Got some dough?

The most luxurious hotel stay I have ever had began with the clerk handing us a pair of large, hot, chocolate chip cookies stuffed with chips and nuts. We controlled ourselves and simply breathed in the warm perfume of hot chocolate as we carried them to our room – where we promptly ate every crumb.
I echo the Cookie Monster’s declaration: “Me love cookies.”
I love making, baking and serving cookies alone or with grandchildren.
I am not a tidy cook. I tend to splash milk, spatter the creamed sugar and butter, drop eggs and spill chocolate chips and walnuts on the counter, floor and lower cupboard doors when I make cookies. But that’s okay, I’m making cookies for company – the mess insures the kitchen is thoroughly cleaned before they arrive.
Before the clan gathers, I like to make up triple and quadruple batches of oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookie and/or white chocolate chip in chocolate dough. It means I dedicate a couple evenings to sifting flour, packing down brown sugar and snitching chocolate chips and raisins. Then the dough or the cookies goes into the deep freeze.
That’s the way my grandmothers did it and it is one tradition I intend to carry on.
Grandma Hibbard liked to make and bake saucer-sized sugar cookies which she wrapped in plastic and tucked into the freezer until company came.
Grandmother Waight preferred to make up refrigerated oatmeal cookie dough rolls in waxed paper, ready to slice, bake and served. Sometimes, when she knew we were coming, she would bake them up ahead of time and store them in her metal covered dish.
When my sisters, brothers and I visited to watch television, we would tiptoe out to the kitchen between shows or during commercial breaks and try to slip a cookie out of the covered dish without clinking the lid. Grandma always heard, but she rarely broke off her conversation with our mother to mention the raid on her stash of cookies.
I waver between my two grandmothers’ traditions. Sometimes cookie dough goes straight to the freezer, other times I bake first and then freeze. Either way, my husband smiles and munches cookies happily.
I have the most fun when I have a grandchild on hand to help.
Before our last rash of visitors, I knew food preparation time would be short, so I prepared dough. As we rushed in and out of activities, one grandchild after another vied for the privilege of plopping scoops of dough on cookie trays. We praised them for helping and they smiled proudly. I enjoyed watching eager hands reaching for hot cookies, the envious looks of folks we passed as I carried the cookies to the other family’s apartment and the quiet search for stray cookies.
When I returned home, I still had one tub of unbaked peanut butter cookie dough. It came in handy when the granddaughters wanted to make cookies with the shaped cookie cutters. Adding a couple extra tablespoons of flour, stiffened the peanut butter cookie dough enough to cut and retain a shape.
The kindergartner watched and volunteered to sift the flour to mix in. Long after her sister walked away, she stood at the counter, carefully sorting through miniature cookie cutters, pressing them one by one into the middle of the dough and sliding the cookie onto the baking tray.
It took a while but eventually she used up all the dough and we shoved the tray of cookies into the oven.
I thought we were done cooking. She didn’t.
I discovered her later standing on a chair, squeezing the trigger on the small flour sifter, sifting and re-sifting flour. Most of it went back into the flour bin.
I won’t have to sift flour for cookies for a long time – at least not until the next gathering of the clan.