Monday, October 6, 2014

Happy Birthday, James Whitcomb Riley…I Made You Some Cookies

I am finding more and more, I must be turning to baking as my relaxation therapy.

Not that I don’t love writing for all you lovely people…I do. Truly and truly I do.

But…since I have not been feeling creative as of late, I find that when I have spare time, I bake.

Now, I have always enjoyed baking. But the number of loaves of quick bread I have in my freezer is almost embarrassing.


But I did find some time to make some cookies this week-end as well.

Not even from a mix.

Shocked, right?

Especially since these are not even drop cookies…these are roll into balls and then roll in cinnamon-sugar cookies.


But tasty.

What cookie did I make? Why Snickerdoodles, of course!

Now, you are probably asking, “Now, why, on God’s green earth, would you choose to make Snickerdoodles?”

Well, for those of you who are astute, you may have noticed the title.

James Whitcomb Riley…The Hoosier Poet… is my all-time favorite poet.

Not that I have many…I do also like Silverstein and Poe (very different from one another as well as Riley…once again illustrating my randomness).

And tomorrow is Riley’s birthday. And Snickerdoodles are (ok, were) his favorite cookie so we shall eat it on his birthday to celebrate him.

And I am always looking for an excuse to make some cookies…sometimes even ones sans le chocolat.

I bet you don’t even know the favorite cookie of your favorite poet, do you? I’m not trying to shame you or anything, but I am a little embarrassed for you about that.

As an aside, he shares a birthday with my favorite (and only…just to be clear) mom. So here’s a birthday shout-out to my mom…for whom I did not make her favorite cookies, but I will gladly share the ones I made for my favorite poet.

I know I have mentioned him before, but just in case you are unfamiliar (or if your child has not yet reach fourth grade in the state of Indiana and has yet gotten to experience Indiana History); it was in my own Indiana History curriculum (just a couple years ago) that I heard about him for the first time.

And I

So just in case you
  1. do not live in Indiana
  2. you live in Indiana but moved here only after you or your kiddos were in fourth grade
  3. you or your kiddos haven’t gotten to fourth grade yet
  4. some other option applies which covers the options I have inadvertently neglected

I am providing you with a link to a pre-made unit on James Whitcomb Riley. I didn’t put it together or anything, but only because someone else already had.

Ok, that might not be true. But I WOULD have done it, just for my adoring fans.

And just in case you DO take the time to read this, you may notice that it does include the exact recipe I include below, because it is the very recipe handed out by the docents at the James Whitcomb Riley home, located in Lockerbie Square in downtown Indianapolis.

Which I have visited.

More than once.

I’m certain you are shocked.

Now (in the spirit of my smooth transitions), I have a fun fact about my love of him and his poetry…and I am certain I have told this previously but it totally bears repeating.

(You’ll get that pun in a minute. Trust me…it is funny.)

In my eighth grade English class, during our poetry unit, we had to select our favorite poem to memorize and to recite in front of the class.

Now this may come as a surprise to some of you, but the teacher said “favorite” poem.


Not just any ole’ poem.


Because I am a stickler for the rules, I chose my favorite; while most students in the class (I won’t say “all” b/c I know some of them well and they are rule-followers like yours truly) were choosing the shortest, 4-line rhyming couplets they could find, I chose a 140-some line poem (which was really more like prose b/c it didn’t have any rhyme, or meter, or anything to it…you know, all those things which might have given aide to the memory work).

It is called “The Bear Story” (see why “it bears repeating” is funny…don’t worry, I’ll wait while you laugh).

Here is a link to it, because I know for certain you will want to read it. Even if you’ve read it before, it’s worth a re-read.

Please just don’t ask me to recite it now, because though I know chunks, I can’t remember the whole thing.
I should work on that…in my spare time, of course.

Now, because I am running short on time, I shall no longer tarry.

  • 1 cup soft shortening or margarine
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3/4 cups sifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tarter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • Cream shortening or margarine, slowly add sugar, then eggs. Mix together dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Chill the dough. When ready to bake, shape into balls the size of small walnuts and roll in a mixture of 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
  • Bake at 400 degrees until lightly browned, but still soft (about 8-10 minutes). These cookies puff up at first, then flatten out with crinkled tops. Yields about 5 dozen 2-inch cookies.

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1 comment:

  1. It's always fun to say "snickerdoodle."
    I have a recipe for CHOCOLATE snickerdoodles.
    Does every state do their state history in 4th grade? In our district, the kids do a "wax museum" of different people born in Missouri.