My mother-in-law, Shari, who the kids call MoMo, makes "Plain Cookies." They are the size of hamburger patties, lightly sweet, cake-like, and perfect in every way. Her recipe calls them "Tea Cookies," and claims to be a very old Dutch recipe. Maybe that is why I like them with such intensity.
Plain Cookies don't usually show up until the holidays, but now and then MoMo stirs up a batch just to see us smile. She made them for us this afternoon, and I ate one warm out of the oven to the delight of my every sense.
When Daniel and I were engaged and I would fly down, starry-eyed, to Arkansas to see my darling fiance, Shari would fill her cookie jar and Daniel and I would snuggle up to some Dish Network with an old quilt, a glass of milk, and Plain Cookies. A few years down the road, when we were in town for a visit while I was pregnant, I snuck down to the kitchen in the middle of numerous nights to subdue my ever-growling and ever-growing belly with a Plain Cookie. Their perfection and plainness have followed me through the years.
So here you are, world, a little taste of my life.
4 C. flour
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 C. lard or shortening
2½ C. sugar
1 C. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
Sift together the first three ingredients. Cut in the shortening. Stir in the sugar. Quickly and barely stir in the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Knead batter slightly, adding flour if it is too sticky. Roll thick; cut into large cookies. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 450° for 12 minutes approx.