Monday, December 13, 2010

Cookies, Connections, Change (with Recipe)

Last week was pretty crazy. I started the week off chatting about school lunch reform with folks from the Brooklyn Food Coalition at their holiday party and ended it at the NYC Cookie Fest, swapping cookies with a warm and wonderful group of food bloggers. In between, I listened to academic presentations about the global obesity epidemic at the New York Academy of Sciences, had a phone conversation with the founder of Dinner Together, and met Laurie David, the author of The Family Dinner Cookbook, at her NYC book party. 

What is the connection here? I wanted to reach out to these diverse groups and talk about the importance of family dinner and how it might be connected to their work. Some of the professions of the people I talked with this week included:

Food Magazine Editor
Sociology Professor
Clinical Psychologist
Food Stylist
Emergency Room MD, interested in community health
Pastry Chef
Ivy League Academic
Community Activist
Cookbook Authors (many of these!)

So many different types of people, approaching food or family or health in very different ways, but each could appreciate the family dinner message.  I hope to change the way people think about family dinner from a "nostalgic, nice to have" kind of thing to an important personal and public health resource.

Especially around the holidays, we are thinking about family and traditions, but moreover, we are trying to make or deepen our connections. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and connect to so many interesting people this week and hope that these connections will help further the dialogue and support of family dinner.

I wish I had a simple recipe for change, but here's a good cookie recipe, nonetheless. I asked my good friend (a great YA author also known as a bake sale queen) for a no-fail recipe that wouldn't embarrass me in front of the food bloggers.* This recipe was it! Pretty easy and since three other people made them, an obvious favorite. I added my own twist with the bourbon glaze.

* Having not meet them yet, I didn't know how nice everyone would be! Thanks again to Chris & Karen (@thepeche), Gail (@onetoughcookie), Abby (@abbydodge) and Maggy (@threemanycooks) for organizing!

Pecan Buff Balls (with optional Bourbon glaze) 
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
Makes about 40 1.5 inch balls, double the recipe because they go fast!

Oven 300 degrees.

Beat until soft 1 stick unsalted butter.
Add and blend until creamy 2 Tablespoons sugar
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla
Measure, then grind 1 cup pecans
Sift then measure 1 cup. Cake flour

Stir pecans and flour into butter. Roll dough into small balls. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake about 30 min. Roll while hot in confectioner's sugar.

Put back in oven for a minute to glaze. Cool and serve.

Optional Bourbon Glaze: 
1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar
1-2 Tablespoons Bourbon
1-2 Tablespoons Hot Water (if needed)
Mix bourbon with sugar until mixture is a glaze consistency. Add a little water to thin, if needed. Drizzle glaze onto cooled cookies, re-roll in confectioner's sugar.

NYC CookieFest 2010 Links
New York Cookie Swap, 12.13.10, Maggy of Three Many Cooks
Cookies, Cookies, and More Cookies!, 12.12.10, The Adirondack Chick
{Sweet Treats} NYC CookieFest 12.13.10, High/Low, Food/Drink


  1. Lovely meeting you at the cookie swap! Your pecan puff balls were amazing and that bourbon glaze should never be optional! ;)

  2. It was great to meet you and your cookies were delish!!!


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