge Farm Soft Baked Mystic sugar cookies into little plastic baggies for my son’s lunches this week. There were just eight cookies in the container for which I’d paid $3.49-not including tax.
Irritated about the price for less than a dozen cookies, I broke one in half and took a bite. The cookie tasted blah and vaguely chemical.
I thought, ‘my son deserves better than this. And I deserve to not get ripped off.’
Eight cookies for $3.49? C’mon. And it’s not that I’m cheap. I’ll gladly hand over a $1.50 for one cookie at my natural food store or Starbucks. But those taste really good, so they’re worth it-but the Pepperidge Farm, not so much.
It’s not like my son never gets homemade cookies. I do bake although not nearly as much as I’d like. But for lunches, I find myself depending on packaged treats and snacks. I know what many of you are thinking. Pack some fruit instead. I do pack him fruit but he needs something for snack time everyday also. Nuts and granola bars have always been a standby but have now been banned from the school thanks to a select few children with allergies.
So, I don’t think I’m going to stop buying packaged snacks for him but I am going to be choosier and I am going to start baking a school snack every weekend. Since the start of 2012, I’ve been planning a month of dinners at the start of each month. So, I’ll just include in my planning a batch of cookies or bars for each weekend.
To eradicate the taste of the Mystic sugar cookies from my mouth, and to feel better about my son’s lunches this week, I made a batch of Mrs. Trumm’s Sand Tarts, which turned out so, so, so good and crispy and deliciously homemade. I haven’t gotten a verdict from Maine boy yet. This dough has to chill for several hours so I didn’t bake them until he went to sleep. I think he’ll be pleased with them. He’s big vanilla baby and this recipe calls for almond extract but I didn’t have any on hand so I used vanilla instead.
Mrs. Trumm’s Sand Tarts
From: “Cooking Up a Storm Recipes Lost and Found from the Times-Picayune of New Orleans” Edited by Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker
What you need:
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup (two sticks) butter
2 cups sugar with extra for garnish
½ tsp salt
2 large well beaten eggs
½ tsp almond extract (or vanilla)
3 cups flour
Beat shortening, butter, sugar and salt with mixer until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and almond extract and beat well.
Blend in the flour.
Put dough in refrigerator for several hours for easier handling.
Preheat oven to 400. This might seem hot for baking cookies but stick with it. It’s the perfect temperature for this dough.
Roll dough into small balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Leave at least an inch between balls because they’ll spread. And don’t forget to grease the sheet or they’ll stick. Or use parchment paper, which is my favorite but I was out so I used oil.
Use the bottom of a small glass dipped in sugar to lightly flatten each ball. Bake 7 minutes or until cookies are browned around the edges. Remove from sheet immediately and cool on a wire rack.