I remember the day our new neighbors moved in, they had a daughter several years younger than me and her name was Linda, just like mine. I was happy to have a new playmate and so my sisters and I decided to call her Little Linda, in order to eliminate any confusion when we called out names. What we soon learned was that Little Linda had a big mouth and what she said made us all blush. Not only did she swear, but when she didn’t get her way, she would storm off muttering how much she hated us. After one such incident I was so upset I ran home to complain to my mother who was mixing a batch of my favorite sugar cookies. Without missing a beat of her wooden spoon, she told me that people only acted that way when they were hurt and didn’t know any better, and that the next time she said she hated me all I had to do was tell her that I loved her. I looked at my mother in disbelief. For a child that sounded crazy, don’t respond in kind and add love to the problem, a bit philosophical for a seven-year-old. Mom winked at me in a way that said “trust me, I know what I’m doing.” And so I went back outside armed with new ammunition. I didn’t have to wait long to try out my new strategy. Little Linda was still on the block. I asked her if she wanted to play. She yelled at me “I hate you.” Without hesitation I said, “Well, I love you Little Linda, we all love you.” As the words reached her ears I saw the magic happen – her entire body melted, the fight within her dissolved and a small tear emerged at the corner of her eye. Mom was right; she was just hurt and lonely. I stepped forward and said, “Come on, Mom is baking sugar cookies and she should be taking them out of the oven right now! Mom gave her a big hug and made her feel special and I was not jealous for a moment because I knew that she was trying to make my new friend feel welcomed and loved. My mother, in her casual way, had given me a magic wand to carry throughout my life: don’t take an attack personally, there is pain behind it. Little Linda ceased to be a problem, I had refused to accept her negativity so had to accept my love. My mother had taught me how to detach from the moment and offer a bit of kindness — I do believe that is what creates miracles. Whenever I need one, I bake myself a batch of sugar cookies and eating just one makes me feel loved.
1 Cup unsalted butter1 Cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In the bowl of your mixer cream butter and sugar until smooth, at
least 3 minutes. Beat in extracts and egg. In a separate bowl combine
baking powder and salt with flour and add a little at a time to the wet
ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer turn out the dough onto a countertop surface. Wet your hands and finish off kneading the dough by hand. DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH. Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8).Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
Bake for 6 minutes to test. They should be soft. Leave them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cool completely. If you reach 7-8 minutes and the edges turn brown your cookie will be crisper.