I was 6 or 7 when I tasted the perfect cookie. And I have been trying to replicate it since. They were bought at the SunMart store on Mt. Vernon Road in Cedar Rapids, where DrugTown stood for years when SunMart closed, and where Goodwill is now located.
Business started declining at SunMart after Hy-Vee moved in up the street, and I was sorry to see it go. I got my first lesson in “rights” and “wrongs” when I was caught shoplifting, before I knew the consequences for breaking the law.
I have many fond memories of the store; my first Hostess pies and Snowballs; the flavored tabs that fizzed when you put them in water to make a concoction similar to Kool-Aid; the fresh-baked donuts that melted in your mouth; and SunMart’s amazing sugar cookies.
Fifty years later, and I still haven’t found a cookie, nor a recipe, that comes close to it. Funny how our taste buds hold a memory; as if I will know it’s the one when I finally taste it again.
I’m going to do my best to find the perfect sugar cookie this holiday baking season. And even if I can’t find the perfect sugar cookie, I hope I come close.
Summers in Iowa are unpredictable. It can be 60 degrees in the morning, but by the afternoon, could easily be 100. Not usually, but I’ve seen it happen.
Baking in the summer can be unbearable and a lot of people avoid it all-together. But not me. The heat doesn’t faze me a bit. But as a courtesy to others, I try to bake in the morning when it’s cool.
My ultimate chocolate chip cookies
I love to bake as much as I love to write. I was 8 when I started experimenting in the kitchen. Cream puffs and muffins were my specialty, though I could make a mean Rice Krispie Treat. My dad was the King of banana bread and strawberry rhubarb pie, but my mom held the title of Cookie Queen.
I watched them both as they measured, stirred and baked, gaining much-needed knowledge as to how long is too long to bake, never over stirring, and no, brown sugar is not a substitute for white sugar.
I took everything they taught me to heart, gaining a passion for baking to the delight of my family and friends,
I won the Gazette Best-Tasting Cookie Contest two years ago and second place last year, but I think my days of competing might be over. Other interests have taken precedence and I don’t have a lot of spare time.
Unless of course, someone asks me; then I would be more than happy to bake, even in the summer.