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December 9, 2011
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What's Cookin' at Callie's Cabin: Cuddle up with sweet butter cookies

Butter cookies are a simple but elegant cookie that you can find abroad. Last year during holiday season I purchased Danish butter cookies, the ready-made, cheap but pretty kind in those blue round tin cans. A few weeks ago, I almost bought them but I took the DIY butter cookie route.

But then, I couldn't decide on what type to bake. And the butter in the fridge waited for me to make my move.

These cookies take me back years ago when I lived in Santa Cruz Mountains. On a graduate student's budget the same butter cookies in a blue tin pan were in my house. One spring, I was tending to 11 Labrador puppies. During one of the weaning weeks I got hit with the miserable flu bug. I was solo, careless and pet foodless. Sicker than a dog (no offense to my four-legged canines) I put on my big girl pants and hitchhiked in the rain to the store to get my puppies' mom dog food. It was a difficult trek but I did it. I recall sipping tea and eating a few butter cookies after I completed the mission.

This week took me back in time because I got sideswiped by the flu. It came out of nowhere on Monday at noon. I'm talking aches and pains, sore throat, sniffles and zero energy. On Day 2 I was up at 5 a.m. to be a guest on The Power Hour national radio talk show. It was my job to dish out words about my Healing Powers book series. I managed to do it, much like when I hitched and hiked in the mountains and brought home the dog food. But it wiped me out. On Day 3, I am about a 3.5 on the 1-10 sickly scale. So, like a trooper in the mountains, I am back promoting my latest book, writing articles due yesterday, and I made a batch of homemade butter cookies for old time's sake.

Butter Cookies

23⁄4 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter ( 1⁄2 European style and 1⁄2 unsalted), softened

11⁄4 cups granulated sugar

1 brown egg, beaten

11⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Strawberry-blackberry jam

Sugar in the Raw

In a mixing bowl, mix flour and salt. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients. Place dough on a large piece of parchment paper and form into a long snake-like roll. Chill for at least an hour. Slice dough into 1-inch circles. Place about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. (Mix it up. Prepare some flat, others use a fork to make an imprint like peanut butter cookies. Roll some into balls and press a thumbprint into the middle. Fill with 1⁄4 teaspoon jam.) Sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes or till golden brown on the edges. Cool. Makes about 3 dozen.

So, as I sit here with my three fur kids that stay by my side during sickness and health, I sense I'm on my way to feeling almost normal. The buttery aroma and sweet jam scent in the cabin is nice. A butter cookie with strawberry-blackberry jam fresh out of the oven paired with a glass of orange juice is comforting. But I froze the rest of the cookies for a snowy day in January 2012. The best part is, I now know I can bake a batch of European-style butter cookies in the comfort of my cabin and survive the flu again.

Motto: Baking cookies and teaming one with tea or juice is therapeutic. If you're well make a batch because you never know when you (or a family member or friend) will need to feel warm and comforted.

- Cal Orey is an accomplished author and journalist. Her books include The "Healing Powers" series (Vinegar, Olive-Oil, Chocolate and Honey) published-by Kensington. Her website-is www.calorey.com.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Dec 9, 2011 09:27PM Published Dec 9, 2011 09:27PM Copyright 2011 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.