Quick Recipes and Easy

Improvisational Cookies

“Mom, can we bake cookies?”

This question would often triggered a typical conversation at our house when I was a small girl. It continued on like this.

“Sure, honey. What do you want to bake?”

“Chocolate chip cookies with huge chunks of chocolate,” said I.

“Alright. But we’re out of eggs and I can’t go to the market until Saturday. How about chocolate shortbread cookies? They’re just as tasty.”

“I guess.” That was always my response after I dramatically let out a huge sigh. My like for homemade cookies did not place me in a position to say, “That’s alright, Mom. I’ll wait ’til Saturday.”

In retrospect, it seemed to me that my mother never had all the key ingredients for the cookies I wanted to bake. We always had to improvise and finished up baking what she suggested.

My mother had, and still does, a resourceful collection of, what I like to call, improvisational cookie recipes. It gave us the ability to conjure cookies from whatever ingredients she had in her pantry and refrigerator.

If flour is missing, we would bake flourless chocolate chewies, or almond chocolate macaroons, or flourless peanut butter cookies.

If we were small on butter, I would inevitably be munching on applesauce cookies, or peanut butter chocolate chip cookies that had neither flour nor butter.

It was never a problem when we were out of chocolate. Eating blondies instead of brownies always satisfied my sweet tooth. Besides, we all know that cocoa can perfectly substitute for chocolate.

On rare occasions, my mother would say, “I don’t feel like baking today, but we can still make cookies. Do you prefer peanut butter chocolate crunch bars or puffy rice date cookies?”

None of my mother improvisational cookie recipes has ever failed my high standard for fantastic taste. As we ate our freshly baked homemade cookies, my mother would say, “Honey, thanks for adding the most vital ingredient as always, your flexible attitude.”

Copyright 2006 Trinh Lieu

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