“‘Lasses ‘n’ Spice”

October 8, 2010

I am grateful for my “cookie heritage”–mostly centered around the traditional cookies baked at Christmas time–the delicate, detailed Spritz, Russian Tea Cakes, and Bon Bons of my mother’s, and then added to by my mother-in-law, whose cookies were mostly “cut outs,” as she called them. She had every type of cookie cutter imaginable, I think, and she shared them with me. When she died, I found a laundry basket full of the old ones with the wooden handles and gave them away to our daughters first, and then to the neighbors. Today, sugar cookies are among my favorite kinds to make and bake also.

I also grew up with the Toll House cookie, (used to be my cousin, Harry’s, favorite, but not sure if it still is or not) and my mother was predictable in her baking of them: she never added anything extra or changed a tested, tried and true recipe. I, however, love to find new recipes and am not afraid to throw in a bit of this or that to spice it up a bit. I love cookies and I love trying all kinds. All of them. (And this principle doesn’t just apply to cookies!)

So…..consequently, I’m still hunting for fall cookie recipes, including any other fall recipes I can find!

I pulled a 1942 paperback Betty Crocker cookbook (sale price 25 cents) off of my cookbook shelf a couple of nights ago and found a recipe for “Molasses Crinkles” cookies. “Yippee!” I thought. I had wanted this very kind of cookie…..

In anticipation of making “something with molasses,” I had bought “Grandma’s” molasses (original.) I was delighted and surprised to find the exact same recipe on the label, so I figured it must be the real deal. I was thrilled and made a double batch. The first cookie sheet was full of crisp cookies, but the rest were chewy, just like I’d hoped! They’re nothing like the bon bons or the spritz of my mother’s, but I know she’d have liked these, too. Who wouldn’t?

Molasses Crinkles (thick, chewy, with cracked tops)

3/4 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c molasses
2 1/4 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger

Mix. Shape into balls (size of walnuts) and dip tops in sugar. Bake 9 min’s at 375 degrees.

Chestertown Book Festival & KCPL Book Buttons

October 6, 2010

The Chestertown Book Festival (www.chestertownbookfestival.org) is this weekend, and we still have both rooms open! (Can’t hardly believe this…..but it’s true). The weather is supposed to be amazing, so it’s a prime weekend.

We had an idea, and this is a bit of background…..Our local library (Kent County Public Library) is in some financial trouble and needs help. They have begun a buy-a-button campaign for fundraising, and we figured we could jump onto the bandwagon and enlist some book-loving guests to participate!

Here’s the idea:

2 rooms / 2 nights = 1 KCPL Book Button

Simply Bed & Bread will donate $ 100 to buy a button with a full weekend’s worth of bookings!If you’re coming to the Book Festival — maybe to fit in the Friends of the Library Book Sale as well as the other weekend Book Festival events — then a stay here for you and a couple of friends would fit perfectly!

The library is around 2 corners from our front door and downtown is just a little further from that. The weather should be walker-friendly; the weekend will be book-friendly, so…..what are you waiting for??

“History On The Waterfront”–a free tour!

October 4, 2010

I’d been telling David, “I’ve GOT to stop by the Custom House one of these days to take that tour…..”

Walking past the Custom House this past weekend, and remembering my vow, I noticed the Open sign outside the building, and decided to go for it. I was hesitant, not knowing what to expect, and quickly and apologetically said, “I’m local and if it’s too busy now, I can come again.” But I was warmly greeted by a friendly, perky college student who dismissed my concerns as warmly and professionally as she had greeted me. She immediately took out the MP3 player that I would be using on the tour, and I immediately got nervous, knowing that I knew nothing on earth about MP3 players and couldn’t even have identified one if my life had depended on it. However, she expertly reassured me, explaining carefully the very simple instructions, instilling bold confidence into my novice non-know-how bones.

Ah, the beauty of technology! With the MP3 ear buds tucked into my ears, (again, with her help, since I was tentative about even that!) I was in my own little world, transported instantly back to the 1700’s…..
The tone quality was perfect; I could monitor the volume according to my exact needs, and the show was ON! I found myself dancing (just a little bit, really hardly discernible to the average onlooker, I’m certain), but since I’m a sucker for the harpsichord and dulcimer sound from that period, I really couldn’t help myself. It was fun, engaging, and so interesting that I was mesmerized.

I had missed the concert at The Prince that had featured Marlon Saunders, so I was delighted to hear his voice (along with others) capturing the simple poignancy of the heart and life of the slave, whose story was a part of this Waterfront History. Tapping my foot there on the sidewalk in front of the Washington College President’s house, I was again transported, empathetically engaged, and simultaneously grieving the message of this living history. As a native, I was mourning the untold truths of my own family’s role in this same south-of-the-Mason-Dixon-line story, and I had much to think about, as I relived the memories of my own heritage. (Thankfully, when re-dististricting occurred at the time of integration in Kent County — when I was a high school freshman at Chestertown High School — I was given the chance to begin to re-write that family history, wiping out some of the shame of the past.)

The tour took about 45 minutes, but if you only had 30 minutes, you could squeeze most of it in, especially if you didn’t pause the player as directed. Only people not used to a regular routine of walking would need the extra time.

Don’t miss this tiny chunk of Chestertown’s story! The brochures are available at the Visitor Center in town and you can catch the tour on the weekends.

Pumpkin Scones

October 3, 2010

Pumpkin Scones*

2 c flour
7 T sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
6 T cold butter
1/2 c canned pumpkin
3 T half-and-half
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheet.
Mix dry ingredients. Cut butter into flour mixture.
Mix together: pumpkin, half-and-half + egg. Fold into dry
ingredients. Form dough into a ball.
Roll dough out onto floured surface. Form a 1 inch rectangle
(about 9 x 3 inches). Cut into 3 equal portions. Cut those
3 slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough.
Place on baking sheet. Bake 14 – 16 min’s.

While still warm, brush with glaze: 1 c powdered sugar, 2 T milk.
When cool, drizzle with icing: Using left-over glaze, add another cup
of powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, ginger and cloves, and a tsp

* found on internet: “Starbucks Pumpkin Scones” from Food.com, 214051, by Rachel Snachel, 2/27/07.

Read the reviews; they’re awesome!

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Location, Location, Location.

You might notice the WAC Administration Building cupola out of the corner of your eye as you walk onto Simply Bed & Bread's brick path, since our house is just a stone's throw away from the college. Or it might be the ...
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