To all the single ladies (and anyone else who loves cookies)

Jun. 25, 2013 @ 01:35 PM

Ladies, have I got a guy for you.  It’s our family friend and my sensei of culinary arts, Chef Chrissie.
He’s been Petey’s best friend for almost 50 years.  As for myself, I’ve known him for 40 years, and been friends with him for 25.
He’s smart, funny and kind (we get along great now, but as my best friend’s teenaged brother, not so much; that’s why it took a bit for our friendship to develop).  He’s got a really good personality, and he cleans up pretty well. 
The Kid adores him.  Although their frequent phone calls are peppered with creative insults and disparaging nicknames, he is an excellent ersatz big brother, and generous professional mentor.  Every educational and career decision made by our child has been discussed at length with old “Monkey Butt;” he’s the guy that recommended NECI. 
But the biggest swoon factor Chrissie possesses is that he’s a wizard in the kitchen, and cherishes feeding people.
He makes a creamy lobster bisque topped with butter-poached claws that would make you weep.  His guacamole will have you in a corner, with it and some chips, growling like a rabid coyote if anyone ventures too closely.  You would sell your own grandmother for a single forkful of his duck confit.
Imagine an evening with him, dining upon his handmade ambrosia.  But the crowning touch, the element that elevates dinner from delicious to sheer bliss, is his special date-night dessert.
With the recipe from his mother Mama Cat, Chrissie makes these amazing gourmet sugar cookies.
They aren’t fancy looking and artfully decorated.  But they are the kind of confection you might imagine would be sold in a chic French patisserie on the left bank.  They’re the type of cookie for which even culinarily jaded Parisians would actually wait in line.
A few months back, I wrote about my brother’s orange dreamsicle birthday cake.  The glaze for it is actually the frosting for these miraculous treats.  I’ve also cooked the frosting a bit longer and poured it into tiny cupcake papers that, when it sets, is a scrumptious vanilla fudge (my dad can’t get enough of it).
A while back, I asked Mama Cat once again for clearance to print one of her recipes.  She was very sweet (or maybe tired of my pestering) and gave me permission to all her recipes in perpetuity.
So here is one of the best cookies I’ve ever eaten (second only to my mom’s Christmas cookies {12/12/2012}), and the cherry on the top of any date:

Mama Cat’s Perpetually Awesome Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt


Sift together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Set aside. Cream butter until it’s light and fluffy. Beat in egg, then powdered sugar. When it’s all incorporated, slowly blend in dry ingredients just until it’s fully mixed. Do not overwork it. Split into two discs, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out very thinly (no more than 1/8 inch). It can get sticky, so keep dough cool for easier working.  Cut with cookie cutter. 
Bake on parchment-lined cookie sheets until just golden, approximately 6 minutes.  Remove to cooling rack, and let cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Fudge Icing
1/2 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 -2 cups sifted powdered sugar

In a saucepan, cook butter, granulated sugar, and milk until it comes to a boil.  Take off heat, and let cool for about 5 minutes.  Whisk in enough powdered sugar to make a thick glaze, or very thin frosting.
Working quickly before the glaze hardens, spread onto cooled cookies and let set before serving.
Makes 3-4 dozen depending on cookie size and shape.
In August, Petey and I will be married 30 years (I married straight out of kindergarten).  It’s been a pretty joyful ride, so I guess that’s why I’d like to see our Chef Chrissie settle down with somebody who will make him happy and take good care of him.
And that lucky woman will eat like a queen for the rest of her days.
So if you’re unattached and interested, send me a photo and list of qualifications.  I’ll screen them and send the top picks along to him.
Actually, I’m joking; I’m no matchmaker. But, if you do know a nice single lady…
Thanks for your time.

Debbie Matthews lives, writes and cooks in Durham. Her email address is momsequitor@gmail.com.