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Monday, December 5, 2011

SL Letter of the Day: It's Not Always Fucking & Sucking

Posted by on Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Hello, Dan!

I am in the middle of making your mother's cookies. However! You do not say enough about the pecans. Are they to be cut into wee bits? Larger sized? Whole? If you can answer as soon as possible, I will be very grateful. Thanks so much,

Ruth, Age 85!

My response after the jump...

·······················

Dear Ruth,

It's best to leave them in large chunks—halves and wholes. It will mean that forming the 1" balls is a little more difficult, but so worth it when you crunch into large, crunchy, toasted pecan halves.

Thank for the note, and for causing me to think of my mom this morning.

xxxooo

Dan

·······················

Muchas Gracias for your quick reply. I am now off and running! And I, too, am thinking of my Mom as I make her Buttermilk cookies.

Ruth

·······················

Remember: my mom's cookies are NOT good fresh out of the oven, or even warm. They need to cool completely; I won't even eat one the day same day I bake 'em. These cookies—like so many things—only get better with age.

Dan

······················

Ma Savage's Christmas Snowballs
1 1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa
2 c pecans
confectioners sugar

sift flour, salt, and cocoa together

cream butter & sugar until fluffy

add vanilla

gradually beat dry ingredients into butter & sugar

blend in pecans

form batter — which is thick — into a loaf, wrap in foil, put in fridge overnight.
cut loaf into inch-thick slices, cut slices into inch-square cubes, roll cubes into balls about 1 inch in diameter

bake on non-greased cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 350. transfer cookies to counter and allow to cool completely. put cookies in tub or tin, sift confectioners sugar over cookies, put lid on, turn tin or tub over a few times to coat cookies with confectioners sugar.

best with ice cold milk!

 

Comments (52) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
laterite 1
The only thing better than 85 year old ladies who bake cookies are 85 year old ladies who bake cookies and solicit advice from Dan Savage. Awesome!
Posted by laterite on December 5, 2011 at 3:38 PM · Report this
2
Dan Savage's advice column: as wholesome as home-baked cookies.
Posted by ankylosaur on December 5, 2011 at 3:43 PM · Report this
despicable me 3
It's Not Always Fucking & Sucking

Thanks for the cookie reminder, Dan. And Ruth.

(I really wish Ruth had asked you a sex question, too.)
Posted by despicable me on December 5, 2011 at 3:47 PM · Report this
4
Who's to say the cookies aren't for sex?
Posted by YoungBS on December 5, 2011 at 3:51 PM · Report this
Sweeney Agonistes 5
Thanks, Dan. I'm planning to make these for the family shindig on the 23rd. I made them last year and they were wonderful.
Posted by Sweeney Agonistes on December 5, 2011 at 3:52 PM · Report this
Vince 6
Yummy! I love Festivus cookies!
Posted by Vince on December 5, 2011 at 3:58 PM · Report this
wisepunk 7
COULD IT BE....DOCTOR RUTH????
Posted by wisepunk on December 5, 2011 at 4:01 PM · Report this
seandr 8
Don't forget to add the marijuana!
Posted by seandr on December 5, 2011 at 4:01 PM · Report this
David Thompson 9
Well, what does one do with the pecans?
Posted by David Thompson on December 5, 2011 at 4:03 PM · Report this
10
Ask her about the Buttermilk cookies; I want to know and she clearly was hinting for you to ask her...
Posted by cireb on December 5, 2011 at 4:16 PM · Report this
theseamster 11
#10: Agreed, more cookie recipes are always a good thing!
Posted by theseamster on December 5, 2011 at 4:22 PM · Report this
12
Remember gang-
they're supposed to look like turds if you did it right.
And the final test is to drop one in the crapper and see if it floats.
Posted by ....the Pecans make'um floaters! on December 5, 2011 at 4:23 PM · Report this
TheLando 13
I made these and took them to school last Christmas and they were a huge hit ... thanks for reminding me about them, maybe I'll repeat the shameless effort to obtain good will!
Posted by TheLando on December 5, 2011 at 4:24 PM · Report this
Camembert 14
Can any American please tell me how on earth you measure a cup of butter? I assume it isn't melted down and actually poured into a cup.
Posted by Camembert on December 5, 2011 at 4:28 PM · Report this
15
#1 for the win :-)
Posted by TechBear on December 5, 2011 at 4:31 PM · Report this
Zebes 16
@14

The sticks have pre-printed measurements on their papery wrappers, so you can just slice to fit.
Posted by Zebes http://www.badrap.org/rescue/index.html on December 5, 2011 at 4:36 PM · Report this
17
#14

No you don't melt it down, you could press it into a dry measuring cup, as you would lard. Inthe states, butter is usually packaged with the measurements marked on the paper it's wrapped in, so you can just cut it, paper and all.
Posted by East Coast Douglas on December 5, 2011 at 4:38 PM · Report this
18
@14 - most butter we buy at the supermarket has markings on the sticks. There are four sticks in a pound of butter, each one is (someone correct me if I'm wrong because I haven't baked in a while) 1/2 cup. So one cup of butter = 2 sticks.

If you are somewhere you measure by weight, it would be 8 ounces or...whatever the metric equivalent of that is (I could look it up, I know, but I'm feeling lazy and icky today).

Also, thanks for the recipe reminder Dan. I might make these, along with my mom's peanut butter blossoms for a pot luck I have in a couple of weeks.
Posted by Sheryl on December 5, 2011 at 4:40 PM · Report this
19
@14 a cup of butter is 8 ounces, or 1/2 pound. (A pint is a pound the world around. 2 cups in a pint. So a gallon weighs 8 ponds (unless it's imperial?)......GO METRIC!!!!

Peace.
Posted by Married in MA on December 5, 2011 at 4:40 PM · Report this
BrendanAdkins 20
@7 I wondered the same thing, but it turns out she's only 83. (Then again, Wikipedia has been known to lie about Dan's age, so...)
Posted by BrendanAdkins http://www.hourofknowledge.com/ on December 5, 2011 at 4:42 PM · Report this
21
@14, not only can any American tell you, apparently every American can tell you!

Guess you are set if you ever have to bake cookies in Kalamazoo.
Posted by Sheryl on December 5, 2011 at 4:42 PM · Report this
22
@ 14 Camembert
I'm Canadian, but I'll have a go...
Basically, there are two ways to measure butter that I know of.

Option 1 - Over here in NA, the butter packages is actually marked with lines at the 1/4, 1/2, and 1 cup marks. So you just cut. Or if it comes in sticks, each stick is 1/2 cup. But that probably doesn't help you. So on to option 2...

Option 2 - water displacement, think Archimedes. What you do is fill a liquid measuring cup with water to about the 1 cup mark. Then drop butter into the water until the water rises to the 2 cup mark. Drain the water and you have the right amount of butter. At least that's what my mum taught me.
Posted by historygirl on December 5, 2011 at 4:44 PM · Report this
23 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
kim in portland 24
@ 14,

I cook and bake by weight not volume, you'll need 227 g or 8 oz. I hope that helps.

These cookies are awesome. Our thirteen year old says you want a good amount of powder sugar on them.
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on December 5, 2011 at 5:20 PM · Report this
25
These are screaming to be made with 'special' butter.
Posted by GDS on December 5, 2011 at 5:28 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 26
Hah! I love that an 85 year old woman reads Savage Love. So awesome. Go Ruth!
Posted by Reverse Polarity on December 5, 2011 at 6:00 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 27
Dan: this post makes me miss my dad, who I lost in '92. No cookie recipe of his to share - I have his infamous cowboy chili recipe instead. Thanks for re-posting the recipe for your mom's cookies. I bake a lot, will definitely try to make 'em.

Ruth: if you read comments, pleeeease share the Buttermilk Cookie recipe. Many of us have holiday get-togethers upcoming & a new recipe is always appreciated.
Posted by Eva Hopkins http://www.lunamusestudios.com on December 5, 2011 at 6:49 PM · Report this
seatackled 28
I am really disappointed that Dan did not call a sexuality scholar or doctor for his or her expert opinion about what to do with the pecans.
Posted by seatackled on December 5, 2011 at 7:07 PM · Report this
29
Mr Despicable - The octogenarian women I know who would might read him would be far more likely to tell Mr Savage a thing or three than to have to ask him anything.
Posted by vennominon on December 5, 2011 at 7:08 PM · Report this
30
Where did my slash go? It must have been the thought of holiday cookies. December is never a good month for me.
Posted by vennominon on December 5, 2011 at 7:09 PM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 31
@23 - thank you.
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on December 5, 2011 at 7:34 PM · Report this
despicable me 32
vennominon, I'm a girl! LOL

And yes, what I meant but didn't say is that I wanted to hear her question OR comment. I hope Ruth shows up with that buttermilk cookie recipe and some advice for us younger 'genarians.
Posted by despicable me on December 5, 2011 at 8:00 PM · Report this
33
Yes please: Buttermilk Cookie Recipe!
Posted by Sarah in Olympia on December 5, 2011 at 8:15 PM · Report this
34
@7, I was extremely disappointed to look it up and learn just now that Dr. Westheimer is only 83 and thus, not this lady. Thought this was a little glimpse into the idle chatter of nationally renowned sexperts :C
Posted by lilechka on December 5, 2011 at 8:28 PM · Report this
35
@18...you are correct. Each standard (1/4 lb.) stick of American butter = 1/2 cup. So 2 sticks = 1 cup. It's typically right on the package, but it's a handy-dandy thing to know. Last time I was in the PNW, just this last summer, I ended up with a package of butter with 8 1/8 lb. sticks of butter in it, so if your odd west-coast ways dictate this (I actually found this relatively convenient because of the cooking I was doing), just remember that 1/2 lb. = 1 cup.
Posted by Ms. D on December 5, 2011 at 8:37 PM · Report this
36
Thank you for posting this recipe, Dan. I will make it part of my Christmas cookie bakefest. :-)
Posted by CA Mom on December 5, 2011 at 9:16 PM · Report this
37
For measuring butter - fill a measuring cup half full of water, then scoop the butter into the cup. The water level will rise as you put the butter in, and once you have enough, you can just pour out the water.
Posted by Dominique on December 5, 2011 at 9:18 PM · Report this
38
I made them last year for the holiday. They were great.
Posted by Soo on December 5, 2011 at 10:15 PM · Report this
39
@14 and 24 - right on. I was excited to read in the NYTs recently that there is a "scales for baking" trend in the US - to which I can only say - about fucking time.
Not only is it more practical, it's the only way to actually measure solid ingredients precisely. Butter isn't so bad, since Americans just pretend they're using cups and actually use weight. Flour, nuts, etc. are the real nightmare. (none of this is particularly relevant for cookies - 10-20% variation in the ratio of ingredients doesn't hurt your standard cookie - that's why Americans cookies have been great for a long time).
Posted by adam.smith on December 5, 2011 at 11:11 PM · Report this
BEG 40
I have run across people (in this country) who didn't know there were dry and liquid cups, that weren't interchangeable. We can't go metric fast enough, in my opinion. I have many reasons to wish I'd had a go at kicking Ronnie in the nuts, and that's on of 'em (yes, Reagan killed the switch to metric that Carter started...)

Anyway, THIS YEAR I will be making Ma Savage's cookies. YES!
Posted by BEG http://twitter.com/#!/browneyedgirl65 on December 6, 2011 at 12:07 AM · Report this
41
Ooh, I'm so glad to be reminded of these, I want to have a baking session next weekend and was searching for a new recipe or two!

Also, Savage, please write Ruth one more time and get her buttermilk cookie recipe for us :)
Posted by planned barrenhood on December 6, 2011 at 1:39 AM · Report this
42
40

ooooh yes, metric!
then we can be like the french and danes!
Posted by Ways Liberals Hate America #264 on December 6, 2011 at 2:22 AM · Report this
43
@14, and all those who answered #14's query, you've made me remember my own American experience by reminding me of one of those little differences between Europe and America -- like butter sticks with measurements in terms of cups in them.

Or bagels with the weirdest things embedded in them.

Or doors with knobs rather than handles.

Or Fahrhenheit degrees. (Oh, how I had to learn not to panick when told that someone's body temperature was "only 98!"...)

Or 'small portions' (e.g., fries) that would look like extra-large anywhere else (with the possible expection of Germany).

And free refills for drinks. Where else in the world do you have that?

Or cars without a clutch, with speed measured in 'miles per hour' (a fact in and of itself responsible for more than half of my speeding tickets).

Or toilets with waaaay too much water in them.

Ah, America. A distinct taste.
Posted by ankylosaur on December 6, 2011 at 4:40 AM · Report this
sissoucat 44
@43 In old French houses there are knobs instead of handles. Porcelain or brass ones. In very old outside doors, the knob is right in the middle of the door. Pretty hard to open with only one hand. Nowhere else in Europe ?
Posted by sissoucat on December 6, 2011 at 7:10 AM · Report this
45
44

ohhhh.
French knobs to lick!
be still, my heart...
Posted by Dam Savage on December 6, 2011 at 7:23 AM · Report this
46
Ms Despicable - I stand corrected. It hasn't occurred to me for a while, but some time back I was constantly getting you confused with someone else, but I can't pin down who it was.

If I sat down and counted, probably about 30% of the adult women I know tolerably well are over 80. A handful of them are only limited by reduced flexibility and an uninspiring pool of potential partners. They could certainly enlighten us all about what some of the armed forces really got up to during World War II - at least, what some of them can still remember.
Posted by vennominon on December 6, 2011 at 7:49 AM · Report this
carriemcc 47
I made those cookies last year and they were awesome. The recipe has been on the fridge since last year because I didn't want to lose the recipe.

Now I want a recipe for those buttermilk cookies too!
Posted by carriemcc on December 6, 2011 at 8:01 AM · Report this
Womyn2me 48
I really wish that I had a mother like Dan's. In many ways. I know she wasnt perfect, Dan, but you are able to miss her after her death and all I have is relief and sadness about the way she was in life.
Posted by Womyn2me http://http:\\www.shelleyandlaura.com on December 6, 2011 at 9:49 AM · Report this
49
I haven't seen that in the Netherlands, or in Germany, or in Belgium (though I did see a doorknob in a ch√Ęteau in the Belgian Luxembourg once), at least not in the houses and hotels were I stayed or lived. I remember seeing doorknobs in very old houses in Brazil (the door to my grandmother's room had a knob), but not in modern ones. In America, on the other hand, they're everywhere. In my wife's native country, Ukraine, I also didn't see any knobs in people's houses. I went to only one palace there -- the Livadia Palace (Ливадийский дворец), in Yalta, where Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin took that famous photo, sitting on a bench -- and here my memory fails me: I can't for the love of god remember whether the doors there had knobs, handles, or something else...
Posted by ankylosaur on December 6, 2011 at 11:16 AM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 50
Talk about a full-service column. Sex ... and cookies, too?

Now I've got an itch to ... er ... bake. Because pecans are simply scrumptious. Thanks for showing the exchange of responses and the special snowball recipe!
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on December 6, 2011 at 3:53 PM · Report this
51
@24: Thanks Kim, I'm going to write that on a note and put it in my 70s American Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, for when I get the urge to try another recipe from it. I still have to try the Buttered Rum Lamingtons you kindly posted the recipe for here -- maybe by Christmas... Greetings from an unseasonably chilly pre-Christmas Australia!
Posted by FeralTurnip on December 7, 2011 at 4:41 PM · Report this
52
Thinking of your mom too and grateful to her for raising you and Bill. Xo
Posted by Papayas on December 7, 2011 at 9:43 PM · Report this

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