Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Elva Lena's Sugar Cookies

Throughout my childhood, my family would receive a very special package near Christmastime.  Inside the package there were always four wrapped coffee cans with homemade sugar cookies inside.  Each of us would get our own personal can of cookies!  This always brought everyone who received the cookies lots of Christmas joy.  Elva Lena, a good friend of my grandma's, was the mastermind behind this simple but ingenious idea.  Everyone loved her sugar cookies and looked forward to their can every year.

Although Elva Lena is no longer with us, her legacy lives on.  My cousin Paul has become the new giver of cookies and for the past few years has come down to San Diego to bake them with me.

The first year we did it I tried to actually sift 4 cups of flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar together all in one go and ended up getting more on the counter than in the bowl, so now I know to sift it little by little.  Paul has also learned from his past mistakes and now has some cooking clothes that are ok to get messy.  We are practically seasoned veterans now.

I do the dry ingredients, while Paul does the wet ones.  We combine the two and Paul pretty much does the rest.  The dough chills (and so do we.)  For the baking, Paul forms the perfect little balls and I mash them down with the bottom of a glass covered in sugar.  They bake and turn out beautifully.  They are delicate, crumbly, and delicious- almost as good as Elva Lena's but not quite.

There are great perks to being the baker's assistant; I always get a few extra cookies before they get wrapped up.

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