9/21/08

Old Fashioned Cherry Cookies



You know how everything always tastes better when your Mother makes it? Same exact recipe, same ingredients, same method, but Mom's is still better somehow. Is it a mind over matter thing or does Mom just truly have that special touch? Rich's mother, a beautiful woman named Lois, has always had one up on me when it comes to her cookies. Rich has two favorites that she makes: Snickerdoodles and this current cherry cookie recipe. I have her recipes for these cookies, straight from her recipe files. She kindly handed them over with no thought in her head that I was stealing one of her specialities that her son adores her for! She had no clue that I planned on making those cookies just as good as her and stealing her son's heart through his stomach as she has!


Well, the last laugh is on her because no matter how I make them, for some reason they just are not EXACTLY like his mothers! They're delicious, but just not quite the same. Man, I won't lie, it IRKS ME! I want MINE to be better!!! I anxiously watch his face as he's taking the first bite of the snickerdoodle I just made, trying every trick in the book to get them just right, and every single time he says, "Very good". And I say, "Are they JUST like your Mom's?" and he says, with a quizzical look, "There's something just a little different, but they are really close!" AAAhhhh (insert a mean face here).


Still, my son is following in his father's footsteps. In his eyes, my baking is always the best and he says that all of the time. It delights me...Someday some poor girl is going to be in her kitchen trying to whip up my cookies, never getting it just right. But someday, when I'm old and gray and ready to retire my cookie-making days, I'll pull her aside and show her my "secrets". After all, I don't ever want Sam to miss out on Mom's cookies.

Lois' Cherry Cookies
1/2 c. real butter, soft
1 egg, beaten
2 t. vanilla extract
2 t. cherry juice
1 c. powdered sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. cream of tartar
1 t. baking soda
1 jar of maraschino cherries, drained (save juice)

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter for a minute until creamy and smooth. Add to that the beaten egg, cherry juice, and vanilla and beat well. Slowly add the powdered sugar until well incorporated:




In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, soda, and cream of tartar. Slowly add this to the butter mixture. You'll probably need to do some of it by hand because it will form a stiffer dough. With a small melon-ball scoop, form balls:




Lay the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet 2" apart. Flatten with a spoon or your hand:


Next, take the cherries and cut them in halves or quarters, depending on how big of a cherry you like on your cookie. Push a cherry piece into the center of each cookie:




Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are very lightly golden. Remove and cool on wire racks. They look so old-fashioned and pretty on a plate. They're just a simple cookie with a mild, pleasant flavor. Delicious!



Last night was my first night at the restaurant. Oh My. I haven't moved like that in a loooong time! We were so busy and there were so many things to remember. The menu, specials, drinks (I don't drink EVER and have no clue!), names, who had what, take away the dirty dishes, bring more water, menus, bills, tips, special requests, man oh man! On top of that, remember to smile and make polite conversation! Still, at the end of the night I felt...satisfaction. I had a pocket filled with cash and a really sore back. I need better shoes for this! I really do think I might be crazy..

This leads me to a question for you all: When you are dining out, what makes a waitress/server great? What things turn you off about their service?

29 comments:

tami said...

I can't wait to try the cookies. I make a cherry bar recipe at Christmas. Love the cherries!

A good server...let's see...I like lots of water, I like an honest opinion if I ask which of the three entrees is better, I like eye contact.

I think it is great you're doing this, I am tired for you though. And you're right , you are going to need good shoes. When I was a waitress in college my shoes went fast, restuarant use a floor cleaner that eats up the shoes.

Allie said...

Those cookies look really easy and good. I'll have to try them this week and see if my husband shares your husband's taste! I agree about moms making the best too! Never fails!

In my opinion, good service at a restaurant is all about being friendly. If our server is smiling it makes all the difference as far as a tip!

Romi said...

Those cookies look delicious. I'll have to make them this week. I have a couple recipes like that too where I got them from relatives and they just don't taste the same. It's a mystery.

My son is a server, that's what they call them in our neck of the woods...it's a generic term for waiter/waitress. According to him a great server is someone who keeps the drinks at the table full, brings plenty of ranch dressing to the table, and makes pleasant conversation but isn't phony. He is currently the captain at a fine dining restaurant which doesn't serve ranch dressing and he says he couldn't be happier. For some reason ranch is popular around here. He also says he is honest about the food. If something is good he recommends it and if something isn't he steers them towards a better choice without offending the cooks. He also says you need to be nice to the rest of the staff and tip them out well so you get good table service from the bus staff and hosts who seat guests.

It sounds like you are going to love it. As for shoes...my son recommends Walmart. They sell chef shoes etc., and he recommends the slip on kind because you can wipe the shoe off and don't have to deal with the stuff that might get stuck in shoelaces. He also says to buy some padded insoles to add for comfort.

alice said...

Another recipe that I am putting on my list to try. I don't know what Lois could be doing that makes hers just a little better. Do you think her's are better? Maybe for Rich it's just knowing his mom made them...Cookies are my thing, and this would drive me crazy :) Next time Lois makes the cookies I would also make them and see if he can tell the difference. Don't tell him which ones are which.

For me a good waitress is pleasant, doesn't neglect me, but not overly attentive, and doesn't make me wait too long for the check.

yeahexceptfornot said...

wow! These looking absolutely delicious! I also can't wait to try your garlic bread!

I'd say if a server is too involved it bugs me. I don't like being asked 10 times in 30 minutes if we are doing ok. I also like it when they're friendly. Oh yeah, and making us wait for the check is definitely frustrating.

Sonya said...

The cookies look wonderful and I can just imagine how good they smell too.
Since I moved to the netherlands I cant tell you how much I appreciate the waiters and waitresses from back home. We have to pay for our water here and NOTHING comes with ice cubes and there is no such thing as a free refill. Also they dont have to be nice because their pay isnt based on tips so whenever they feel like checking on you is when you get served. I was a waitress along time ago and I always treated them how I would want it. I made sure they had drinks,I smiled and made conversation, asked if the food was ok and didnt hover over them alot. So thats what I would like. I also know how hard the job can be,both on your feet and on your feelings if you get not so nice customers so don't take everything to heart when that happens..we all have bad days.

Debbie said...

That's so funny about those cookies. My hubby still likes my mom's pot roast better than mine.

So glad you had a satisfied feeling at the end of the night, I was thinking about you.

To answer your question –

When hubby and I go out to dinner the first thing we pay attention to is the volume of music. We have been known to leave a restaurant if we could not carry on a nice conversation without having to raise our voices to hear one another. We do always politely ask the hostess/waitress first though and the times we were told that the volume could not be adjusted, we left immediately. And these are not places like “Hard Rock Café” or places with bars where music is the “thing”. P.S. We love Hard Rock Café and places like that but not the kind of place where we want a nice quiet dinner. That’s my point here – a nice quiet dinner.

Then the next thing is keeping our drinks full. Hubby tips "REALLY" good when we don't have to wait to have our empty glasses filled.

We do like someone that's nice and friendly but to keep it at that. Nothing annoys my honey more than when a manager comes around to our table when we're trying to have dinner and engaging in our own little private conversation. And when the manager butts in trying to drum up conversation with us it totally frustrates us. Like hubby says (to me), we're here to have our own little time together not here to visit with the manager. Of course hubby would never say anything but it is very irksome...

I think those are the top three things I can think of at the moment.

whats4supper said...

Tanya, glad that your first night went well. I found shoes from Payless that are awesome. They are "work wear" shoes. Not very pretty (they look and feel like slippers) but very comfortable. They are specifically designed for restaurant wear and don't slip in grease or water. They are also very reasonable in price and cost less than $30. Every time we go back to Minocqua to visit family, I love to go out to eat at supper clubs up in the northwoods. There is such an "up north" feel to them that we enjoy.

Maria said...

Your cookies look delicious!

For me a good waitress is someone who is attentive but not in your face all night!

Maria
x

kingsqueen said...

I waited tables once upon a time. When I go to a restaurant now, I there are a few musts for me. The rest I let go.
1. Keep the drinks filled. Don't make them wait. That's the biggest thing.
2. Check back after 2 bites (that's what we were told to do). And I hate it when I'm asked how things are before I've even tried the food. How do I know yet?
3. Be attentive, but don't hover. And be friendly, but not "fake" friendly.
4. Know what the specials are and have at least 2 or 3 things you can recommend from the menu that you've actually tried.
5. Don't make them hunt you down for a check.
AND
6. This may just be me, but when a couple is in, don't ignore the woman and focus on the man. That has happened so many times to me and my dh. They will even refill his drink and ignore mine.

I think you'll be fine once you get the hang of the pace. And it can be fun, and you meet so many people. Good luck with the new job!
(And I agree about the slip on/non-skid shoes.)

Sarah said...

Those cookies look awesome...I will have to try them! I like it when servers smile, genuinely. I also like it when they are kind to my kiddos and don't treat them like an inconvenience. I also like it when they promptly bring the bill so I am not waiting for it with 2 restless kids. It is also nice when they see if you want a drink refill before you have to ask. Good luck!

Millie said...

How great is Lois sharing her recipes so generously - now that's love for you!

So glad all went well for you on your first night in the restaurant. I love a waiter who anticipates my needs in a quiet & unassuming way before I have to ask. I hate a waiter who is over familiar & friendly.
Millie ^_^
P.S. Make sure you get yourself some comfortable (but still stylish) shoes girl!

Katrina said...

Yum, simple, sweet cookies with a great story!
As for waiting tables, be pleasant, know what you're talking about, smile, joke a little in an appropriate way, watch the drinks and refill if getting low, but only come back to the table once or twice. I get annoyed when the wait person comes back TOO often.
I don't even really know you, but have a feeling you're great!

yeahexceptfornot said...

I gave you an award!

linda said...

Those cookies look really really good.. When I go out to eat, I want a server that is friendly, does not give us attitude when we ask simple questions.. I also want a server that will give us our refills without having to ask for them..

Carol said...

This is a precious post, and I can't wait to try the cookies!

Sharon~heartsongs said...

I was wondering how the new job went. Good luck with it.
For me, a good waitress/waiter is friendly and checks back to see if you need anything. I don't like haven't to look for them because they haven't been around for awhile.

Suzanne said...

Oh so sinfully rich and caloric but a must try:-)

Lo said...

wow seems like all the suggestions are the same! :) it's funny, but for some reason, no matter HOW many times i try to make chicken noodle soup... always from scratch... in my husbands eyes, his mother's will always be better! i do that same thing- i hover, i ask what's different, what he wants more/less of... and still.. never good enough :( even tho he says it's 'very good' lol!! he does love my cooking tho so at least i'm glad about that!!

i was a server for a while, and the best advice i can give is KNOW THE MENU. seriously. remember what you can substitute for what, what items are spicy/garlicy/low fat/etc. a lot of people will ask your advice and a lot of times you won't know bc you haven't tasted the entire menu- so i usually just figured out which was which. i'd have a staple- one seafood dish, chicken, beef, appetizer, etc, that i knew i could recommend and never fail, it would be good.

also a trick- know at least one drink in each category. like.. know two cosmo's, know one low-cost beer and one high-cost beer in each catergory (lager, pilsner, etc) and you can't go wrong. a lot of times people know less than you will!!

and keep the glasses full. i say, two inches below the rim, refill. also the 'two bite' rule works great.

as for shoes go for non slip. i used to wear a pair of puma sneakers that were black satin (they were SO cute) but after about two months of doing a sliding routine through the kitchen, i upgraded to good ol' payless. :)

good luck! it sounds like you did terrific for your first night!

Maria said...

Great looking cookies. Glad you survived your first night. I am sure you are doing a wonderful job!

I like a server who pays attention to water, gives good recommendations, is friendly, keeps checking in, will not get annoyed when I ask for things on the side, substitutions, etc. Sorry I am a picky one!! Just have fun. I am sure you will not have any troubles. Everyone will love you!

My home - My life said...

My grandma makes something similar to this and we just love them. She makes them every year when we are at the beach and they are gobe before she has a chance to take them off the baking tray! MMM they are so good!

I am making your garlic bread tonight - can't wait!

Jenn said...

Attentiveness is a big one for me. Also a server who has a good attitude and is honest and forthright with an opinion will often be tipped better.

As for the cookies, I can't wait to try them. They look and sound so delicious and may end up at the Christmas parties this year.

As for mom's cooking always being better, you will always get that from men. It has to do more with the fact that it's mom that's making them rather than what you do to the recipe. Whit loves my cooking but there are just some things that he likes better when his mom makes them. I even have a recipe that I gave to his mom and Whit thinks it's better than when I make it. So really its all mental.

Jenn

Lisa said...

I am going to use these cookies as one of my holiday ones this year.

You are bringing back memories of my old waitressing days. I love when a waitress is friendly and checks to see if you need anything. I don't like it when I get a grumpy waitress.

TrulyBookworm said...

Just found your blog and had to answer your question! A good server never, never, NEVER addresses a couple as "you guys".

Tanya said...

Wow, everyone these tips have been SO so helpful. THANK YOU!

verla said...

I have been married 34 years and, according to my husband, still cannot fry bacon like his mother. Oh well. When we eat out and our wait person walks up and my husband or I asks "How are you tonight?", I know right away what kind of experience we are going to have. If they say "I'm good and you?" we are in for a pleasant evening. When they say "Terrible. I am so tired and we have been so busy. I just want to go home!" then I know that we are not going to be on their radar at all. I guess my answer is: a waiter/waitress that at least pretends that they enjoy waiting tables and are especially glad we came in tonight. Good luck on your job and definitely splurge on good shoes. I was a hostess at a restaurant for a short while and good shoes are a must!

Sophie said...

Hi :),

We would like to feature your cherry cookies on our blog and possibly our digital-recipe reader, too.

Please email sophiekiblogger@gmail.com if interested. Thanks :)

You can read more here:
http://blog.keyingredient.com/whats-stirring-up-on-the-back-burner/

Sophie

Anonymous said...

I made the cookies last night. They are delicious and I will add them to my holiday baking.

andrea in calif.

KraftyKerilou said...

These look just like something my Mom or Grandma would make!! I will have to inquire to see if they have. They look very familiar!! I always feel like nothing measures up to my Mom. Especially her dressing/stuffing on Thanksgiving.
I am glad that even though it was busy, you did well. Gotta love big tippers, right?
As for waitresses, I like one that is polite, keeps an eye on us without bugging us to death, but doesn't just bring us our food and never return. Nothing like needing a fork or straw and having to search someone up!!
Good luck!
keri