I’ve put off writing this post for months now. Every time I thought I was ready to share the news of her passing I couldn’t do it, putting it into words made it too permanent, too real.
My father called the Sunday before Thanksgiving. He had found her collapsed in the hallway of her apartment, still breathing, but not conscious. I sobbed in the shower that night, knowing I would never hear her voice again. By Tuesday she was still hanging on, but things were looking grim. I decided to pack the kids up and make the 10 hour drive first thing in the morning. We arrived Wednesday evening and by then she had been moved to hospice. When I finally got to see her she was unconscious, struggling for breath, but still alive. I went to her bedside and held her hand, I told her I loved her and she rubbed the inside of my palm with her fingertips. The next morning she was gone.
The following few days were a whirlwind of Thanksgiving preparations, service preparations, speech writing, baking, cleaning, and childcare. The day of her death and the day after I think we were all so relieved that she was no longer suffering. The family had gathered at her apartment to help sift through her things and found so many treasures; letters she had written to her parents as a young stewardess, pictures of her popping out of a cake at my grandfather’s 50th birthday party, a Grandmother’s Journal my aunt had given her to fill out for her grandchildren where she was supposed to answer questions about her life. A task she was clearly none to pleased with since she, first of all, still had the book and secondly wrote responses such as: Describe the first house you lived in after you got married……..Dinky.
Grandma's recipe says to make the cookies crispy you can put a few drops of water on top before baking. If you like that extra crackle, this is how to achieve it.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar for rolling
- Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
- Beat shortening and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy.
- Add egg, molasses, and almond extract and beat to combine.
- Add flour mixture and mix on low until combined.
- Wrap dough and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 375°F.
- Form dough into heaping tablespoon-sized balls and roll them in sugar to coat.
- Place them an inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes or until they are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.
- Let sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.