Marolyn Hendershott’s excellent treats

Posted on January 23, 2011

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Yesterday was another in a long line of gray days. Not much to look at, but one image I really, really wanted to capture. There was this icicle, you see, that had been frosted with blowing snow the night before, and it reminded me of nothing so much as Marolyn Hendershott’s gingersnaps dipped in white chocolate.

You see how I am.  Still, those gingersnaps are something else. Marolyn made them for the November meeting of the Wilkinson Homestead Historical Society Board because she is a kind person and her husband Dick is president of the board. I spent the meeting munching happily on gingersnaps and went home with a collection of historic photos to scan. A lovely afternoon all the way around.

In an effort to recreate the loveliness, I made up my mind to bake those cookies.  It would cheer me up no end, and I might even come up with a post that would fulfill Scott Thomas’s food photography assignment.  Off to the Eastport Market, then, for molasses and white chocolate.  I unaccountably came back with quite a lot more than that, $41.89 worth to be precise.  Russ was smiling and humming gently to himself as I left.  So.  Here we have all the ingredients laid out nicely just like on a cooking show, or maybe more like a grocery store ad.  [Note: for those of you from Away, Russ and Donna Abbott are the intrepid owners of the Eastport Market.]

You will notice two things. First, I have no better luck keeping the horizon straight in photos taken inside my own kitchen than I do out on the lakeshore. You will be relieved to know that no ingredients slid off the counter during the making of this post. Second, there is a tiny mousehole in that bag of Toll House Premier White Morsels. The corner was removed in honor of my mother, who believed that nibbling on chocolate chips while making chocolate chip cookies was an essential part of the process. I am my mother’s daughter. I nibbled Morsels while I mixed the dry ingredients and made a mess with the liquid ingredients.

Then things got really messy and I stopped taking pictures for awhile. Here we have some unbaked cookies, all neatly rolled in sugar and waiting for their turn in the oven.

There was a lot of waiting involved.

It occurs to me that my kitchen is stuck in an earlier era.  My mixer, for example, is Avocado Green.  It came with a stand and two mixing bowls–both of which long ago slid off the counter to their doom–and works as a hand mixer, too.  My timer is manual.  The countertop has those little gold flecks in it.  Bing!  Time to put the last dozen in and begin the cleanup.

They look pretty good.

Now here’s the part that did not go well at all.

The melting of the Premier White Morsels led to the curdling of the PWMs, and to a complete failure to make a nice smooth coating for dipping the cookies.  I was philosophical.  I had managed to nibble quite a few of them before I curdled them, and was pretty full of PWMs as it was.  Further, I had concluded that perhaps the PWMs, which I purchased without examing the package closely, were not a proper substitute for real white chocolate chips.

In the end, I failed to even approach the standard of excellence set by Marolyn’s cookies, which is a shame, as I was making them partly as a tribute to her.  She is a warm and generous spirit, and it is just like her to bake excellent treats for a meeting she is not even going to attend.  I’ll tell you another Marolyn story.  She was in the market one day, back when I worked there, and noticed that I could really use one of those nice little purses that a person can wear like a necklace.  As it happened, she had brought some back from a trip she and Dick had made to Central America.  Nice handwoven ones in pretty colors.  “I’ll bring you a purse,” she said, and sure enough she came into the market with a whole handful and asked me to choose my favorite.  I chose one in blues and greens like Torch Lake itself.

Some people are like that. They just brighten your day. Here, have a cookie, they say. Here, have a little present.  You think of them and the next thing you know you are baking cookies and humming to yourself.

This morning the sun came out for the first time in days and days. We bounced out into it and bounced right back in as soon as we could. Wuff! It is seriously cold out there even by our standards. But the house smells of ginger and sunshine is coming in the kitchen window. It’s going to be a good day.

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