I’ll set the scene: it’s Jan. 25th, the night before my daughter’s 12th birthday. She has gone to bed, just a tiny bit excited about the coming holiday. (I’m kidding; I don’t know what year you stop being excited about your birthday, but it’s not 12.) I head downstairs and think “Sixth-graders don’t take a special snack to school on their birthdays, do they?”
I head upstairs and ask my still-11-year-old this question and she says, “Yes!” I run to the kitchen and realize that, thanks to my recent Chocolate Chip Cookie v3 baking, I don’t have enough Chocolate Chips to make those cookies again. It’s Sunday night and our big-city supermarket is closed. I briefly wonder whether gas stations sell chocolate chips. Then I remember that Harriet was wild about the Lace Cookies I’d made a few weeks ago. I realize they were full of finely chopped pecans – and while there is no nut prohibition at the girl’s school, I know there are kids with nut allergies. These cookies don’t even look like they have nuts in them. Those were out.
I remember a recipe in a cookbook I’ve owned for a good 15 years and may have never used, Rose’s Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of The Cake Bible. (Why would someone who didn’t bake own this cookbook? Don’t ask.) I baked her “Lacey Susans” – Success! (By the way, if you are a baker, click on Beranbaum’s name; she has a super baking blog.)
These cookies were a hit at school, and why wouldn’t they be? Potato chip thin, all butter rich and caramelized sugar, part-cookie, part-candy – do you know a Middle Schooler who could resist? Or anyone?
The best part is they were so easy and fast. Beranbaum recommends piping the batter onto the cookie sheets, and once I got the hang of it, I was a one-woman Lace Cookie machine. She promised “about 100 cookies in less than 1 hour,” and I thought, “Yeah, right, maybe if you’re the author of The Cake Bible!” But guess what? One hour later, I had close to 100 beautiful little cookies. One note – the recipe has mini chocolate bits in the batter. I tried that with a test batch, and preferred them without the chocolate. Lacey Susans are definitely going in my arsenal of easy, fast and delicious sweets.
These cookies represent another personal milestone. I think of all the years I sent my daughter to school on her birthday with store-bought treats. Never, ever, ever would it have occurred to me to actually bake her special snack. Buying cupcakes at the supermarket is not going to send her to therapy when she’s 30, but I felt great taking a handful of ingredients and turning out these fantastic treats.
In case you’re wondering, no birthday cake yet. We’re saving that for an upcoming Slumber Party, where I will try and ignore a pack of 12-year-old girls staying up until the wee small hours, singing along to Mama Mia.