The Story of the Stand Mixer: Changes in Time
I am very sentimental and preparing for this year’s Christmas cookie club particularly so. It’s been a year full of changes. My son moved to another state and I will spend this Christmas with him and his family in their new home. Last spring, my daughter married and requested the heirloom stand mixer. And an announcement is coming at our cookie party that changes our tradition. But first the stand mixer. Now, this ancient tool has a lot of history to it. As a child, my grandmother and I made the family favorite, Pecan Butter Balls, with it. Then it was my mother’s and together we baked scads of cookies, cakes galore, meringues, made mashed potatoes, and whipped cream. The mixer has a grinder attachment so we chopped chicken livers with it. Since they both died, each time I use it, I had the sense that my grandmother and mother were with me, cooking once again.
Now it was time to pass it on to my youngest child for her family. And time to buy a new one. I put off the purchase. When the cookie party was a month away and I needed a stand mixer to make the batter, a fortuitous sale came along and I bought a new mixer. Bright green! With blazing white flat beater and dough hook.
I like things coming full circle so I decided to make the Pecan Butter Balls for this year’s cookie party. It’s also the first cookie in my novel, The Christmas Cookie Club. Here’s the recipe:
Pecan Butter Balls
2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups flour `
1 cup melted butter
½ cup sugar
2 t. vanilla
¼ t. salt
Chop pecans in blender or food processor. Combine all except confectioner’s sugar. Gather into a ball. With floured hands, shape in one inch balls and bake on ungreased cookie sheet. I line my cookie sheets with wax paper or parchment paper and spray them with Pam. Bake in 325 degree oven for 20 minutes. Pull off the papers and let cookies cool, but make sure they’re still warm and gently shake them in bag with confectioners. Place them back on the paper and add more confectioners while they cool. Makes five dozen.
I snapped in my new flat beater thinking, This will test it as I tripled the recipe to make 15 dozen. It did a terrific job mixing all the ingredients in spite of the fact batter filled the bowl to its brim. I spent the afternoon rolling balls, baking, and dusting them with confectioner’s sugar. Confectioner’s dusted Cookies on parchment paper covered my dinning room table.
The cookie club is traditionally held at my dear friend and co-author Marybeth Bayer’s house. Snow decorated the trees and readied them for the Holiday. We were all of great cheer, the table laden with wonderful appetizers. We sang carols, and we’re getting passably good as we stood up to sing our parts in the 12 days of Christmas and imitated (poorly) the Drifters’ I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas. We danced. And, of course, we each told stories of our cookie emblematic of our year before passing out our wrapped cookies.
Then came the announcement that was part of my increased sentimentality. Marybeth is moving to be closer to her son, a new granddaughter, her sisters, and brother. This was the last cookie club for which she’ll be the hostess. MB started the party and gathered the wonderful cookie bitches for over 20 years.Next year we will have a different hostess. Next year, we will gather together with our beautiful wrapped cookies, a donation to the hospice, our stories, our crazy singing, and our love for each other. We will miss Marybeth. Some years she may join us. And we have room for a new cookie virgin.