Thursday, October 31, 2013

Grandma T’s Crumb Cookies

Grandma T wasn’t much of a baker. In fact, she wasn’t much of a cook. She preferred to drape full-length furs over an arm or shoulder as she made her grand entrance in a full-length evening gown and sparkly high-heeled shoes. Always the life of the party, Grandma T played boogie woogie on the piano one minute and Debussey the next. She was what you might call a “character.”

Grandma T had a hidden - if rarely exercised - talent. She made great Crumb Cookies. I suspect she made the name up, but it was apt, because the cookies crumbled away in your fingers as you ate them. Sure, they were too sweet and sure, they might have benefitted from je ne sais quoi, but Grandma T threw them together while lustily singing Knees Up Mother Brown or Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)

When the cookies emerged from the oven, that was it. Her duty done, Grandma T happily returned to her boogie woogie.
Grandma T left the party nearly 30 years ago, but every bite of these cookies brings fond memories. I may be biased, but all these years later, my siblings and I still rate our mother’s Crumb Cookies as excellent.

Grandma T’s Crumb Cookies:

To Prepare the Cookie Base:

⅓ c. shortening
½ c. light brown sugar
1-½ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2 egg yolks

Preheat oven to 325 deg. F. Using a pastry blender or clean hands, combine shortening and brown sugar until well mixed. Measure flour, baking powder, and salt into second bowl, combining well. Work into shortening mixture. When thoroughly combined, add egg yolks, mixing until crumbly. Press into ungreased 8x8-in. pan. Set aside.

To Prepare the Topping:

2 egg whites
1 c. light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ c. chopped walnuts

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually add sugar and then vanilla, blending well. Using back of a spoon, spread over cookie base. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake 20 min. Cool at room temperature on wire rack. Slice into 12 pieces.

Note: These cookies dont store well, but thats never been a problem.

Begin at the beginning: A lump of shortening.

Thoroughly combine shortening, sugar, and dry ingredients.

Mix in two egg yolks.

Press flat into ungreased 8x8-in. pan.

Beat egg whites until stiff.

Gradually add brown sugar.

Pour over cookie dough in pan.

Spread with the back of a spoon.

Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and bake.

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