When Grandma fell and broke her leg, my family rushed to help her. What did she need from her house now that she was living with her mother in a one-story home? Did she want us to take care of her heating and electric bills? Did she want Dad and Uncle Justin to move her laundry machine from the basement to the ground floor? The questions continued as such, with the adults wondering what they could do. However, my siblings and my cousins wanted to help, too.
So, when my younger brother asked Grandma, “What about your Christmas cookies? How will you make them this year?” she told him that he could bake them with his sister and cousins for her. The five of us jumped on the idea and scheduled a time for us to bake these cookies.
On Saturday, December 12, we met in Grandma’s kitchen to bake her cookies. She called us and said that she should have all the ingredients in her pantry and fridge. The recipe was in her favorite recipe book. While my brother, Joseph, and my cousin, Joanna, looked for her recipe book and my cousin Maddi tried to preheat the oven, Liam and I looked for her cookie cutters, which my grandma swore were in the basement. It took a few minutes, but we found the cookie cutters and brought them upstairs. Maddi had preheated the oven, an amazing feat for a ten-year-old. However, even with Maddi helping, my brother and Joanna still couldn’t find the recipe book.
“I think we will have to just bake from memory, guys,” Joanna said. “It’s okay. Alyssa and Liam, you have made these cookies with her before, right?”
I replied uncertainly, “Um, yeah, I have, but never alone. And we had the recipe book.”
“Well, it can’t be too hard, right? Sugar, and flour!” Joseph declared, like any other eight-year-old would.
“We need more than that, Joseph! We will also need butter, baking soda (or is it powder?), and most likely an egg or two.” Liam told him. Liam loved to bake and was twelve.
As the oldest and the babysitter, I felt I should step in before they started an argument. “Okay! We have some options. We can look up a recipe on my phone-”
“No, then they aren’t Grandma’s cookies!” Maddi protested.
I continued, “We could call Grandma and ask for the recipe-”
Joanna interrupted me. “Let’s do that!”
“Or we could bake from memory.” I paused, waiting for someone to interrupt. When no one did, I said, “I agree with Joanna, we should call Grandma and see if she can tell us where the recipe is.”
Everyone nodded, and five seconds later Grandma’s face was on my phone screen. “Hey guys!” she greeted us.
“Hi! How are you feeling?” I asked.
“Much better. I can’t wait for those cookies!”
Liam started, “About the cookies-”
“We can’t find the recipe!” Joseph shouted.
“Oh, I could have sworn I left it in the recipe book... is it in with the cookie cutters?” We all shook our heads. “Hmm. Where is that recipe? Oh, I know! Check the other recipe folder- the yellow one.” There was a pause where she seemed to be listening to something or someone on her end. “Sorry, guys, lunch is here! I’ll talk to you later!” With, that, she ended the call.
“Here is the yellow folder,” Maddi said from behind me. “There’s nothing in it.”
“Why is it labeled ‘coffee’? Are there any other yellow folders?” I asked.
“No, this is the only one. The only folder and the only yellow folder.”
“Darn it!” Joanna replied to her sister’s response.
Liam added, “I guess we will have to try this from memory. What do you think we need? I know we need sugar, eggs, and baking soda or powder.”
We gathered the ingredients and guessed about how much of each we would need. We decided to put in 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 2 cups of sugar, 1 egg, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ cup milk, and 1 cup of butter. We measured the ingredients and put it in the oven, even though it wasn’t quite as thick as batter was supposed to be. This made cutting out shapes more difficult, but we managed. 10 minutes in the oven, and the cookies didn’t rise. They burned. We looked at the list of ingredients, and it was a few minutes before we remembered what we missed.
“The flour! I told you we need the flour!” Joseph announced. We all looked at the list, and realized what Joseph said was true: we forgot the flour.
“We should call Grandma again; maybe she has the recipe now,” Maddi suggested.
I unlocked my phone and called her, putting her on speaker. “Hello again! How was your lunch?” I inquired.
“Hey, Alyssa, Liam, Joanna, Maddi, and Joseph! Lunch was delicious! I'm sure the cookies are just as good!” We all glanced at the tray, which would probably have burned cookies stuck on it for the next century.
Joanna said hesitatingly, “Well, we still couldn’t find the recipe. So, we tried to bake from memory. Let’s just say it didn’t work.”
“Oh no! The recipe wasn’t in the folder? You could check the bookshelf in the living room. It might be on there.” Liam rushed out of the room to look.
Before we could say anything else, Grandma said, “Bye guys! Have fun and I love you!” and then hung up. Again.
Liam came back empty-handed. “There’s no recipe book, folder, or paper on the bookshelf. Does she even have a recipe?”
“Well, I guess we will try again. With flour this time,” Joseph commented.
“Good idea,” Joanna agreed.
We tried again. So, after adding the same amounts of ingredients as last time (this time with 2 ½ cups flour), we baked cookies. This time, the cookies looked like cookies.
“We should try them. You know, to make sure we didn’t mess them up,” Joseph suggested. Probably he just wanted to eat a cookie.
I looked at Liam, who shrugged. “Why not?” he said. We all grabbed a cookie and bit into it. We all promptly made a face.
“These taste... interesting,” Liam observed.
“No, they are disgusting!” was my brother’s less polite way of phrasing. “What happened?”
“Well, Grandma hasn’t been home in a while. Maybe some of her food spoiled?” I suggested. “Let’s look at the milk.”
We looked at the milk to discover that it had indeed spoiled. Liam commented, “I don’t remember adding milk to her cookies.”
I thought about that and replied, “Now that you say it, I don’t either. Let’s just throw the milk away and use the recipe we made. We can see what happens.”
“Should we call Grandma to see if she knows where the recipe is yet?” Maddi asked.
“I think we can do it this time. What do you guys think?”
“Third time’s the charm!” Joanna shouted.
“We got this!” Joseph added.
This time, we added the same amount of ingredients, making sure nothing had expired and that all the ingredients were in the batter before baking them. We took them out of the oven, and they looked perfect. However, the real test was the taste. We took a bite, and they were not bad. They were delicious!
"Now we just have to get the icing right.” I commented.
“No, we don’t,” Maddi said. “We can just use the icing recipe on the back of the powdered sugar. That’s what Grandma does, I think.”
“I second that. We don’t have time to make three batches of icing.” Liam answered.
We found the recipe from the powdered sugar and made some icing for it. The icing turned out perfect, and we put it on the cookies. Joanna found sprinkles in the pantry, and I melted some chocolate chips in the microwave so we could drizzle it on top.
We were about to call Grandma and tell her the cookies were done when she called me.
“Guess what I found!” she announced.
“What?” Joseph asked excitedly.
“The recipe for the cookies! It was saved in my phone!”