For Christmas at the in-law's house, MIL always goes waaay overboard. Which is fine. It's Christmas after all! One of the areas where she really splurges is the 5-foot buffet table that she dedicates entirely to sweets. Cookies, candies, fudge...it's all there. There truly isn't a square inch of space. A pack of ravenous teenage boys couldn't demolish that table in one day. There are always leftovers that she freezes and re-gifts, and re-gifts....until at least April.
One reason she has so many goodies is that she is a hairstylist. Many of her clients give her treats as thank-you gifts for the services she gives them. Some of her clients sell their goodies once a year, like the client who takes orders every Christmas from all the ladies in the shop for his famous peanut brittle.
This year she had a new treat. Of all the sweets out there, I am a cookie fiend. Chewy, crunchy, crispy, gooey: I've met very few cookies I didn't like!! On a snowman tray were these innocent-looking cookies:
Ooooooh! But when I tasted them!!! These were the lightest, crispiest cookies I have ever tasted. They almost disintegrated in my mouth when I took a bite! They tasted of butter, sugar, and something a little richer....what was it? Only after I swallowed did I realize there were a few tiny bits of coconut left in my mouth. I generally don't like coconut, but it was somehow perfect in this cookie.
I HAD to have the recipe. I was devastated when I asked my MIL and she informed me that some lady who comes into the shop sells them by the shoebox-full every Christmas. She didn't know what they were called either! The only information she could offer was that there was some weird ingredient in them that you could only buy at the drug store.
Ok, now I was curious. What would you put in a cookie that you would buy at a drugstore? Tums? Laxatives? Gas Drops? What?!? I searched and searched the internet for this cookie. I came up with NOTHING.
Despair. Standing between me and cookie bliss was my MIL. Hopeless.
The next week, we drove up to her place to show off the new Jeep and to get haircuts for Plato and JeepMan. Imagine my surprise and delight when she gave me a bag of these cookies and declared, "I found the recipe, I had it all along!"
She lugged out her giant book of recipes and flipped to the cookie section. There on a handwritten notecard was THE recipe. The secret ingredient? Ammonium Carbonate. The name of the cookie? "Princess Jim's Cookies." Weird, but who cares? I asked my MIL who Princess Jim was. She replied, "I don't know...that's just what they're called." Okay, whatever.
I went home elated! On the way, though, I started thinking....who WAS Princess Jim? Why were they his cookies? What was Ammonium Carbonate? I pictured a drag queen in a kitchen mixing up cookies and accidentally reaching for a bottle of some stomach remedy instead of the baking soda; whoops! But what lovely cookies!!
When I got home, I googled "Princess Jim's Cookies." Nothing. "Princess Cookies." Too much. "Princess Ammonium Carbonate Cookies." Bingo!
Then started laughing hysterically. Here it is:
1 Cup Shortening
1/2 Cup Butter
2 tsp. Ammonia Carbonate (Baker's Ammonia)
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
2 1/2 Cups Sifted Flour
1 Cup Shredded Coconut
Mix in order listed. Form into tiny balls about 3/4" in diameter. Place on cookie sheet 1" apart. Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 min. or until light brown. Dust with powdered sugar while warm.
Yep, that's right. Princess GEMS.
No Drag Queen. No Possessive. A bit boring really.
I don't care what they're called...they'll always be Princess Jim's Cookies to me! And it will always make me giggle.