I have a confession to make. I am one of those awful women who guards her recipes and no matter how much a friend might beg, I will not give it out. Ever. This is hard to admit and sad to say, but I just want to keep the glory for me, myself and I.
There is one exception, however, that I have decided to make. I don’t know if it’s old age (I just turned 64) or whether I have had some kind of spiritual awakening, but I am willing to share my very best recipe with everyone on December 5th. That is the day of the judging for the King Arthur Flour Heritage Recipe Cookie Baking Contest. I was chosen to be one of the 15 finalists (yay!) and I will be taking my cookies to the judges on that day.
Actually it’s my old friend, King Arthur who has inspired me to change my life. I feel I know the King because he and I have been together in the kitchen for so long. (Ever since I saw these words on the King Arthur flour bag- “100% Employee Owned.”) Yes, I’m a bit of a radical and I’m probably a Socialist or a Communist or at least a tree hugger, but I leap at any opportunity to divert my meager funds from the giant corporations to a good cause. So, when it comes to flour, I buy King Arthur.
When I saw in the paper that Old Deerfield was having it’s third Baking Competition, sponsored by King Arthur, I got that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from the word “baking.” (I think the way to save the world would be to put bakeries along every border and open them up to both sides. Who can fight when the smell of bread and cakes is in the air? Nobody.)
Something opened up inside me and I knew I was going to enter my most closely guarded secret recipe for “Candy Cane Cookies.” I quickly wrote my “story” to go along with my recipe. The recipe itself needed some work because it was still in the form of a sloppily written recipe card my mother had given me at least 40 years ago. So, I made the cookies, snapped a few pics and re-wrote the recipe.
Then, I began to wonder if I could post a blog article about it. I didn’t know if that would disqualify me, or, at the very least, be seen as pandering to the judges. You know- trying to use the power of the pen to get ahead of the competition.
I called King Arthur and spoke with a very nice young lady, Natasha Payton (Marketing Coordinator), who is one of the employee/owners of the company. She assured me that it would be alright to write whatever I wanted. (So, maybe the judges base their decision on actual taste and not on whether I write a fabulous blog article in which I say about how much I admire and respect them and how much I want to win their wonderful contest…) I was properly humbled and we ended up chatting a bit about her company.
It seems that most of King Arthur’s focus is on inspiring people to bake. They have a program called “Bake For Good” with an actual Bake Truck which travels from community to community. It is “fueled by” their belief that baking and doing good things go hand in hand. They’re actually reaching out to communities and teaching folks to bake together for a good cause.
They have another great program with the schools called Learn Bake Share where kids are taught to make bread. They make 2 loaves- one for themselves and one to donate to a local organization. So, they’re learning the art of making bread and the art of giving to others at the same time. How cool is that?
As a result of my conversation with Natasha, I realized how important it is to make something with your own hands and to share it with others. I imagined this:
King Arthur (225 years old) meets the Cheese Queen. Together, they realize that when folks make delicious things to eat from scratch, they just naturally give them to others. They conclude that if both kingdoms make it their mission to teach people that “Making From Scratch is For Giving,” the world will be a better place. They sign a decree and sit down to a wonderful meal of freshly baked bread with homemade cheese. And everyone lives happily ever after.
PS The judging for my contest is December 5th. That’s when I will unveil my recipe and story. Meanwhile, get ready to make the best cookies EVER!