I seldom struggle for words to say; I probably struggle more with being quiet. But today is different. I have the words but I know in the saying of them or even the thinking of them that the news I received Monday is still too raw and a flood of tears will start to wash down my face. Still, say them I must. My daughter has cancer. My baby daughter; my little girl. I don’t care if she is 29, she is MY baby and this news has sent me reeling like no other. Too young to even require a mammogram, she is the youngest breast cancer case ever seen by her primary physician; Dr. Fahey. Somehow I’m glad Dr. Fahey is still in the picture; she has been Lauren’s doctor since we moved to Denver 27 years ago and I take some comfort in that relationship but still; how could this be?
This blog took flight many years ago; I simply wanted a place to put my favorite recipes; an easy resource for myself, family and friends. Lauren was only 11 years old then and I’m sure my talk of Internet and websites was boring to both of my children but I’m hoping one day they will both appreciate how much of this body of work is a history that weaves throughout our family. Recipes that I made for them when they were little. Cakes I did for birthdays and special occasions; even cocktails we’ve shared. Though I have very occasionally taken the liberty of sharing a snippet of my life, I’ve never considered it my place to step up onto a soap box and wax poetic about events of the day, political, social or even personal. And I promise I won’t be making that an everyday occurrence now.
Things will change however, something of this magnitude can not be ignored or taken lightly and so today, I made these cookies for that little girl of mine. I will probably share some of the journey we are embarking on; and it is a we; she may have moments of unspeakable fear but she is not alone. We have had our moments, Lauren and I. While close throughout high school when most girls her age were going through a rebellious stage, Lauren delayed that stage and her fierce need for independence has seen her occasionally break ties with me and break my heart as well. But there are some truths that will never change. That book I read to Emily and Lauren as little girls titled ‘I Will Love You Forever’ was such a favorite and I don’t think I ever read that book without tears of recognition of that mother’s love. I told them then and I’m not ashamed to admit it today; I am that mother with the ladder under the window. I will love her forever, like her for always, as long as she’s living, my baby she’ll be.
I’ve been in conversation with folks from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America about doing a regular post with recipes they provide to me. I met a wonderful group of them last year during Denver’s annual Susan G. Komen race and I was even won over to kale with this recipe for pesto. At the time, the idea of putting some of their recipes on this site seemed a combination of goodwill gesture combined with great food that anyone would enjoy. Now it has an even greater purpose and that is you Lauren. I love that you are otherwise so healthy and strong and I know that is going to help you win this fight and I’m hoping that these recipes I share for you and with you make a difference even if in some small way. I applaud your independence but this is the truth; I plan to be there for you, with you, with or without that ladder. Pink is my new favorite color.
I can think of nothing I loved making more for my kids when they were little than homemade cookies. Even though Heath Bars have long been a favorite of mine, I know that this cookie is one Lauren would love too; as long as I made half without nuts of course! Rich with both granulated and brown sugars and chunks of Heath Bar and milk chocolate in every bite, they are the epitome of comfort food. Making these today was a salve for me, I escaped to those days long ago when the house was filled with kids and homework and the noise of a family. I made these today for my little girl. I love you Lauren and I will forever.
Browned Butter Heath Bar Cookies with Toasted Pecans
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, browned
- ¾ cup white granulated sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cups Heath Bits with Milk Chocolate
- ½ cup chopped pecans toasted and cooled
To Make Brown Butter:
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; stirring constantly. Watch carefully; the butter will foam and the solids under the foam will start to brown after 6-8 minutes,
- Remove from heat immediately when the butter begins to turn brown.
- Pour the butter into a shallow dish and chill until it becomes solid; about one half hour.
To Make the Cookies:
- Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
- In a separate bowl combine the Heath Bar pieces and the toasted pecans; set aside.
- Beat together the butter and both sugars; add vanilla and beat to combine.
- Beat in eggs one at a time.
- Add the flour mixture, a third at a time and beat until combined.
- Add the Heath Bar mixture and continue beating until combined with the dough.
- Chill cookie dough for at least 30 minutes (I actually form all of the cookies at this stage, refrigerating half for baking and freezing half for baking later).
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Form cookies into balls approximately 1 inch in diameter and put approximately a dozen cookies on each sheet; spaced 3 inches apart.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until just starting to brown.
- Remove from oven; let sit for a minute or two before transferring cookies to a wire cooling rack.