by Elaine Ferguson
On a chilly December evening I arrived at the Boomstraat in Tilburg not quite knowing what to expect. Although, I had baked biscuits (cookies) before, our tradition in New Zealand and Australia leans more towards slices and cakes.
I walked into a hive of activity with the chocolate already melted au bain marie on the cooker. The Ingredients were all set out and the butter softened ready to be beaten into the flour, butter and sugar to make the following choice of cookies:
Jam Thumbprints, Grandma Edith’s Pecan Delights, Peanutbutter cookies and Ting-a-lings.
Anne supervised us while we got to work weighing out the ingredients and mixing flour, sugar, and butter together.
Myself, Thijs and Yiyi worked on making the Jam Thumbprint cookies. Thijs ground the walnuts using a small hand mill while Yiyi and I worked together weighing and mixing the ingredients. Anne showed me her Grandma’s method of beating the butter and sugar together. Once the mixture was combined we rolled the dough into small balls dipped them into egg white and then rolled them in the walnuts before making an indentation in the middle for the jam.
Meanwhile Yolonda, Patricia and Emerald got on with making the peanutbutter cookies and Grandma Edith’s Pecan Dreams. Kris and Thijs made the Ting-a-lings by combining the Cornflakes together with melted chocolate to create small, hedgehog like mounds of delicious cookies.
Trays were being ferried back and forth to the oven under the careful supervision of Anne so that nothing got burnt. Timing is everything when baking cookies because if they are underdone they will be the wrong consistency and overdone means picking off the charred edges.
Once the biscuits had been transferred to the cooling racks and allowed to cool sufficiently to either sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar or filled with jam, and of course tasted. Although biscuits are usually better eaten the next day this is not always possible.
By this time the wine had appeared and the activity became slightly less intense as we packed our goodies into plastic containers to be taken home and shown off to the family.