As many of you know, my mother passed away on Monday of this week. It was not unexpected, and yet, I find myself at a total loss, baffled by the finality of death. To prepare for Friday's services I've been going through boxes of old family photos. It's been bittersweet, both sad and comforting at the same time. I was struck by how many of the pictures involved food and family dinners. Even this ridiculous photo of me with my best college friend, Angela (she the beautiful one on the left, me the one on the right with the wild-eyed look of a potential serial killer) involved this silly cake, obtained at 50% off from the Target bakery when it had been abandoned by Irving and his family. Foodies even then, we'd spend weekends working on geology homework while tending to something delicious that was baking in the oven.
One of our favorite things to make, perhaps because it was such an easy recipe, was Patchwork Cookies. The recipe is old and faded, written in Angela's crooked hand, and splattered with years of ingredients, but it's the one I always use. It has such a fond history that to rewrite it would just seem wrong.
The versatility of this recipe comes in the decorating. Select colors and candy toppings appropriate for the nearest holiday or occasion.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9" x 13" baking pan with vegetable spray.
Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beat until well blended. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in flour, beating just to blend. Spread evenly over the bottom of the baking pan.
Bake for 18 to 22 minutes until golden. Remove from oven; quickly sprinkle chocolate chips over the bakes cookies. Bake an additional 2-3 minutes to melt. Remove immediately and spread the chocolate evenly over the top.
Mark off into squares. Top each with a variety of decorations, alternating to give the appearance of a patchwork quilt.
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