Roll-out cookies are the wild child of Christmas goodies. The dough can be temperamental and sticky, but Ginny Snyder, who was practically a second mother to me, used her gentle ways---and a neat little baking trick--to tame the flour, butter and sugar. Beneath her large, capable hands, cookie dough relaxed and became a docile, calm collaborator.
Ginny concocted a sweet, silky dust from an equal mix of flour and confectioner’s sugar to keep the dough in line. She’d pinch a tablespoon or so between her long fingers and thumb and sprinkle it over the work surface to prevent unruly stickiness. And with each creaky, back-and-forth of the rolling pin, she coaxed the dough into a thinner and thinner canvas.
I marveled at her firm, tender technique. With a grainy swipe, she slid a metal spatula underneath the freshly-cut shapes, lifted them off the board and onto the cookie sheet, not a tear, wrinkle or deformed Santa in sight. Even the leaping reindeer’s antlers stayed intact.
With her long torso bent over the cookie sheets, Ginny’s fingertips moved with care and lightness, and each piece of raw dough got a smidgeon of affection.
When the timer pinged and they emerged from the oven, those cookies loved her back. They required only a slight nudge to break free of the pan. No breaks or crumbles either.
- Linda Miller is a freelance writer and memoirist who has worked in newspapers, higher education public relations and magazine publishing. She's a Baby Boomer from Slatington, a small town in southeastern Pennsylvania, and grew up with the quickest, funniest Dad ever, a former RN Mom who created a loving and beautiful home, and a younger brother who never missed an episode of Combat! on Tuesday nights.