As I lick the icing off my fingers, I can hear my mother’s voice inside my head, “Wash your hands before you touch another cookie.” I rinse my hands as my mother’s love echoes in my heart. I can still see her kitchen full of cookies, all carefully prepared for her piano student’s recital party. These cookies are still my favorite ones, and this year I’m sharing them with my friends at a Christmas piano duet concert in my home.
I invited a family friend to join me in preparing some of our old favorite piano duet music. As I practice the piano and bake the cookies, I think how nice it will be to share the talent my mom gave me along with some of the cookies she made for special events. I look at my hands deftly smoothing the icing over the cookies and notice that my hands remind me of my mother’s hands. The tears fall freely and I feel a deep sense of gratitude as I place each cookie tenderly onto Mom’s crystal platters. Although the cookies are an afterthought, they will certainly add aroma to the memories.
While I was growing up, my mother taught piano to students in our home most every afternoon. When us kids got home from school, we knew not to disturb her while she was teaching. My brothers and I were supposed to behave ourselves. However, sometimes we would jump on the couch in rhythm to the music in the other room. We knew the piano music by heart.
One day we discovered how to sneak cookies from the locked freezer in the garage. We helped ourselves to the frozen cookies that she was probably saving for a special occasion. Carefully redistributing the cookies to hide the missing ones, we learned to like these cookies best when they were frozen.
Last year I held a small piano concert for my mom’s 79th birthday. Both my friend’s father and my mother were in attendance. Little did we know that they would both pass away within the year. As my friend and I play the Christmas duets, my mind is drawn back to the many times my mother, brother and I had stumbled and giggled over the same notes.
This year I decided that sharing my mother’s gifts is the finest way to celebrate her life. That’s why I’m sharing my mother’s Butterscotch Icing Cookie recipe with you. You’ll have to tell me if you like the cookies right out of the oven or the frozen ones better.
I especially love playing the duet “Sleigh Ride” with my brother. He and I cannot play the song without speeding up the galloping horses. We usually end up giggling at our wild mistakes or surprised when we hit the right notes. Our fingers go into overdrive! I look forward to playing duets with my brother again soon.
Living in and creating tender moments are what make the heart soft, open and full of love. My dad certainly had a sweet moment remembering the rich piano sounds when I sent the video to him. Thank you for allowing me to share my heartfelt moments with you this Christmas season.
Butterscotch Icing Cookies
From the kitchen of Janet Richey
½ c. butter
1 t. vanilla
1 c. sour cream (or evaporated milk soured with 2 t. vinegar)
1 ½ c. brown sugar
2 ½ c. flour
½ t. baking powder
½ t. salt
1 t. soda
2/3 c. walnuts
Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes.
Brown ¼ c. Butter until all water is bubbled out and has turned a nut brown.
Add 2 c. powdered sugar
3 T. boiling water
1 t. vanilla
Mix until smooth.