040 600x400 The Way the Cookie Crumbles

I am the oldest of three children, and when I turned 20, I was ceremoniously presented with a shortest sibling award, having my brother and sister pat my head Benny Hill style. I was not a grateful recipient by any means, coming up with every “small is better” cliché I could dig up from the vast quantity of trivia I had at hand.

My mother is getting older and I managed to knock her down on the size chart, feeling extremely guilty in the process. But my triumph will be short-lived as I might have only another year until I become officially the shortest member of the family. Again. Long gone are the days when I could squeeze my girls and rest my lips on top of their shampoo-smelling hair. It seems that they have grown in an instant from pudgy rolly-pollys to these tall, leggy creatures that almost look at me eye to eye.

NinaCam2015 600x452 The Way the Cookie Crumbles

College Kritter has outgrown me several years ago, and I had time to get accustomed to her being taller. Her attitude changed gradually as she became stronger and more eloquent. She still asks for advice and refers to me on certain issues, but I consider her an equal. What she lacks in experience, she makes up in energy and determination. She usually calls in the afternoons on her way home from classes or work, killing two flies at once, a born multi-tasker. Her world is still predominantly black and white, but with every conversation I see her growing more mature, embedding herself firmly into the outside world, thinking beyond the self-absorbed solipsism of teenagers, connecting with people and looking for a purpose.

The Beasties have each other. While we tried in vain to encourage Nina to spend more time in her room, we certainly do not have the same problem with Anya and Zoe. Close enough in age to be best friends one day, they still play together, usually dragging out every stuffed animal they have. I get exasperated at times and wish that all of the Barbies were gone, the ones still intact and the ones missing limbs and heads. But I like that they use the barrettes to tie around a teddy bear’s ears, and lipgloss to draw sparkly, fat lines on special cards for each other. They still talk about boys as “dumb, gross, stupid, and ignorant” and that suits me just fine.

They come out of the room reluctantly when we call them, to finish their homework, to set the table, and to put the dishes in the dishwasher. They emerge from their cave more willingly to watch Jeopardy! with us. They run out if we announce a game night, and they hustle to set the table with the board for Settlers of Catan or Scattergories.

But what gets them out the fastest is the smell of freshly baked bread or desserts travelling from the kitchen into their room. They put the dolls into their make-shift beds, and emerge blinking, curious and eager to find out what’s hiding in the oven. Their noses are getting more discernible, and they will detect the tropical hints of vanilla, or the refreshing notes of citrus.

A couple of days ago I made a big cookie for the French Fridays with Dorie group. It was very simple, very basic, using just four ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, and sel gris. When I first read recipes that asked for salt in desserts, I snubbed them, ignored the salt, and continued on my merry uppity way. But as I learned more about baking, I realized that old habits might need to be abandoned in pursuit of a finer taste, and I started adding a pinch of salt, closing my eyes, and expecting every time to be thoroughly disgusted by the results. But instead of throwing whole batches of chocolate chip cookies or brownies into the garbage disposal unit, I noticed that the chocolate in my desserts got somehow more distinct, its flavors singing in harmony once the salt was added.

I trusted Dorie Greenspan and threw a very heavy pinch of coarse salt into my cookie batter. I formed the dough into a disk and placed it in the fridge, where it rested for about two hours. While the oven was heating, I rolled the cookie batter into a rectangle, brushed it with an egg yolk wash, and made a criss-cross pattern on the surface using the back of a fork.

The Beasties came home from school and entered the house running, drawn in by the smell of the big, buttery cookie baking in the oven. They suffered while they changed their clothes, washed their hands, and finished their homework. In the meantime the cookie cooled off, and I managed to take it out for a photo shoot. I poured a couple of glasses of milk, put broken pieces of the cookie on plates and served my girls a snack they had been ogling since the early afternoon.

My girls are gourmands in the making. They tasted the salt in the cookie, without knowing what they were tasting. They described the taste as snappy, fresh, and zippy. Throughout the day the rectangle kept on changing shape as more and more pieces were broken off. Husband had to be restrained after the Beasties went to bed. He wrapped a couple of weirdly shaped chunks of the cookie for the girls’ lunch the next day, showing a remarkably high dose of self-control.

My family was left sadly missing the cookie. Another one is in the making, for I cannot stand the pathetic looks the Beasties send my way. Husband tries the same trick, but for him it does not work. Sorry, you have to be lanky, sinewy, and skinny to illicit a serious sign of compassion from me. And he is not.

The recipe for Salted Butter Break-Ups is in Dorie’s book . I cherish this book. So far, none of the recipes have disappointed, and many have stretched my culinary horizons. Besides, it is a beautiful book. Get the book and make the cookie.

010 600x400 The Way the Cookie Crumbles

33 Responses to “The Way the Cookie Crumbles”

  1. Kathy says:

    First I have to say, your daughters are gorgeous! Enjoyed your post..I became the shortest in my family when my kids were in their teens. Your cookie looks fantastic!

  2. Tia says:

    great job! I’m still playing FFWD catchup, so I made the cheese bread this week. I love the deep browning = flavor!
    Tia recently posted..FFWD- Savory Cheese and Chive BreadMy ComLuv Profile

  3. Cher says:

    Ah, the lurkers… I know them well. Never around to do the chores. Always there to eat the food! Love the pictures of the kids. It is funny that you call them Beasies – that was the nickname my brother (older than me by 13 years) gave me when I was two and it stuck until I had my first kid…
    Thanks for sharing!
    Cher recently posted..C is for Cookie Salted Butter Break-UpsMy ComLuv Profile

  4. Your daughters are wonderful! I can’t wait until my nieces are old enough to help with the recipe “sampling”! Your cookie looks very tasty looking!
    yummychunklet recently posted..ffwD- Salted Butter Break-upsMy ComLuv Profile

  5. Adriana says:

    My cookie rectangle was never much of a rectangle to begin with. Yours looks great! It is good to break out of the comfort zone every so often. I marvel at each story from your girls. You have a lovely, lovely family! I am a middle kid out of three, and also smack in the middle in the height department.

  6. You do have a gift with words, and appreciate the chance to get to know you from this post! I was like you, a while back, with salt. Never used on it food for seasoning and omitted it from most recipes, never having a clue. We’ve come a long way!
    Denise@There’s a Newf in My Soup! recently posted..French Fridays with Dorie- Salted Butter Break-Ups- or Broyé de PoitouMy ComLuv Profile

  7. Krissyk says:

    Your girls are beautiful! You must be a very proud mom, and they are lucky to have you with all your abilities and talents. Beautiful post and your giant cookie looks great. I love those browned edges.

  8. says:

    They’re gorgeous! (The kids and the cookie.)
    Serene recently posted..Pantry Cooking Month- Kimchi soupMy ComLuv Profile

  9. K says:

    How lovely! So happy that your whole family got to enjoy this. (and that salty desserts are growing on you:))
    K recently posted..Salted Butter BreakupsMy ComLuv Profile

  10. Ur daughters are gorgeous as well as cute!
    Super cute!
    ha ha , we totally loveddd the cookie too.

  11. Candy says:

    Beautiful girls and beautiful post! Cookie looks great too!
    Candy recently posted..FFWD – Salted Butter Break-UpsMy ComLuv Profile

  12. A lovely post as usual Lana! Love your girls and your stories! And I agree, I usesd to snub salt in sweets. Now I am all over it. And this cookie? To die. And to be made again. And again!
    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite recently posted..French Fridays with Dorie- Salted butter break-upsMy ComLuv Profile

  13. Betsy says:

    I was also the oldest of three (all girls) and have been the shortest in my family (by a good 6 inches) since I was in my teens. Gorgeous photos of your girls!
    Wasn’t this one good? I’m savoring the cookies, trying to make them last. There are so many new recipes to try, it’s hard to decide when to just go for a repeat!
    Betsy recently posted..French Fridays with Dorie- Salted Butter Break-UpsMy ComLuv Profile

  14. Anne-Marie says:

    Your Kritter and Beasties are beautiful! I loved your description of your husband. I, too, am cherishing Dorie’s Around My French Table. It’s made me more confident in the kitchen and I love learning new things. It has also kept me blogging and I’ve met new and interesting neighbors over the cyberspace fence. I always enjoy your posts. Blog on!

  15. Patty says:

    Hi Lana, Thanks for visiting me and leaving a nice comment. I enjoyed reading your post and checking out your site. The girls are sweet and I can imagine everyone digging into this amazing giant butter cookie. I broke mine up and gave most of it away but I think the flavor might have been better the next day;-)

  16. Sis. Boom. says:

    What beautiful girls! Clearly they deserve to have this cookie any time they wish!
    Sis. Boom. recently posted..My ComLuv Profile

  17. Elaine says:

    Your daughters are lovely, Lana. Your cookie turned out so pretty I can see why it disappeared so quickly. I hope your father was able to get a taste of the second batch. :)
    Elaine recently posted..French Friday with Dorie- Salted Butter Break-upsMy ComLuv Profile

  18. Chef Dennis says:

    what an incredible cookie and how could you not trust Dorie!
    it’s good to know you still have some power over your girls, Let’s hope it’s a lesson they learn, they may one day need it themselves!
    Chef Dennis recently posted..Its Guest Post Friday with Boulder LocavoreMy ComLuv Profile

  19. Tricia S. says:

    Lovely post, lovely sentiments shared (as usual :) and lovely daughters. So glad everyone had a wonderful experience. I know the call of the Dorie oven as well and enjoy the interest that it generates in my kitchen. Thanks for sharing.

  20. stephirey says:

    Great post. I love learning about your family. What nice remembrances you’re creating.

  21. Cakelaw says:

    Thanks for sharing the photos of your family – they are indeed beautiful. Your cookie turned out grand too – a perfect golden brown.
    Cakelaw recently posted..Rhubarb raspberry meringue tartMy ComLuv Profile

  22. I love your stories – they’re a pleasure to read. I’m a big fan of salty and sweet these days too. Glad to hear your family liked this cookie. It sounds like you’ll be making it a lot more. It’s good that this was such an easy recipe!

  23. Bunkycooks says:

    What a nice post. I am sure the cookie was delightful. Dorie’s book is very good and I agree, there have not been any disappointments so far.
    Bunkycooks recently posted..Roasted Carrots with Meyer Lemon Infused Olive Oil for Casual FridaysMy ComLuv Profile

  24. kitchenarian says:

    So glad your family enjoyed this recipe. We loved it in our house too!
    kitchenarian recently posted..Spring Break Challenge- Chocolate Chip Oreo CookiesMy ComLuv Profile

  25. Ryan says:

    I enjoyed your post about your beautiful daughters! Glad your family enjoyed these break-ups. We did as well. I feel the same about this cookbook. Every recipe has been a delight so far! That is a rare find!

  26. Unja says:

    So lovely to see your girls, Lana! And that cookie looks delicious. Keep hearing wonderful things about the cookbook – will have to check it out.

  27. Andrea says:

    Ja nemam niti brata niti sestre. Odrastajući nisam osjećala to kao nedostatak, budući da sam bila jako povezana sa susjedom koja je živjela vrata do mene i ona je bila moja zamjenska sestra :) . I danas smo jako povezane i sve dijelimo jedna sa drugom, ali jednostavno to nije isto.

    Cure su ti jednostavno prekrasne , divna ste familija. Iz tvojih postova se vidi vaša velika povezanost i ljubav..

    A kolačić mi se jaaaaaaaaaaaako sviđa. Bilježim ga za skoro isprobavanje
    Andrea recently posted..Ajme koliko nas je- RIŽOTO OD PJENUŠCA SA TARTUFIMAMy ComLuv Profile

  28. Your daughters are lovely!!! Having two teenage boys, I can definitely relate to “the Beasties”!!!
    I love Dorie’s cookbook as well and have had my eye on this cookie for a while – think I am just going to have to break down and make it!!!
    Ah salt… it definitely adds dimension to food and baked goods are flat without it!

  29. SMITH BITES says:

    lanky, sinewy and skinny, i am not and probably won’t be when i leave this earth so am not expecting you to take pity on me either. and while i am fantasizing about how delectable this cookie would be with some coffee, i’m not going to make it because i simply cannot be trusted to have it in the house . . . hence my lacking in the areas of lanky, sinewy and skinny . . .
    SMITH BITES recently posted..My ComLuv Profile

  30. That’s great that your girls loved this and were able to pick out the flavors!

  31. says:

    [...] (@bibberche) comes through again with this lovely piece about her daughters and a giant butter cookie on Bibberche. And while you’re there, don’t miss this wonderful story about her [...]

  32. Lana says:

    @Kathy, I guess you have me beat:) I don’t mind being the shortest, but would like to make the period in between last as long as it can:)

    @Tia, I am always playing catch-up with FFwD:) And the bread was worth waiting for.

    @Cher, I will always have the lurkers:) Nobody peeps when there are chores to be done, of course:) I wonder why you stopped being a Beastie once you had your first child?

    @Chunklet, your nieces are going to get there in no time, trust me. I want to slow the time down big time!

    @Adriana, it took a while to make a “rectangle” out of the dough:) In a way, you had the cushiest position ever, being in the middle.

    @Denise, thanks for stopping by! I love your blog – the photos are amazing. You are Bunky’s friend and my neighbor:) I am glad we have found each other.

    @Krissy, my girls are very different from each other and beautiful in various ways. One of these days they might realize that they had it good growing up:)

    @He, he, thanks, Serene:) I strive for perfection at anything:)

    @K, I am looking forward to making more “salty desserts”. They tend to grow on you:)

    @Mia, thanks:)

    @Candy, the cookie was pretty good looking an a rustic way:) My girls are prettier:)

    @Mardi, here is to baking with salt! I am glad you are feeling better. I missed you:)

    @Betsy, you and I can exchange some stories:) It just does not seem fair to be the oldest and the shortest!

    @Anne-Marie, your blog is one of my favorite finds of FFwD group:)

    @Patty, thanks:) I love exploring new blogs through FFwD. Next time I make this cookie, I’ll try to make it last until the next day to test your theory:)

    @Trevor, thanks! I won’t let them read your comment! They feel entitled enough:)

    @Elaine, my father was not here for the tasting, but my husband was, and he could not get enough. He had to be restrained!

    @Dennis, the lessons never stop! But one day I might relax, comfortable in the thought that I have managed to teach my girls something:)

    @Tricia, thanks for your nice words:) I am thankful to Dorie for challenging me to venture outside of my comfort zone:)

    @Steph, this is what my blog is about – to cement certain memories and give my girls a piece of my life.

    @Cakelaw, I thought that the cookie was burned in the beginning, but it was just perfect.

    @Jen, thanks! I am elated that so many people like my stories:)

    @Bunky, I’ll keep on cooking with Dorie. It’s fun and so far I have been pretty satisfied with her recipes.

    @Kitchenarian, I love your name!

    @Ryan, thanks for reading my story:) Here is to many more Dorie recipes and stories inspired by food!

    @Unja, thanks for stopping by my blog! I miss you!

    @Andrea, nemaš pojma koliko sam puta zaželela da sam jedinica:) Ali sad sam neizmerno srećna – moja sestra mi je najbolji prijatelj, iako živimo na dva kontinenta.

    @Nancy, I would not know what to do with boys! My brother has two boys and a girl, but they are in Serbia, so I have no experience being surrounded by boys:) Looking forward to talking to you more at Campblogaway:)

    @Debra, you made me laugh! My sister was always the one “lanky, sinewy and skinny”. I was never big, but the long legs were her gift:)

    @Monica, thanks for stopping by:)

    Lana recently posted..My ComLuv Profile

  33. sanya says:

    Your daughters are beautiful! I know exactly what you mean. Mine is 13 and as tall as me (172cm). You photos look great, reminded me how good it was!

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