just a smidgen

Nell’s Sugar Cookies

Have you ever noticed how our earliest memories from say, four years old, are mental snapshots taken..

just a few feet off the ground looking up?

We don’t seem to remember faces looking “straight on”

…but looking up,

because we were small back then.. isn’t that cool?

Loved ones, in our memories, still hover over us.

My Grandma Nell was swept up to heaven when I was still a small child

so I only have limited recollections of a beaming, statuesque yet mysterious woman with such long fingers

…she seemed always immaculately and very fashionably dressed.

I think I have her hands.

I asked my mom to write some stories about Nell for me.. and there were too many for one post..

I will have to scatter them like crumbs from her recipes to find my way back to her.

Nell was born and raised in Newfoundland..
( before it was even a province in Canada )

Nell’s mother was a school teacher for Great Grandpa Janes 14 children.. she eventually went on to marry the widowed Grandpa Jimmy Janes, Stipend Magistrate.

They went on to have four more children.. a total of 18 in all.

(No wonder Great Granny Janes liked her food.. it would be a comfort I think;)

These cookies are Nellie’s recipe
and they were a source of comfort in our little kitchen on Claret Street.

My mom always said that there isn’t a sugar cookie just like these anywhere.

You may think they’re a shortbread… but they’re not.

You may think they’re a typical sugar cookie… but they’re not.

And they always have a little round cherry pressed in the center,
but first you have to dip a glass in sugar and press the cookies into sugary orbs.

If you bake them a short while.. they are soft as can be.

Bake them longer.. and the brown sugar caramelizes and you have the crunchiest of cookies.

When one is only four, these cookies seem massive,

so I used to eat them in circles, going in wee mouse bites round the edges,

…spiralling in until I reach the absolute edge of the maraschino cherry

and that was the last sweet bit to pop in!

Nell’s Sugar Cookies
  • Scant 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Red Glace (maraschino) Cherries
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, or in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, beat the first four ingredients together until they are light and fluffy.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add this dry mixture into the whipped butter mixture.
  4. Roll or scoop cookie dough out into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper.
  5. Dip the bottom of a flat glass or jar in sugar and press on cookies to flatten.
  6. Place a maraschino cherry half in the center and gently press in.
  7. Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until they are as browned as you wish.
  8. Sit on the kitchen floor looking up, nibbling in small circles… and save the cherry for last!


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