experiments in cooking

The week after my first son was born was a difficult time for me. I had expected to be blissfully happy and expertly maternal. Instead, I was recovering from an emergency C-section and struggling with feeding issues, thrush, and fatigue.

On top of that, we had a litter of puppies living in the family room because our longhaired dachshund Layla had delivered a litter a few weeks before my son was born, and it was weaning week, a tough week for both puppies and their mother—who, out of desperation at being kept from feeding her babies, kept liberating them from their cage in the middle of the night or in the middle of my shower or a diaper change or whenever I was busy. She also kept presenting her belly in an offer to feed my baby since I seemed to be having so much trouble with that.

And in the midst of all this chaos, there were the cookies my friend Lisa had dropped off with a casserole. She called them sugar cookies, but her mother calls them “Angel Sugar Crisps,” and those cookies did the work of an angel for me that week. Every time I ate one of those cookies, I felt the fog of post-partum depression and new-mom fear and hysteria roll back just a little.

When I think back to that week, I remember the panic I felt at being so out of control, and the sleepless nights, and how shocked I was that now matter how prepared I thought I was to care for a baby, the real thing was more momentous and demanding than I’d imagined. I also remember the cookies. Those cookies were heaven-sent.

But Lisa didn’t give me the recipe, so they stayed only a memory.

Recently, though, I found myself thinking about those cookies, so I asked Lisa for the recipe. She sent it just before Thanksgiving—just in time for some angel sugar crisps to play guardian angel again in the current trials of my life.

They were every bit as delicious as I remembered. Four and a half years after the first time I had one of these cookies, they were still the perfect antidote to a rough day.

 

Angel Sugar Crisps from Lisa Cansler Noah

½ cup shortening

½ cup (1 stick) margarine or butter

½ cup white sugar

½ cup brown sugar

Sugar to top cookies (try demerara sugar or sugar in the raw)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream shortening, sugars, margarine, egg, and vanilla in a medium-sized mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the creamed mixture; mix until blended. Shape into small balls and dip the top of each ball into sugar. Place sugared side up and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool 1–2 minutes before removing from pan.

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